Pollution (EO9)

EO 9 Pollution

Contaminants cause no significant impact on coastal and marine ecosystems and human health.

Key Messages:

  • Concentrations of key harmful contaminants (CI 17) indicate generally acceptable levels of heavy metals assessed from bivalves and fish, with lead in 10% of stations above threshold levels in mussels. However, a high percentage of lead (Pb) and especially mercury (HgT) levels in sediments in coastal stations were above the assessment criteria.
  • Level of pollution effects of key contaminants (CI 18) results are generally not comparable, as biological effects monitoring tools are still in a research phase which limits the implementation of these methodologies in the long-term marine monitoring networks.
  • Occurrence, origin, extent of acute pollution events (e.g. slicks from oil, oil products and hazardous substances), and their impact on biota (CI 19) indicate that accidents rates have gone down regionally despite the increase in shipping transportation, based on several studies. Risks associated with illicit discharges from the transport by ships of oil and HNS with possible harmful consequences on biota and ecosystems cannot be completely eliminated.
  • Regular datasets were unavailable to perform an assessment on levels of contaminants in commonly consumed seafood (CI 20), although from the review available studies, there is no major significant concerns or extreme high levels. For future assessments regular data reporting is required in line with IMAP, with close liaison with national food safety authorities, research organisations and/or environmental agencies.
  • There is a lack of recent datasets on microbiological pollution (CI 21) submitted to the MAP Secretariat and regular reporting of data in line with IMAP is required to assess that levels of intestinal enterococci comply with established standards for GES. However recent studies on the percentage of intestinal enterococci concentration, show that the implementation of measures (e.g. sewage treatment plants) to reduce, among others, the fecal pollution in coastal waters, has been a story-of-success in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Regular monitoring and reporting of quality assured data for CI17 and CI 21 to MED POL database need to continue while regular monitoring and reporting for CI 18, CI 19 and CI 20 need to be established.

Regular reporting for all Ecological Objectives should be established/strengthened.