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The Black Sea
Bakan, G.; Büyükgüngör, H. (2000). The Black Sea, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. pp. 285-305
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


Authors  Top 
  • Bakan, G.
  • Büyükgüngör, H.

    The Black Sea is the world's largest landlocked inland sea. Almost one third of the entire land area of continental Europe drains into it and, during the last 30 years, the Black Sea environment has suffered a catastrophic degradation from the waterborne waste from 17 countries. Due to natural causes, the sub-halocline waters of the Black Sea are anoxic. In spite of this natural deficiency , the Black Sea has served mankind well in the past through its provision of food resources, as a natural setting for recreation and transportation and even as a disposal site for waste, including perhaps nuclear wastes. In return, it has been exploited and degraded in many ways. Unregulated and unplanned freshwater withdrawal for irrigation purposes, hydro- and thermal-power generation, the use of coastal areas for construction and the many untreated industrial and agricultural wastes discharged into the rivers that drain into the sea have all had detrimental effects on its health. The large natural river supply of phosphorus and nitrogen, essential nutrients for marine plants and algae, has always made the Black Sea very fertile. The serious degradation it faces now can be explained by a variety of factors ranging from high pollution loads from the rivers that discharge into the sea to improper policies and inadequate management practices. Among the most serious problems is the high level of eutrophication by nutrients from land-based sources. Other factors in the degradation of the marine environment include the introduction of opportunistic species such as the comb jellyfish, Mnemiopsis leydi; changes in the hydrological balance caused by construction of dams on major rivers; chemical and microbiological pollution, synthetic organic contaminants, heavy metals, radionuclides, dumping, and oil pollution. These have caused the environment of the Black Sea to deteriorate dramatically in terms of biodiversity, habitats, fisheries resources, aesthetic and recreational value and water quality. Land-based sources are identified as the primary factor causing the present crisis situation, and this is where research efforts have been targeted. Black Sea riparian countries have committed themselves to prevent, reduce and control pollution from land-based sources in accordance with Article VII of the Bucharest Convention. Gathering information on the sources of pollution was one of the basic requirements of the Odessa Ministerial Declaration of the Black Sea countries. One of the objectives of the Program for Environmental Management and Protection in the Black Sea, known as the Black Sea Environmental Program, BSEP, is the preparation of a Black Sea Action Plan. This chapter reviews the Black Sea in environmental terms, its current environmental status and major problems arising from human use of both the sea and its watershed. It also comments on major trends, problems and successes mainly in the light of the Black Sea Environmental Program (BSEP). Following a general review, the southern, Turkish coast is focused upon.

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