Protecting marine life in Europe’s seas

Europe´s seas are under pressure. Marine protected areas (MPAs) can act as a key management measures to safeguard marine ecosystems and biodiversity so to maintain their potential to deliver key services to our societies and economies. European countries have been extending marine protected areas across Europe’s seas. More effective management of these marine protected areas and a convergent implementation of related legislation now constitute important challenges. A new report by the European Environment Agency assesses the progress made and concludes with perspectives for the future.

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Living in a changing climate

Our climate is changing. Warmer temperatures, changes in precipitation levels and patterns, or extreme weather events are already impacting Europe, and these impacts result in real losses. In a series of short articles and interviews, the European Environment Agency’s Signals 2015 presents an overview of what causes climate change and what climate change means for human health, the environment, and the economy.

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Europe’s seas: productive, but not healthy or clean

The European Union’s Blue Growth agenda aims to harness further the potential of Europe’s oceans, seas and coasts for jobs, economic value and sustainability. A new report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that, despite some improvements, the way we use our seas remains unsustainable and threatens not only the productivity of our seas, but also our wellbeing. Human activities and climate change are increasingly putting a number of pressures on Europe’s seas, the cumulative effects of which threaten the functioning and resilience of marine ecosystems.

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Protected areas cover a quarter of Europe's land and almost 6 % of regional seas

Protected areas cover more than 1 000 000 km2 of land and more than 340 000 km2 of coastal and marine ecosystems in Europe, according to the latest data. These areas are vitally important for protecting the continent’s most vulnerable species, habitats and marine life.

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Abundant 'natural capital' in Europe's faraway lands

From tropical islands to icy tundra, European Union overseas entities are rich in 'natural capital'. Many of these areas have highly productive land and seas, and a huge diversity of ecosystems; collectively they are home to an astounding number of globally significant species.

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Water quality excellent at most of Europe's bathing sites

The water at Europe's beaches, rivers and lakes was generally of high quality in 2013, with 95 % of these sites meeting minimum requirements. Coastal sites performed slightly better than inland bathing waters, the data shows.

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Reducing pollution in the southern Mediterranean

Countries bordering the south and east of the Mediterranean need to continually improve many aspects of environmental management to reduce pollution in the sea, according to a new assessment.

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Let's clean up Europe!

Volunteers across Europe will pick up litter on Saturday 10 May, as part of a coordinated EU Clean Up Day. The event is particularly timely, as there are growing concerns that rubbish polluting Europe's land and sea harms wildlife and may ultimately affect human health.

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IPCC report shows growing risks from already-present climate change

Climate change is already having substantial and widespread impacts around the world, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Drawing on a larger body of evidence than ever before, it highlights a wide range of risks in vital areas such as food supply, human health and economic development.

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New mobile phone app will help track marine litter

People will soon be able to report the litter they find on the beach, thanks to a new mobile phone app developed by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

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Ten things everyone should know about Europe's productive seas

A recent assessment by the European Environment Agency (EEA) showed that European seas are in a worrying state. As policy makers meet to discuss the marine environment that sustains maritime development, the EEA summarises ten important facts about the ecosystems beneath the waves.

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Europe's seas: A valuable asset that must be used sustainably

Many of Europe's marine species, habitats and ecosystems have been threatened for decades. As maritime economic activities are predicted to increase in coming years, a new briefing from the European Environment Agency (EEA) argues that the cumulative impact of human activity should be better managed to avoid irreversible damage to ecosystems.

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The squeeze on Europe's coastline continues

Europe's coastal regions are increasingly vital for its economy, yet their natural assets on which it depends continue to degrade. This is according to a new report from the European Environment Agency, which calls for better information, planning and management decisions to balance multiple demands on the coastal environment.

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Marine litter – a growing threat worldwide

Increasing amounts of litter are ending up in the world’s oceans and harming the health of ecosystems, killing animals when they become trapped or swallow the litter. Human health is also at risk, as plastics may break down into smaller pieces that may subsequently end up in our food. These are just a few of the problems emerging from the waste collecting in our seas.

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Blue-green algae - check the water before you swim

Most beaches, lakes and rivers in Europe were clean and healthy last year. But water quality can be affected by many unforeseen factors, including sewage, agricultural waste and algae. The European Environment Agency (EEA) recommends checking local water quality information before you jump in.

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Biodiversity-rich Croatia becomes 33rd full EEA member country

As Croatia joins the European Union, it also becomes a full member of the European Environment Agency (EEA) on July 1, 2013. On this landmark day, the EEA takes a look at the country’s environment.

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Europe’s bathing waters continue to improve

Ninety-four per cent of bathing sites in the European Union meet minimum standards for water quality, according to the European Environment Agency's annual report on bathing water quality in Europe. Water quality is excellent at 78 % of sites and almost 2 % more sites meet the minimum requirements compared to last year's report.

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Water management in Europe faces rising challenges as ecosystems weaken

Water pollution and excessive water use are still harming ecosystems, which are indispensable to Europe’s food, energy, and water supplies. To maintain water ecosystems, farming, planning, energy and transport sectors need to actively engage in managing water within sustainable limits.

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Climate change evident across Europe, confirming urgent need for adaptation

Climate change is affecting all regions in Europe, causing a wide range of impacts on society and the environment. Further impacts are expected in the future, potentially causing high damage costs, according to the latest assessment published by the European Environment Agency today.

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Protected areas have increased to cover one fifth of Europe’s land

More than 21 % of the land has some kind of protected status in the 39 countries which work with the European Environment Agency (EEA). However, only 4 % of the sea controlled by countries of the European Union is included within the Natura 2000 network of protected areas, according to a new report from the EEA.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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