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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
Exploitation of European seas and coasts is increasing as new industries emerge and traditional ones move further off-shore. The main pressures include: extraction of species and genetic resources, seafloor exploitation, pollution and the spread... more
Seas and oceans act as a coherent ecosystem. Across all of Europe's regional seas, marine biodiversity is in poor condition: only 7% of marine species assessments indicate 'favourable conservation status'. Effects of climate change (e.g. acidification)... more
Effective policy implementation can reduce impacts. For example, for several stocks the number of fish caught at 'maximum sustainable yield' levels continues to increase, suggesting healthier stocks. more
In calling for an ecosystem-based approach, the EU's Blue Growth Strategy recognises the balance that must be achieved between 'use' of the sea and achieving the objective of 'good environmental status' by 2020. more

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