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You are here: Home / Environmental topics / Coasts and seas

Coasts and seas

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Human activities are causing unprecedented environmental changes for coastal and marine ecosystems. Pressures from fishing, pollution from land- and sea-based sources, urbanisation, loss and degradation of valuable habitat, and invasions of non-native species are growing worldwide. All these impacts are likely to be exacerbated by the changing climate. More

Key facts and messages
Observed global mean sea level rise has accelerated over the past 15 years. From 2002 to 2009 the contributions of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea level rise increased. In 2007 the IPCC projected a sea level rise of 0.18 to... more
Unsustainable fishing occurs in all European Seas and is threatening the viability of European fish stocks. 21 to 60% of the commercial fish stocks in the North-East Atlantic, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean are considered to be outside... more
Sea surface temperatures and sea level are rising and likely to rise further. The resulting shifts in the geographical and seasonal distribution of marine and coastal species will require adaptations in the management of fisheries and natural... more
Sustainable use of the seas and the conservation of marine ecosystems through an ecosystem-based approach are being pursued through the Integrated Maritime Policy and its environmental pillar, the 2008 Marine Strategy Framework Directive, under... more
Nutrient enrichment is a major problem in the coastal and marine environment, where it accelerates the growth of phytoplankton and can lead to oxygen depletion. Concentrations of some heavy metals and persistent organic contaminants in marine... more
Designation of coastal and marine sites as part of Natura 2000, although improving, has been slow and difficult. The conservation status of some coastal and most marine habitats still needs to be assessed, while 22 % of marine mammals are threatened... more
Degradation of marine and coastal ecosystems is observed in the Black, Mediterranean, Baltic, North East Atlantic Seas and in the Arctic. This trend is caused by fishing, agriculture, the industrial use of chemicals, tourist development, shipping,... more
Growth of the maritime, agriculture and tourism sectors is expected to continue. An important future objective for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive will be to ensure that this growth is sustainable to achieve and then maintain ‘Good... more
By 2100, ocean acidity could be higher than during the past 20 million years. more
The third lowest minimum of Arctic summer sea ice occurred in September 2010. more
In 2007, the IPCC projected a sea level rise of 0.18 to 0.59 m above the 1990 level by 2100. more
Recent projections show a maximum increase of sea level of about 1.0 m by 2100, while higher values up to 2.0 m cannot be excluded. more
30 % of Europe’s fish stocks (for which information exists) are fished outside safe biological levels. more
The consumption of fish in Europe has been increasing over the last 15 years while fish catches from European waters have decreased. more
Where marine species and habitat types have been assessed, the majority are found to be in unfavourable or unknown condition; only 10 % of habitats and 2 % of species are found in good condition. more
The sea surface temperature changes in the European regional seas have been up to six times greater than in the global oceans in the past 25 years. more
The current reduction of 0.1 in pH that has occurred over the industrial era translates to a 30 % increase in ocean acidity. This change has occurred at a rate that is about a hundred times faster than any change in acidity experienced during... more

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Phone: +45 3336 7100