This report provides a set of key messages on the current use of Europe's seas and its combined effects on marine ecosystem condition. These messages underpin a set of lessons from marine ecosystem recovery from which solutions for a brighter future can be identified.
The current condition of Europe’s seas is generally poor according to the EEA report ‘Marine Messages II’. This is bad news for people as it affects our quality of life, livelihoods and economies. The condition of our seas determines their capacity to supply, amongst others, oxygen, food, a habitable climate, and certain raw materials, and it also supports our recreation, leisure and health.
Historic and current use of our seas — from the Baltic to the Mediterranean — is taking its toll, resulting in changes in the composition of marine species and habitats to changes in the seas’ overall physical and chemical make-up. Added to these complex problems is climate change, which is worsening the impacts of the other threats. The combined effects of these changes are currently on a path which could cause irreversible damage to marine ecosystems, the EEA report says. There are, however, signs of marine ecosystem recovery in some areas as a result of significant, often decade-long, efforts to reduce certain impacts like those caused by contaminants, eutrophication and overfishing, the report says.