4.5. Monitoring of marine waters

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4.5 Monitoring of marine waters

The countries in the EEA area have a long coastline. Bordering the Barents Sea to the north, the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea to the west and the Mediterranean to the south. In addition, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Denmark have coastlines bordering the Baltic Sea. Several semi-closed seas (eg. the Adriatic Sea, the Irish Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia) and numerous fjords, coastal and estuarine areas are located along the coast of the seventeen countries. Countries sharing marine areas usually establish some form of environmental cooperation, as is for example the case with the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the North East Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Generally, such cooperation has resulted in the establishment of a monitoring programme covering the specific waterbody. In the EEA area the Oslo and Paris Commissions (OSPARCOM) and North Sea Task Force are responsible for the overall coordination of monitoring in the north-east Atlantic and the North Sea, while the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) is in charge of the overall coordination of monitoring of the Baltic Sea, the monitoring of the Mediterranean being coordinated by the UNEP/MED POL programme (see also chapter 3).

The countries bordering these marine areas participate in the international monitoring programmes and the monitoring activities are incorporated into the national marine monitoring programmes. The national marine monitoring programmes are, however, generally more comprehensive including more sampling sites, especially in coastal areas, and measurement of more variables. The general purpose of national marine monitoring programmes is to assess the environmental state of the nationally important marine areas, and the national programmes are thus aimed at giving a nation-wide overview of marine environmental issues.

In this section the reported national marine monitoring programmes have been put together and a comparison of similarities and differences between the different monitoring activities has been made. In total information on approximately 38 national marine monitoring programmes from ten countries have been received (Table 4.5.1). No detailed information about marine monitoring programmes has been received from Belgium, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Austria and Luxembourg, of course, have no marine monitoring programmes.

The ten countries usually have one general marine monitoring programme or the general programme has been divided into sub-programmes as for example in Finland that has a coastal monitoring programme and a monitoring programme focused on open marine waters. In addition, there are some more specific monitoring programmes such as the bathing water monitoring programmes (GR-M3, UK-M5) or monitoring focused on specific biological organisms.

Table 4.5.1: National marine monitoring programmes in the EEA area

Code Name Variables
W: Water;
B: Biota;
S: Sediment
Start year and sampling frequency Geographical coverage
DK-M1 Nation-wide aquatic monitoring programme -
Monitoring of coastal and open marine waters
W: C&P; WQ variables
B: PHYTPL, ZOOPL, ZOOBEN, MAPHYT
S: metals, OMP
Since 1989
SF:
Water 8-52/yr
Plankton 8-52/yr
Zoobenthos 1/yr
Macrophytes &
sediment 1/5/yr
Nation-wide
200 coastal sampling sites and 80 offshore sampling sites.
FI-M1 Monitoring of Finnish coastal waters W: C&P; WQ variables
B: PHYTPL, ZOOBEN,
Since 1964
SF: 1-20/yr depending on the variable
Nation-wide - coastal waters
12 intensive sampling sites,
94 other sampling sites
FI-M2 Monitoring of the open sea W: C&P; WQ variables
B: PHYTPL, ZOOPL, ZOOBEN,
Since 1979
SF: daily to 4/yr depending on the variable
All main deep basins in the Gulf of Bothnia, Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Proper
FR-M1 National sea water quality monitoring network - RNO W: C&P; WQ variables
S: metals, OMP
SF: water; 2-12/yr
biomass; 4/yr
sediment; every 2-5 yr
French coastal waters (Atlantic & Mediterranean)
43 areas, each composed of several sampling sites
FR-M2 French seashore microbiological monitoring - REMI Microbiological indicators   314 sampling sites in 88 areas
FR-M3 French seashore phytoplankton monitoring - REPHY Phytoplankton SF: 2/month, alert monitoring on weekly basis 37 sampling sites;
alert programme 70-80 sites
DE-M1 Bund/Länder-Messprogramm für die Nordsee W: C&P; WQ variables
S: metals, OMP
Since 1980
SF: 1-4/yr
53 sampling sites in the North Sea
DE-M2 Bund/Länder-Messprogramm für die Nordsee W: C&P; WQ variables
B: PHYTPL, ZOOBEN, ZOOPL
According to HELCOM guidelines The Belt Sea and Baltic Proper
GR- M1 MED POL in the Aegean and Ionian Sea and the Saronic Gulf W: C&P; WQ variables
B: PHYTPL,
Since 1985
SF: seasonally
The Aegean and Ionian Sea and the Saronic Gulf
GR-M2 MED POL, Cretian marine waters W: C&P; WQ variables
S: metals, OMP
Since 1988
SF: seasonally
Cretian marine waters
GR-M3 Greek bathing waters microbiological indicators Since 1988

