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The Irish Sea
Hartnoll, R.G. (2000). The Irish Sea, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. pp. 83-98
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 934 pp., more

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Document type: Review

Keyword
    Marine

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  • Hartnoll, R.G.

Abstract
    In global terms, the Irish Sea is relatively small, enclosed and sheltered. It is characterised by strong tidal currents and a well mixed water body, but exchange with the Celtic Sea is limited and its water has a considerable residence time exceeding one year. Temperature, nutrient levels and primary production all show clear seasonality. Levels of primary production are low compared with comparable neighbouring areas. Anthropogenic input is greatest in the north east sector, reducing water quality, but never so severely that the region ceases to be productive and support fisheries. There are several problems currently affecting the Irish Sea: (a) Nutrients have roughly doubled over the past forty years, reaching levels which pose a risk of eutrophication. The incidence of algal blooms is increasing, and there is limited scope for remedial action. This must pose the major threat. (b) All of the major fisheries are being exploited at levels substantially above the optimum. Current regulations are of limited success. (c) There are several anthropogenic inputs which are of concern and require continued monitoring-sewage, heavy metals, organic compounds and radionuclides. None currently have widespread severe impact, and most inputs are being reduced. The overall prognosis for the Irish Sea is one of cautious optimism.

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