Jul 19, 2017

OSPAR Intermediate Assessment 2017

OSPAR has published the results of the Intermediate Assessment (IA 2017)


The IA 2017 provides background information and assessments of human pressures on the marine environment and biological diversity of the OSPAR Maritime Area. Ultimately, there are some key messages articulated. These provide concise assessments, often in respect of species or delivery of The OSPAR Strategy.


There is a need for those who manage human activities that impact on our seas to understand the effects of such activities on the biology, physics and chemistry of these waters. Furthermore, the effectiveness of any action must be assessed. In preparing the IA 2017, assessments have been made against agreed assessment criteria when available. Alternative trend assessments, have been used when specific assessment thresholds have not been available. However, when evaluating the assessments, it is necessary to take account of the change and variation which dominates marine systems. While much of this change and variation is entirely natural, some biological, physical and chemical disturbances are the result of human pressures. It is only through carefully conducted research and monitoring that the natural and anthropogenically-forced changes can be separated to provide a clear picture of the impact that humans are having on the seas and oceans. Basic information on the characteristics of our seas is crucial. 


In addition to exploiting the resources our marine waters have to offer, people are also drawn to the ocean for recreation and attach a strong cultural importance and identity to it. However, with so many pressures and users, combined with rising sea temperatures and compelling evidence of ocean acidification, it is clear that human activity is greatly impacting on our seas. This may have economic impacts for some activities. 


Ultimately there is a need to understand how marine ecosystems function; the natural variability in the system; the anthropogenically-forced changes (these being the only changes we can potentially manage); the effects of multiple, cumulative human impacts; and the economic and social implications / benefits of our exploitation of the seas.


To read the full IA 2017 visit the OSPAR website



Solway Firth Partnership