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Mediterranean

Summary

Though almost entirely enclosed, the Mediterranean is quite deep (average depth 1 500 m). There is little tidal variation, with amplitudes below 50 cm in most places. The climate is warm and dry. The water – also warm – is highly saline. While it is poor in nutrients, it has a rich biodiversity. Home to the ancient cities of Egypt, Crete, Mycenae, Greece and Rome, the Mediterranean is the birthplace of European civilisation.

The EU has almost 40 000 km of Mediterranean coastline. The Sea is Europe’s border with Africa. Only 30 km of water separates Gibraltar from Africa, though at some points the two continents are 1 600 km apart.
The world’s leading tourist destination, the Mediterranean is also a major shipping channel, with almost a third of all international cargo traffic passing through it. Aquaculture (fish farming) is well established, and the fishing industry (mainly small-scale) is a significant source of employment.


The Mediterranean.