Ecological Quality Objectives
Ecological Quality Objectives (EcoQOs) have been developed as tools to help OSPAR and the North Sea Conference process fulfil commitments to apply the ecosystem approach to the management of human activities that may affect the marine environment. Within the concept of a “healthy and sustainable marine ecosystem” for present and future generations, EcoQOs are intended to provide a set of clear environmental indicators stating aspirations for a healthy North Sea as part of the ecosystem approach.
EcoQOs have been developed by OSPAR in collaboration with ICES and since an invitation from North Sea Ministers in 2002 a first set has been applied by OSPAR Contracting Parties in the North Sea as part of a pilot project. The lead countries for the EcoQO process in OSPAR are the Netherlands and Norway.
An introduction to the EcoQO system is given in the OSPAR publication Ecological Quality Objectives – Working towards a healthy North Sea
An EcoQO website has been developed by the OSPAR lead countries for EcOQOs.
Other OSPAR publications on the EcoQO system are:
- EcoQO Handbook – a handbook for the application of EcoQOs in the North Sea providing information on the application of those EcoQOs being applied in the North Sea
- 2005 Report on the North Sea Pilot Project on Ecological Quality Objectives
- Report of the OSPAR Stakeholder Workshop Towards Finalisation of Ecological Quality Objectives (EcoQOs) for the North Sea
- Evaluation of the OSPAR system of Ecological Quality Objectives for the North Sea (update 2010)
The following background documents have been published on individual EcoQOs as part of the North Sea Pilot Project on EcoQOs:
- Background Document on the Ecological Quality Objective for Seal Population Trends in the North Sea
- Background Document on the Ecological Quality Objective on Oiled Guillemots
- Background Document on the Ecological Quality Objective on Bycatch of Harbour Porpoises in the North Sea
- Background Document on the Ecological Quality Objective on imposex in dog whelks
- Background Document on the Ecological Quality Objective for Spawning Stock Biomass of Commercial Species in the North Sea
- Ecological Quality Objectives for the Greater North Sea with Regard to Nutrients and Eutrophication Effects
- Background Document for the EcoQO on plastic particles in stomachs of seabirds
- Background Document on the EcoQO on changes in the proportion of large fish and evaluation of the size-based indicators
- Background document on the EcoQO on mercury and organohalogens in seabird eggs
- Background document on Ecological Quality Objectives for threatened and/or declining habitats