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ELME — Result In Brief

Project ID: 505576
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV

Time to take care of Europe’s seas

Man's interaction with the sea hasn't always been a healthy one, and Europe is no exception in this respect. It is time to address man-made pressures on marine ecosystems before it becomes too late.
Time to take care of Europe’s seas
Europe is surrounded by seas and oceans that have affected the continent's peoples, lifestyles, cultures and ecosystems. The EU-funded project 'European lifestyles and marine ecosystems' (ELME) investigated the relationship between threatened marine ecosystems and the lifestyles of Europeans.

It looked at pollution, eutrophication and fishing in the Atlantic Ocean, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, defining links between these ecosystems and the livelihoods of communities around them. The project identified the threats to marine ecosystems driven by economic needs and other underlying forces at play, an initiative which could help redefine policies in the sector.

Not surprisingly, ELME ascertained the catastrophic decline in quality and biodiversity of the seas surrounding Europe, caused mainly by socioeconomic pressures. Species of sea life that were low on the food chain helped exacerbate the declining situation, wreaking havoc on marine systems and biodiversity.

These changes were mainly associated with transport of goods and economic choices of surrounding nations or those active in a given region of the sea. They were also shaped by regulatory frameworks, pointing to a need for improvement in this area. ELME warned that failure to act is likely to cause irreparable damage, and its recommendations will hopefully spur communities and governments to react rapidly.

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