Shared problems – shared solutions? Experts of Baltic Sea and Black Sea join forces on combatting eutrophication
· Over 30 years of Baltic experience of joint monitoring and assessment of eutrophication to be shared with the Black Sea specialists, in “Expert workshop on the assessment of eutrophication and nutrient pollution in the Black Sea and experiences from the Baltic Sea”, Istanbul, Turkey 6 -7 September 2011;
· First steps towards a Black Sea nutrient reduction scheme a central objective.
6 September 2011, HELCOM Information Service - Helsinki Commission monitoring experts from the Baltic Sea region will meet today for a 2-day workshop in Istanbul with the Black Sea Commission specialists, to share experiences on how to monitor and assess nutrient pollution and effects of eutrophication. This is the first encounter of its kind with the aim to transfer knowledge specifically on eutrophication monitoring between the regions.
Since the late 1970s, the Baltic Sea coastal countries have jointly carried out coordinated monitoring and assessment of eutrophication of the marine environment. HELCOM’s most recent assessment of eutrophication status of the Baltic Sea focused on years 2001–2006 and revealed that as many as 176 of the 189 assessed areas suffered from eutrophication. The control of nutrient loads from land to sea, however, has improved, resulting in halving of phosphorus loads since the 1970s. This reduction has mainly been due to enhanced waste water treatment, an integral part of the Helsinki Commission Baltic Sea Action Plan.
The Baltic and Black Sea experts who will meet during a two-day workshop, are specialists of two inter-governmental sister organizations, the Helsinki Commission and the Black Sea Commission, both working to protect marine environments. The workshop is organized as a part of an EU-funded project “Baltic2Black” between the Helsinki Commission Secretariat and the Black Sea Commission Secretariat. The project is aimed at transferring knowledge from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea region.
The Black Sea suffers from over-nourishment by nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, like the Baltic Sea does, although the problem seems not to have reached a similar scale as in the Baltic Sea. While the Black Sea is much deeper than the Baltic, both seas are closed sea areas with only narrow connections to more oceanic environments and nutrient pollution is prone to remain locked for long periods of time, causing eutrophication.
Experts in the Black Sea region are especially interested in learning about the ways of cooperation for coherent evaluations of eutrophication and nutrient loads covering an entire sea region. The greatest interest is placed on the nutrient reduction scheme of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and the steps needed to create a similar scheme for the Black Sea.
The objective of the EU-funded project “Environmental monitoring of the Black Sea with focus on nutrient pollution” or, “Baltic2Black” (2011-2013), is to promote the protection of the marine environment. This will be carried out by improving environmental monitoring and enhancing the transfer of knowledge and good practices from HELCOM to the Black Sea Commission, mainly on eutrophication monitoring and assessments.
The Monitoring and Assessment Group looks after one of HELCOM’s key tasks by assessing trends in threats to the marine environment, their impacts, the resulting state of the marine environment, and the effectiveness of adopted measures. This work forms the basis for the work of HELCOM’s other main groups, and helps to define the need for additional measures.
Note to Editors:
The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as the Helsinki Commission or HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea countries and the European Union which works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution.
HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," known as the Helsinki Convention.
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