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Quality Status Reports

General assessments of current knowledge of the health status of the sea, assessing the impact of humans on hydrodynamics, chemistry, habitats and biota, provide a basis for implementing the ecosystem approach. Assessing the cumulative and relative impact of all the human pressures on the marine environment can identify where action needs to be taken.

OSPAR publishes such general assessments in the form of Quality Status Reports (QSRs) of the North-East Atlantic and its sub-regions. QSRs are published periodically as major benchmark assessments resulting from the joint efforts of the Contracting Parties.

The Quality Status Report 2010 examines all aspects of human influence on the sea, including contaminants, nutrient pollution and radioactive substances and the effects of human activities such as the offshore oil and gas industry, offshore wind farms, maritime transport, and fisheries. An evaluation has been made of the effectiveness of the policies being taken for the protection of the marine environment and identifies priorities for future action.

A  stakeholder e-consultation on the final draft of the QSR 2010 was held in November 2009 to seek views from stakeholders on the QSR as a document for shaping the future work on the protection of the North-East Atlantic.

The Quality Status Report 2000 presented a comprehensive assessment of the environmental quality of the North-East Atlantic based upon regional QSRs prepared for each of the five OSPAR regions.

Two earlier North Sea QSRs were published in 1987 and 1993. The 1987 North Sea QSR was prepared specifically for the London Conference of North Sea Ministers in 1987 and drew together for the first time all available information on inputs to the sea, concentration levels and effects. The 1993 North Sea QSR was prepared by a North Sea Task Force established by the then Oslo and Paris Commissions and the International Council on the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) in response to the London Declaration of North Sea Ministers in 1987.