Ospar Commission
OSPAR's Quality Status Report 2023 Friday Ocean Findings Issue 27
We have published our latest assessment on the Recovery in the Population Abundance of Sensitive Fish Species this week. This species-level indicator assessment contains status maps for 158 species of fish found in the North-East Atlantic and documents the extent of recovery among populations of fish deemed sensitive to additional mortality from fishing. Fish species with life history traits such as large ultimate body size, slow growth rate, large length and late-age-at-maturity, are particularly sensitive to additional sources of mortality including through by-catch; with many populations known to have declined markedly in abundance through the 20th century, a period of marked expansion in fishing activity across the area assessed.

Also available to read now are 2 more of our pilot assessments. The pilot assessments on Ambient Noise in the North Sea, and the Pilot Assessment of Status and Trends of Persistent Chemicals in Marine Mammals are new, innovative assessments being conducted for the first time.

As always we would like to thank the experts, policy makers and all of those involved in preparing these assessments which contribute to our 2023 Quality Status Report (QSR) which, when viewed together, build a picture of the overall condition of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic and progress towards 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 results will also be used by OSPAR Contracting Parties to inform policy decisions.

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

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Recovery in the Population Abundance of Sensitive Fish Species

56 (49%) of 114 regional populations that could support assessment achieved their long-term threshold for "Recovering” and 93 populations (82% of assessed populations) met the secondary threshold “No Further Decline”. 18% (21 populations) did not achieve either threshold, of which 10 populations also showed signs of recent decline. Too few data were available to assess an additional 87 populations.

More information on OSPAR

OSPAR is the mechanism by which 15 Governments & the EU cooperate to protect the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic.

Pilot Assessment of Status and Trends of Persistent Chemicals in Marine Mammals

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are present in marine mammals living in all five OSPAR Regions. Toothed-cetaceans and some subpopulations of pinnipeds present moderate to high ranges of PCB concentrations, often surpassing the estimated toxicity thresholds for the onset of reproductive incapacity. The ranges of PCB concentrations of baleen whales are always below the estimated toxicity thresholds.

Pilot Assessment of Ambient Noise

Shipping noise is dominant in the underwater soundscape of the North Sea. In the southern part and along the major shipping routes the noise exceeds the natural sound by more than 20 dB for more than 50% of the time. Marine protected areas (MPAs) don’t seem to give additional protection against continuous noise.

OSPAR Commission
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