SF: 2/month (May-October)

Greek bathing areas
IE-M1 General Quality of Estuarine and Coastal Receiving Waters W: C&P; WQ variables Since 1992
SF: 1-?/yr
Significant estuarine and coastal areas
IE-M2 Toxic contaminant levels in the estuarine and coastal environment W: C&P; WQ variables
S: metals, OMP
B: metals, OMP
Since 1993
SF: 1/5-6 yr
Nation-wide. Significant estuarine and coastal areas
IE-M3 Radioactivity monitoring of the Irish marine environment Radioactivity in water, sediment and biota Since the early 1970s
SF: 2-4/yr
Nation-wide particularly areas affected by Sellafield
IE-M4 Bathing waters W: C&P; WQ variables and microbiological indicators Since 1979
SF: 1/1-2 week in summer
Nation-wide. 92 important marine bathing areas
IE-M5 Bacteriological quality of shellfish waters COLIFAEC in water and shellfish    
IE-M6 Monitoring of human food sources W: C&P; WQ variables
B: metals, OMP
Since 1992
SF: 1/yr
18 shellfish growing areas
Fish landings from 5 important fishing ports
NL-M1 National surface water monitoring programme
Monitoring of marine waters
W: C&P; WQ variables
B: PHYTPL, ZOOBEN,
MAPHYT
S:
Since 1972
SF: chemical & physical variables 1-13/yr, biological variables
1-18/yr
95 sites along the Dutch coast
NO-M1 Trend monitoring of the Norwegian coastal areas W: C&P; WQ variables
B: PHYTBEN, ZOOBEN
Since 1990
SF: 2/month
30 sampling sites along the southern Norwegian coast
NO-M2 Joint Monitoring Programme S: metals, OMP Since 1980
SF: 1/yr
115 sampling sites in Norwegian coastal waters
NO-M3 Arctic Monitoring and Assessment (AMAP)
the Barents Sea & northern fjords
S: metals, OMP Since 1991
SF: 1/yr
227 sampling sites in Barents Sea & northern Norwegian fjords
NO-M4 AMAP the west coast of Novaja Zemlya S: metals, OMP Since 1994
SF: 1/yr
30 sampling sites at the west coast and in the fjord of Novaja Zemlya
NO-M5/M8 Monitoring of seven specific Norwegian fjords W: C&P; WQ variables
B:
S: metals, OMP
Since 1970s
SF: variable
Grenlandsfjord, Ranfjorden, Sørfjord, Hardangerfjord, Hvaler and Singlefjord
SE-M1 Nation-wide pelagical high frequency monitoring W: C&P; WQ variables
B: PHYTPL, ZOOPL
Since 1976
SF: 8-25/yr
3 Swedish coastal and 5 offshore sampling sites
SE-M2 Nation-wide pelagical frequent monitoring W: C&P; WQ variables
B: PHYTPL, ZOOPL
Since 1992
SF: 6-12/yr
26 sampling sites
SE-M3 Nation-wide pelagical low frequency monitoring W: C&P; WQ variables
B: PHYTPL, ZOOPL
Since 1993
SF: 6-12/yr FS
1/yr LFS
25 sampling sites frequent sampling(FS), 68 sampling sites low frequent sampling (LFS)
SE-M4/M8 Monitoring of biota Zoobenthos, phytobenthos, fish Since 1980s
SF: 1/yr
Swedish marine waters
UK-M1 UK National Marine Monitoring Plan W: C&P; WQ variables
S: metals, OMP
Data from at least 1988
SF: water 1-4/yr
biota 1-2/yr
sediment 1/yr
Approx. 100 sites in the upper, middle and lower reaches of estuaries, inshore and offshore coastal sites around the UK
UK-M4 Marine Algae Monitoring Programme Marine algae Since 1991
Weekly from May to September
640 identified and non-identified bathing waters
UK-M5 Monitoring of Bathing Waters Bacteria and a few physical and organic pollution determinands. SF: 20 samples a year during the bathing season. 460 bathing waters in Scotland, N.Ireland and England+Wales.
UK-M6 Water Quality of Shellfish Waters Heavy metals, organic micropollutants. SF: 2-12/year depending on variable type. 29 shellfish waters.

