The marine environment is a vital resource for life on Earth as it performs a number of key environmental functions. However, our oceans and seas are under threat from over-fishing, sea-floor damage, pollution by nutrient enrichment and contaminants, the spread of non-indigenous species, marine litter and underwater noise. Find out more about these pressures and their cumulative effects on Europe’s Seas in the latest technical report.

In addition to implementing a large number of EU marine environment policies and legislation that tackle the above-mentioned pressures, the European Union has established marine protected areas. These are geographically distinct zones for which protection objectives exist. The EEA has developed a dedicated briefing on these marine protected areas. A wide collection of marine data is also available through the Marine Information System for Europe (WISE-Marine).  

Please also consult our topic page on Seas and coasts and the the EEA report Marine Messages II, especially the chapter on solutions, for further information. You may also be interested to consult the latest briefing on How climate change impacts marine life.