European seas ‘productive but not clean’

Europe’s seas remain unsustainable and threatens its productivity and wellbeing. That’s according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA), which also said human activities and climate change […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

Europe’s seas remain unsustainable and threatens its productivity and wellbeing.

That’s according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA), which also said human activities and climate change are “increasingly” affecting its marine ecosystems.

“Hazardous substances are widespread in the marine environment”, stated the EEA and added they can accumulate through the marine food chain and pose health risks to humans.

Underwater noise from shipping, renewable energy, oil and gas extraction is increasing and can have a wide range of impacts on marine life, it added.

Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director said: “‘We need to respect the ecological boundaries of Europe’s seas if we want to continue enjoying the benefits we receive. This requires aligning our policy ambitions for economic growth with our policy targets of securing healthy, clean and productive seas. Ultimately, this will entail making fundamental changes in the way we meet our societal needs.”

According to the EEA, the maritime sector is expected to provide 6.1 million jobs and generate around €467 billion (£294.2bn).