Today the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) published its latest assessment of the health of the North-East Atlantic. The report shows:
- declining biodiversity and continued habitat degradation across many parts of the OSPAR Maritime Area despite the measures taken by OSPAR Contracting Parties. The impacts of fisheries and other human activities on biodiversity are still deeply felt, and other forms of degradation such as noise pollution are of growing concern.
- there is an ever-more pressing need to address drivers of degradation and biodiversity loss and thereby increase the health and resilience of marine ecosystems in the OSPAR Maritime Area.
- environmental quality has improved in some aspects: releases of the most serious hazardous substances such as PCBs, PAHs, and organochlorides have decreased substantially, pollution by radioactive substances has been prevented, discharges by the oil and gas industry have been reduced, marine litter is better tracked and significant steps have been taken to reduce it, and a gradual reduction of the input and availability of excess nutrients has been witnessed in many OSPAR Regions.
- climate change and ocean acidification are now driving major changes that imperil much of the North-East Atlantic’s marine biodiversity.
The Quality Status Report (QSR) 2023 is the most authoritative assessment of the whole North-East Atlantic and reflects the collective work of the 16 Contracting Parties to the OSPAR Convention, scientists, experts and their institutions, and the OSPAR Secretariat. It assesses the status of various components of the North-East Atlantic and examines how conditions have changed since the last QSR in 2010. The OSPAR Contracting Parties have progressively invested in more sophisticated monitoring and analysis of changes to the North-East Atlantic, both to support science-based decision making and to move towards a better understanding of the effectiveness of management and policy responses. The resulting QSR 2023 is a holistic assessment of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic produced in collaboration with over 400 scientists and policy experts from across the region, providing a foundation for effective science-based policy.
Publication of the QSR was announced at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Annual Science Conference 2023 at Palacio Euskalduna in Bilbao (Spain).
The findings from the QSR 2023 will be used to help OSPAR deliver its North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy 2030 – our shared Roadmap to achieving our vision of a clean, healthy and biologically diverse North-East Atlantic Ocean, which is productive, used sustainably and resilient to climate change and ocean acidification.
The OSPAR Quality Status Report 2023 is an endorsed Ocean Decade Contribution.