Pressures and associated descriptors

Are Europe’s seas clean and undisturbed?

One objective of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is to determine whether Europe’s seas can be considered 'clean, healthy and productive'. The pressure from fishing is reducing but other pressures like e.g. nutrient enrichment and contaminants still remain an environmental challenge to meet these objectives.

The main pressures affecting European seas result from: fishing, seafloor damage, pollution by nutrient enrichment and contaminants, and the spreading of non-indigenous species. Marine litter and underwater noise are also of growing concern. These pressures are at the core of the MSFD but some have also been targeted by other dedicated EU policies (the Water Framework Directive, the related Habitat and Bird Directives, and the Common Fisheries Policy). The information reported under the MSFD, although incomplete, shows a low percentage of our seas where pressures are considered to be at an acceptable (good) level.

© Monica Rzeszot, 2006

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