Indicator Fact Sheet

Classification of coastal waters

Indicator Fact Sheet
Prod-ID: IND-18-en
  Also known as: WEC 2d
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This page was archived on 03 Mar 2015 with reason: Other (New version data-and-maps/indicators/chlorophyll-in-transitional-coastal-and-2/assessment was published)

Assessment made on  17 Oct 2003

Generic metadata



DPSIR: State


Indicator codes
  • WEC 2d

Policy issue:  Is good surface water ecological status being achieved and the deterioration of aquatic ecosystems and habitats prevented?


Key assessment

There are far fewer national classification schemes for transitional and coastal waters than there are for rivers. Those that are used are often based on a combination of chemical, biological and aesthetic measures.

The quality of estuaries in England and Wales showed little improvement between 1985 and 1995 (Figure 2.6). However between 1995 and 2000, the proportion of good quality estuaries increased and the proportion of poor and bad decreased reflecting the improvement measures introduced under the urban waste water treatment and bathing waters directives. The quality of estuaries in Scotland remained relatively constant between 1996 and 1999 (Figure 2.7).

Figure 2.8 shows the general classification of Finnish coastal waters based on water quality data from 1994 to 1997. The results indicate that only 12 % of their waters are considered to be of less than good quality. The poorer quality waters are generally because of eutrophication, hazardous substances or hygienic bacteria. Thus, for example, coastal waters close to large municipalities such as Helsinki were often classified as poor or passable.


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