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Major study predicts grim future for Europe's seas

Their models developed during a 2.5M EU funded research project have predicted dire consequences for the sea unless European countries take urgent action to prevent further damage from current and emerging patterns of development. The project coordinator, Professor Laurence Mee, Director of the Marine Institute at the University of Plymouth said Europeans are just beginning to wake up to the fact that the area of their seas is bigger than the land and that it is already seriously degraded.

In every sea, we found serious damage related to the accelerated pace of coastal development, the way we transport our goods and the way we produce our food on land as well as the sea.

Without a concerted effort, to integrate protection of the sea into Europes development plans, its biodiversity and resources will be lost

The past two decades have witnessed unparalleled changes in the European political and economic landscape, particularly resulting from expansion of the European Union, decline of the centrally planned communist Bloc and pursuit of rapid economic growth. Despite numerous accounts of the declining state of the marine environment, few studies have attempted to link this situation with Europes human lifestyles or to examine what the future may hold for the seas. The project, European Lifestyles and Marine Ecosystems was designed to explore this relationship.

28 institutions from 15 European countries participated in this work which 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 (over-fertilisation of the sea), 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.

In a similar process to that used by climate change researchers, innovative models were
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Contact: Angelika Dummermuth
Angelika.Dummermuth@awi.de
49-471-483-11742
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
7-Jun-2007


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