Water (W): C&P; WQ: chemical and physical water quality variables;
Biota (B):PHYTPL: phytoplankton; ZOOPL: zooplankton, PHYTBEN: phytobenthos, ZOOBEN: zoobenthos; MAPHYT: macrophytes; OMP: organic micropollutants;
Sediment (S):OMP: organic micropollutants.

Most of the marine monitoring programmes include monitoring of chemical and physical variables in the water column, and several also include studies of the biota (phytoplankton, zooplankton, zoobenthos, etc.). The sampling networks generally consist of a number of intensive sampling sites, typically less than 20 sites, at which frequent sampling (> 12/yr) of the water column is made supplemented with an extensive sampling network including several sampling sites and low frequency sampling (1-4/yr) of the water column. Zoobenthos and sediment samples are generally taken at numerous sampling sites.


Variables measured on marine water samples

Around 100 different chemical and physical variables are measured on water samples in the various marine monitoring programmes, more than half of the variables being different organic micropollutants. Only 28 variables, except for organic micropollutants, are measured in more than two marine monitoring programmes (Table 4.5.2).

Table 4.5.2: Chemical and physical water quality variables measured in at least three marine monitoring programmes.

Basic variables Suspended matter
water temperature (TEMPW)
salinity (SAL)
dissolved oxygen (OX)
pH (PH)
suspended matter (SM)
Total Organic Carbon (TOC)
Turbidity (TURB)
Oxygen condition Eutrophication - nutrients
dissolved oxygen (OX)
hydrogen sulphide (H2S)
oxidized nitrogen (NO23N)
ammonium (NH4N)
total nitrogen (NTOT)
dissolved reactive phosphate (PO4P)
total phosphorus (PTOT)
silica (SIO2)
Secchi disc transparency (SDT)
chlorophyll a (CHLA)
primary production (BPP)
Metals Organic micropollutants
mercury (HG)
cadmium (CD)
copper (CU)
lead (PB)
zinc (ZN)
chromium (CR)
nickel (NI)
iron (FE)
cobolt (CO)
manganese (MN)
arsenic (AS)
See section 4.6

Basic variables

Most of the marine monitoring programmes include measurements of basic variables such as water temperature (TEMPW), salinity (SAL), dissolved oxygen (OX) and pH (PH). In many monitoring programmes basic variables are measured very frequently, typically bimonthly sampling is undertaken.

Table 4.5.3: Basic variables measured in the water column in national marine monitoring programmes.

Country Code TEMPW SAL OX PH TURB COND
Denmark DK-M1 12 12 12 12 . .
Finland FI-M1 20 20 20 20 20 20
  FI-M2 4 4 4 4 . .
France FR-M1 5 5 5 . . .
  FR-M3 24 24 . . 24 .
Germany DE-M1 4 4 4 4 . 4
Greece GR-M1 4 4 4 . . .
Ireland IE-M1 X X X . . .
  IE-M4 . . X X . .
  IE-M6 X X X X . .
The Netherlands NL-M1 12 12 12 12 12 .
Norway NO-M1 24 24 24 . . .
  NO-M5-8 X X X . X .
Sweden SE-M1 25 25 25 25 . .
  SE-M2 8 8 8 8 . .
  SE-M3 10 10 10 10 . .
United Kingdom UK-M1 1 1 1 . . .

