National and regional story (Norway) - What are the state and impacts?
Transboundary pollution by hazardous substances affects all of Norway, and is seen even in such remote areas as the Arctic. 80 per cent of the nitrate that is released to the Skagerrak coast comes with ocean currents from the continent. National inputs of nutrients to the Skagerrak coast have been substantially reduced the last 20 - 30 years. The government has also put heavy restrictions on establishing fish farms in this region, but the total discharges from aquaculture in Norway are increasing.
Norwegian fjords are often narrow with several sills along the ocean floor. This leads to reduced recipient capacity. Some places this is also the situation in the archipelagos. Therefore pollution is a challenge many places along the densely populated regions along the coast. Many coastal areas and fjords are contaminated by hazardous substances from previous industry and dumping.
Overfishing is becoming a problem, and biological pressures such as the introduction of new species may alter both species composition and the numbers of different species in coastal waters. Escaped farmed salmon for instance, represents a serious risk to wild salmon stocks.
The emissions of oil and hazardous substances from the oil and gas industry have been considerably reduced. However, the expansion of oil and gas extraction in the northern areas, and more extraction closer to the coast, increases the chance of acute pollution. Increased extreme weather due to climate change also increases the odds of accidents happening.
The Norwegian Water Management Regulations incorporate the EU Water Framework Directive into Norwegian law. The objective is to achieve good ecological and chemical status for all water bodies by 2021. The regulations apply to inland and coastal waters out to the baseline. Norway is also making managements plans for the Norwegian jurisdictional areas of the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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