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Penchaszadeh, P.E.; Leon, C.A.; Alvarez, H.; Bone, D.; Castellano, P.; Castillo, M.M.; Diaz, Y.; Garcia, M.P.; Lemus, M.; Losada, F.; Martin, A.; Miloslavich, P.; Paredes, C.; Perez, D.; Sebastiani, M.; Stecconi, D.; Roa, V.; Villamizar, A. (2000). Venezuela, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. pp. 643-661
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 
  • Penchaszadeh, P.E.
  • Leon, C.A.
  • Alvarez, H.
  • Bone, D.
  • Castellano, P.
  • Castillo, M.M.
  • Diaz, Y.
  • Garcia, M.P.
  • Lemus, M.
  • Losada, F.
  • Martin, A.
  • Miloslavich, P.
  • Paredes, C.
  • Perez, D.
  • Sebastiani, M.
  • Stecconi, D.
  • Roa, V.
  • Villamizar, A.

    The coast of Venezuela is very diverse in geological and topographical terms. The annual surface seawater temperature ranges between 20 and 29°C. Twelve upwelling zones have been identified, mainly related to the intensity of the Trade Winds. During upwelling events, the temperature decreases locally between 5 and 7°C. Regional temperature variations follow a seasonal pattern, colder during the dry season and warmer in the rainy season. The Orinoco River discharges an average of 36,000 m³/s to the Atlantic Ocean and influences the salinity patterns, currents, suspended materials and nutrients in the Venezuelan Atlantic coast and the Caribbean Sea. The major shallow water marine and coastal habitats are sandy beaches, rocky shores, seagrass beds (mainly Thalassia testudinum), coral reefs, coastal lagoons and mangroves. The coastal area of Venezuela has, in general terms, a high primary production due to the upwelling systems and from the nutrient supply by rivers and watersheds. This contributes to a diversified fishery. The main official statistics of marine and estuarine fisheries show a catch of around 400,000 mt/yr and the main products are sardine (Sardinella anchovia), mollusk bivalves (Arca zebra), and mugilids (Mugil spp.). The main export of Venezuela is petroleum, and there are coastal areas with chronic oil contamination. There are also reports of contamination with heavy metals. Power plants, oil refineries, petrochemical plants, paper-mill facilities, and sewage discharge directly to the sea, and have impacted many areas of the coastal zone of Venezuela. Venezuela has a legislation framework for coastal management, which includes National Parks, and other areas managed under Special Regulations. Nevertheless, protection of the coastal area is not efficient, since economic forces ignore these regulations.

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