Ospar Commission
OSPAR's Quality Status Report 2023 Friday Ocean Findings Issue 21
The foundation of OSPAR's Quality Status Report 2023 is made up of a number of Common Indicator Assessments. These are single, measurable components which reflect the overall condition of the marine environment. Our Common Indicator Assessments cover myriad parameters looking at pollution, biodiversity, the impacts of human activities etc. that, when combined, create a picture of the health of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic.

The first development phase of an Indicator Assessment is that of Candidate Indicator. Once this Candidate has been further developed and approved for use, it enters the next phase which is that of Pilot Assessment. This week's Friday Ocean Findings focuses on 4 new, innovative biodiversity Pilot Assessments.

We hope you enjoy these Pilot Assessments. Please do contact us with any comments at communications@ospar.org

Bird assessment images ┬ęShutterstock. Fish sampling trawl ┬ęDr Justin Gwynn
Marine Bird Abundance - Non-Breeding Offshore Birds

The indicator shows the abundance of seven marine bird species wintering at sea in the North Sea sections of Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany in the assessment period 2015 to 2020 compared against the baseline years (1991 to 2000). The status differed between the seven species assessed and is not related to the functional species group these species belong to.

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Marine Bird Bycatch

By-catch of marine birds in fishing gear is an ongoing problem in the North-East Atlantic concerning a number of species. Though methods are developed, a considerable data paucity impairs a comprehensive assessment. In the few cases where an assessment was possible, the threshold value was either achieved or not achieved.

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Marine Bird Habitat Quality

The human maritime activities shipping and offshore wind farming negatively affect marine birds wintering at sea in the south of the Greater North Sea (OSPAR Region II), whereas no negative effect of bottom-trawling fishery was found in the species examined. This pilot assessment helps to identify causes for decline in marine birds and to direct conservation measures appropriately.

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Mean Maximum Length of Fish

Change in species composition within fish communities is assessed through change in the mean maximum length indicator. There is no consistent pattern across the assessed Regions, but long-term decreases to minimum values were found for the North Sea. Mixed patterns of increases and decreases were found within all other Regions.

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OSPAR Commission
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