X: unknown or varying sampling frequency

Suspended particulate matter

Three summary variables used as indicators for the concentration of suspended matter are measured in the marine monitoring programmes: suspended matter (SM) or total organic carbon (TOC) and turbidity (TURB).

Table 4.5.4: Suspended matter variables measured in the water column in national marine monitoring programmes.

Country Code TOC SM TURB
Denmark DK-M1 12 . .
Finland FI-M1 20 20 20
France FR-M3 . . 24
Germany DE-M1 . 4 .
Greece
Ireland IE-M1 . . .
  IE-M6 . X .
The Netherlands NL-M1 . 12 12
Norway NO-M1 . 24 .
  NO-M5-8 X X X
Sweden
United Kingdom UK-M1 . 1 .

X: unknown or varying sampling frequency

Eutrophication - nutrients

All the ten countries have at least one national marine monitoring programme with the purpose of assessing the concentration of nutrients in the water column. As a rule the monitoring programmes include measurement of nitrogen, ie. oxidized nitrogen (NO23N), ammonium (NH4N) and total nitrogen (NTOT); phosphorus, ie. dissolved reactive phosphorus (PO4P) and total phosphorus (PTOT); and silica (SIO2). Additionally, the impact of eutrophication is measured using general indicator variables such as Secchi disc transparency (SDT), chlorophyll a (CHLA) and primary production (BPP).

Table 4.5.5: Nutrients and other eutrophication variables measured in the water column in national marine monitoring programmes.

Country Code NO23N NH4N NTOT PO4P PTOT SIO2 SDT BPP CHLA
Denmark DK-M1 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12
Finland FI-M1 20 20 20 20 20 20 . 2 2
  FI-M2 4 4 4 4 4 4 . 4 4
France FR-M1 5 5 . 5 . 5 . . 5
  FR-M3 . . . . . . . . 24
Germany DE-M1 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 . .
Greece GR-M1 . . 4 . 4 . . . .
Ireland IE-M1 X X . X . X X . X
  IE-M4 X X X X . . X . X
The Netherlands NL-M1 12 12 . 12 12 12 . . .
Norway NO-M1 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 . .
  NO-M5/8 X X X X X X X . X
Sweden SE-M1 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25
  SE-M2 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
  SE-M3 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 1 1
United Kingdom UK-M1 1 1 . 1 . . 1 . 1

X: unknown or varying sampling frequency

Metals

Measurement of metals in the water column is also included in many of the national marine monitoring programmes. Denmark and Sweden, however, do not measure metals in the water column. Ireland measures heavy metals in a number of localised and occasional programmes. The heavy metals of mercury (HG), cadmium (CD), chromium (CR), copper (CU), lead (PB), zinc (ZN) and nickel (NI) are the most frequently included metals, while iron (FE), cobolt (CO), manganese (MN) and arsenic (AS) are only included in a few monitoring programmes. The sampling frequency varies from once every third year to 4-5 annual samples.

Table 4.5.6: Metals measured in the water column in national marine monitoring programmes.

Country code HG CD CU PB ZN CR NI FE CO MN AS
Finland FI-M1 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 . 20 0.33 0.33 .
France FR-M1 5 5 5 5 5 . . . . . .
Germany DE-M1 4 . 4 4 4 4 4 . . . 4
Greece GR-M2 3 3 . . . . . . . . .
The Netherlands NL-M1 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 . . . 4
Norway NO-M6 X X X X X X X X X X X
United Kingdom UK-M1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 . . . .

X: unknown or varying sampling frequency

Bottom sediment

Several of the marine monitoring programmes include measurement of metals associated with the bottom sediment. The most frequently measured metals are mercury (HG), cadmium (CD), copper (CU), lead (PB), nickel (NI), chromium (CR) and zinc (ZN).

Table 4.5.8: Metals measured on bottom sediments in national marine monitoring programmes.

Country Code CR CU HG NI PB ZN CD AL CO FE LI MN TI
Denmark . . . . . . . . . . . . .  
Finland . . . . . . . . . . . . .  
France FR-M1 . 0.3 0.30 . 0.3 0.3 0.3 . . . . . .
Germany DE-M1 4 4 4 4 4 4 . . . . . . .
Greece GR-M2 . . 3 . . . 3 . . . . . .
Ireland IE-M2 X X X . X X X X . . X . .
The Netherlands . . . . . . . . . . . . .  
Norway NO-M2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
  NO-M3 1 1 . 1 1 1 1 . . 1 . .  
  NO-M4 . 1 1 . 1 1 1 1 . . 1 . .
  NO-M5/8 X X X X X X X . . X . . X
Sweden . . . . . . . . . . . . .  
United Kingdom UK-M1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 . . . . .

X: unknown or varying sampling frequency


Measurement of metals in biota

Measurement of the concentration of metals in the tissue of various biological organisms is also included in some monitoring programmes.

Table 4.5.8: Metals measured on biota in national marine monitoring programmes.

Country Code AS CR CU HG NI PB ZN CD CO AL FE LI MN TI
Denmark   . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Finland FI-M2 . . . 4 . 4 . 4 . . . . . .
France FR-M1 . . 4 4 . 4 4 4 . . . . . .
Germany DE-M1 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 . . . . . . .
Greece GR-M1 . 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 . . . . .
Ireland IE-M2 . X X X . X X X . . . . . .
  IE-M6 . 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 . . . . . .
The Netherlands NL-M1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 . . . . . .
Norway NO-M2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
  NO-M3 . . 1 1 . 1 1 1 . 1 . 1 . .
  NO-M5/8 . X X X X X X X . . X . . X
Sweden   . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
United Kingdom UK-M1 1 . . 1 . 1 1 1 . . . . . .

X: unknown or varying sampling frequency

Biological assessment of the state of marine waters

Several of the marine monitoring programmes include studies of various biological organisms. Investigation of phytoplankton (PHYTPL) is the most frequent biological variable to be included. These phytoplankton investigations range from monitoring programmes focusing on toxic algae in relation to bathing or shellfish production to detailed investigations of the phytoplankton communities especially in relation to eutrophication problems. Detailed studies of phytoplankton generally also include studies of zooplankton (ZOOPL). In countries where the environmental state of marine waters has deteriorated due to frequent periods of oxygen deficit studies of the benthic invertebrate fauna (ZOOBEN) are included in the national marine monitoring programmes. In some monitoring programmes macrophytes (MAPHYT) and fish (FISH) are studied as well. In Ireland, phytoplankton and zoobenthos are monitored in a number of localised and occasional programmes.

Table 4.5.7: Biological organisms included in national marine monitoring programmes.

Country Code PHYTPL ZOOPL PHYTBEN ZOOBEN MAPHYT FISH BIRDS MAMMALS
Denmark DK-M1 12 12 . 2 2 . . .
Finland FI-M1 2 . . 2 . . . .
  FI-M2 4 4 . 4 . . . .
France FR-M3 24 . . . . . . .
Germany  
Greece GR-M1 4 . . . . . . .
The Netherlands NL-M1 18 . . 1 1 . 6 6
Norway NO-M1 . . 1 1 . . . .
  NO-M5/8 . . X X X X . .
Sweden SE-M1 25 25 . . . . . .
  SE-M2 8 . . . . . . .
  SE-M3 1 1 . . . . . .
  SE-M4 . . X X . X . .
United Kingdom UK-M2 20 . . . . . . .

X: unknown or varying sampling frequency

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