Member State report / Art9 / 2012 / D10 / Ireland / NE Atlantic: Celtic Seas

Report type Member State report to Commission
MSFD Article Art. 9 Determination of GES (and Art. 17 updates)
Report due 2012-10-15
GES Descriptor D10 Litter
Member State Ireland
Region/subregion NE Atlantic: Celtic Seas
Reported by Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government
Report date 15/04/2013
Report access ACSIE_MSFD9GES_20130415.xml
GES component
10.1 Characteristics of litter in the marine and coastal environment
10.1 Characteristics of litter in the marine and coastal environment
10.1 Characteristics of litter in the marine and coastal environment
10.1.1 Trends in litter on shore
10.1.2 Trends in litter in water column
10.1.3 Trends in micro-plastics
10.2 Impacts of marine litter on marine life
10.2.1 Trends in amount of litter ingested
Method used
Ireland has utilised the information sharing facilitated by OSPAR on existing methodologies and future developments for determining GES and environmental targets and indicators. The non-binding OSPAR ‘Advice Documents’ use the benefit of OSPAR expertise to set out common approaches for expressing GES and potential methodologies for developing targets and indicators. The OSPAR countries implementing the MSFD have collectively analysed and shared their emerging GES determinations and associated targets and indicators through the creation of an inventory of emerging national proposals. For the biodiversity Descriptors (including 1, 2, 4 and 6) OSPAR countries are sharing expertise on common approaches. An intensive programme of work is still continuing to coordinate national approaches to biodiversity targets and indicators, including the ongoing development of a proposed set of common OSPAR biodiversity indicators for MSFD. Ireland has also participated in EU coordination through the EU CIS process.
Marine reporting units
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • Irish Assesment Area
  • AllFunctional
  • Litter [macro]
  • SeabedHabitatsAll
  • WaterColumnHabitatsAll
GES description
The amount of litter, and its degradation products [see Note], on coastlines and in the marine environment is reducing over time and are at levels which do not result in harmful effects to the coastal or marine environment. Note: Degradation products of litter include small plastic particles and micro plastic particles
Threshold values
  • Irish Assesment Area = Covered under 'Description of characteristics of GES' as qualitative definition used.
Threshold value unit
Proportion of area to achieve threshold value
GES has not yet been quantitatively determined.
Reference point type
Not known- Marine litter is a problem that can affect the seabed, the water column and the coastline. It can pose a risk to a wide range of marine organisms such as seabirds, marine mammals and turtles through ingestion and entanglement (OSPAR QSR, 2010). However, as monitoring programmes are not yet fully established/operational and providing adequate spatial coverage, and as the relationship between the types and amounts of marine litter in the environment and the degree of harm caused at a population and/or individual level are not fully understood, it is not possible at this time to establish baselines to determine reference conditions.
Assessment method
• Overall reduction in the number of visible litter items within specific categories/types on coastlines (beach surveys). • Surveillance indicator to monitor the quantities of litter on the seafloor • Surveillance indicator to monitor the amounts of plastic found in the contents of fulmar stomachs (in line with the OSPAR Ecological Quality Objective)
Development status
Further development needed (expected to be operational by 2014). There are still gaps in detailed knowledge on marine litter and there is need for further collaborative work at EU / regional or sub-regional level to establish the necessary monitoring tools and coordinated approaches that will allow the establishment of marine litter baselines and the future reporting of environmental trends and environmental impacts.