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Our Oceans, Seas and Coasts

Things you might not know about our seas and oceans…

The Marine Directive Rules!

What is the European Commission doing to protect our seas and oceans?

More than 70% of the world's surface is covered with seas and oceans and it is very important for all of us that this system functions well.  For example, we need it for the air we breathe, food, to enjoy our holidays by the seaside, get ingredients to make medicines and so on.

But Europe's seas and oceans suffer from threats, to name a few

  • Alien species: these are animals or plants that have travelled to live in an area where they are normally not found
  • Too many fish (or the wrong fish) are caught by fishermen
  • Climate change: it makes the sea level rise and destroys coral reefs for example.  Learn all about it here.
  • Pollution from chemicals and waste
  • Energy: ship motors make a lot of noise that can really disturb marine life.  Also, an offshore oil platform can create pollution: remember the oil spill of Deep Water Horizon? 

This is why the European Commission has made rules to protect our seas and oceans. 

All the 28 countries that are members of the club called "European Union" must obey the rules of the Marine Directive.  The rules (called articles in the Directive) are in place since 2008 and state that the 28 countries should work together to get the marine environment in a "good environmental status" by 2020 and keep it that way. 

This is not an easy task and the whole process takes a lot of time (imagine to get all your class mates to agree on 1 and the same thing!).  But it is our job at the European Commission to make sure that the members of the club follow the rules and we try to help them the best we can!

Very recently, we have published a report on how "the members" are doing with the rules and it seems that a lot of work remains to be done if we are to reach good status of our seas in some years (only). 

Want to learn more on the threats? Read them here at Oceans 11