Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Grim Future For Europe's Seas Predicted

Date:
June 11, 2007
Source:
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Summary:
On the eve of World Oceans Day, a group of over 100 scientists from 15 countries has revealed new evidence for the declining state of Europe's 4 regional seas. New models predict dire consequences for the sea unless European countries take urgent action to prevent further damage from current and emerging patterns of development.

Europe and the Mediterranean Basin as seen in 1998 from the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) flown onboard ERS-2, the European Remote Sensing Satellite of ESA.
Credit: ESA ESRIN

On the eve of World Oceans Day, a group of over 100 scientists from 15 countries has revealed new evidence for the declining state of Europe's 4 regional seas.

Their models developed during a €2.5M EU funded research project have predicted dire consequences for the sea unless European countries take urgent action to prevent further damage from current and emerging patterns of development. The project coordinator, Professor Laurence Mee, Director of the Marine Institute at the University of Plymouth said "Europeans are just beginning to wake up to the fact that the area of their seas is bigger than the land and that it is already seriously degraded.

"In every sea, we found serious damage related to the accelerated pace of coastal development, the way we transport our goods and the way we produce our food on land as well as the sea. Without a concerted effort, to integrate protection of the sea into Europe's development plans, its biodiversity and resources will be lost."

The past two decades have witnessed unparalleled changes in the European political and economic landscape, particularly resulting from expansion of the European Union, decline of the centrally planned communist Bloc and pursuit of rapid economic growth. Despite numerous accounts of the declining state of the marine environment, few studies have attempted to link this situation with Europe's human lifestyles or to examine what the future may hold for the seas. The project, European Lifestyles and Marine Ecosystems was designed to explore this relationship.

28 institutions from 15 European countries participated in this work which focused on the four major European sea areas: Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and North-East Atlantic. It examined four cross-cutting environmental issues: habitat change, eutrophication (over-fertilisation of the sea), chemical pollution and fishing. For each issue and sea, models were devised linking economic and social drivers, environmental pressures and the state of the environment.

In a similar process to that used by climate change researchers, innovative models were employed to explore the consequences of a 'business-as-usual' scenario, along with four alternatives, for economic and social development in the coming two to three decades. The research confirmed the serious state of decline of Europe's regional seas, particularly when the complex web of interactions between different human pressures is taken into account. In each sea, components of the ecosystem were identified that are 'winners' or 'losers' as a result of human activity. This situation will severely compromise future options for economic use of the sea and for the conservation of its biodiversity.

The team explored the reason for these changes and the prognosis for the future. Eutrophication for example, continues to be a severe problem for the most enclosed seas (the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and the Adriatic within the Mediterranean Sea). It is partly maintained by a legacy of past phosphate and nitrogen loads (from agriculture and industrial/domestic effluent) that have accumulated in soils, aquifers and sediments and continue to leak into the sea. This may be further exacerbated by nutrient loads accompanying intensification of food production in Europe. This combination of pressures limits the scope for short-term remedial action and in the case of the Baltic Sea; short-term prospects for reducing eutrophication are particularly bleak.

The future condition of each sea is closely associated with the economic options that will be pursued in Europe, the transport of goods to and from other parts of the world and the European regulatory framework. Continued reduction of pollutants, such as chlorinated pesticides, is likely, but the authors are concerned about poorly monitored 'lifestyle' chemicals associated with household products. Changing economies and a more mobile labour force are likely to affect fisheries, though success or failure are currently clearly tied to the 'total allowable catch' set through the Common Fisheries Policy. The study illustrates how management of fisheries in isolation from the other environmental issues is unlikely to lead to overall sustainability.

The full results of the study are released on 8 June, examining the changing overall status of each regional sea, cross-cutting issues, emerging problems and the needs for future work. There are urgent challenges to be addressed if the draft EU Marine strategy directive and the Maritime policy Green paper are to be implemented. The 'business-as-usual' scenario suggests that failure to take additional action to support the comprehensive assessment and management of each regional sea will result in continued degradation and loss of opportunity.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. "Grim Future For Europe's Seas Predicted." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070607112854.htm>.
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. (2007, June 11). Grim Future For Europe's Seas Predicted. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070607112854.htm
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. "Grim Future For Europe's Seas Predicted." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070607112854.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) Federal researchers have released new images of the City of Chester, a steamship that sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888. Researchers recently found the shipwreck while mapping shipping routes. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 23, 2014) A group of space explorers say the chance of a city-obliterating asteroid striking Earth is higher than scientists previously believed. Deborah Gembara reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins