Major study predicts grim future for Europe's seas

The results on a major research project involving 28 institutions (including IEEP) from 15 countries has found that urgent action is needed to ensure Europe's regional seas are protected in the future.

The project European Lifestyles and Marine Ecosystems involved 28 institutions from 15 European countries and focused on the four major European sea areas: Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and North-East Atlantic.

It examined four cross-cutting environmental issues: habitat change, eutrophication, chemical pollution and fishing. For each issue and sea, models were devised linking economic and social drivers, environmental pressures and the state of the environment. Innovative models were employed to explore the consequences of a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario, along with four alternatives, for economic and social development in the coming two to three decades.

The research confirmed the serious state of decline of Europe’s regional seas, particularly when the complex web of interactions between different human pressures is taken into account. In each sea, components of the ecosystem were identified that are ‘winners’ or ‘losers’ as a result of human activity. This situation will severely compromise future options for economic use of the sea and for the conservation of its biodiversity.

The results of the project can be found in a report that can be downloaded from: http://www.elme-eu.org/index.html

The results were also discussed on the BBC News and this can be viewed at: news.bbc.co.uk