More coordinated legislation needed to ensure the Good Environmental Status of European seas

A range of legislation, including the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), is designed to ensure the ‘Good Environmental Status’ (GES) of EU seas by 2020. Researchers have assessed the MSFD in relation to existing maritime policies, concluding that coordination between directives is important to achieve GES.

Europe has over 200 policy initiatives for the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. Of these, the MSFD was approved in 2008 to protect, preserve and restore the quality of the marine environment across Europe. It was also developed to integrate other measures to protect the marine environment, as some policies, such as the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), target more specific pressures. The MSFD requires Member States to develop a marine strategy, which includes a Programme of Measures (PoM), to achieve GES. This study, which was part of the DEVOTES project, reviewed key maritime policies for achieving GES. The researchers examined how Member States use and integrate existing legislation and policies to implement their PoM, the potential opportunities and difficulties associated with this, and external barriers to achieving GES. The study used case studies of three Member States: Greece, Spain and the UK. The researchers say there are conflicting objectives within and between Member States in implementing the MSFD. For example, GES and its descriptor indicators are left to the individual interpretation of the Member States, which may lead to differences in implementation. The MSFD is reliant on existing legislation. For example, the PoM for each Member State should be based on existing requirements such as monitoring requirements under the Habitats and Birds Directives. Other directives with overlaps in requirements or aims include the WFD, CFP, the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD), Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) and the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSP), say the authors. Furthermore, different legal instruments can use different boundaries for different marine regions, which was identified as a major barrier to achieving GES. This can, for example, cause difficulties in reporting fishery stocks for different geographical areas under the CFP, or assessing the chemical status of waters in the case of the WFD. Blue growth initiatives, which aim to develop social and economic growth within European seas, were identified as another challenge to achieving GES. The researchers say blue growth may conflict with MSFD objectives by emphasising economic growth over environmental protection. Shipping, oil and gas exploration, renewable energy, off-shore aquaculture, the cruise industry, carbon capture and storage and seabed mining are all new or rapidly developing sectors, which may negatively affect marine ecosystems. It is important that these developments consider ecological impacts through environmental impact assessments (EIA). EIA is an integral part of granting development consent to individual projects that are likely to have significant impact on the environment. It is important to consider the cumulative effect of these developments. The Strategic Impact Assessment and Marine Spatial Planning Directives provide for a comprehensive, systematic and transparent assessment of environmental, social and economic impacts as well as appropriate planning to address any possible negative impacts from economic development.

The case studies also demonstrate that Member States are producing their PoM in different ways, and are at different stages. For example, the UK finalised its PoM in December 2015, primarily using existing policy to meet the needs of the MSFD, which the researchers suggest may be insufficient to achieve GES. The UK PoM relies on current programmes and targets to monitor marine habitats — such as those under the WFD — and it is uncertain how effectively these measures can be scaled up to meet the requirements of the MSFD at a sub-regional level. By contrast, the public consultation process for the Spanish PoM was completed in spring 2016 and identified existing measures from current EU and national legislation, but also developed 95 new measures. However, the PoM has not yet been formally notified in Spain. Greece has not made its PoM public yet, possibly demonstrating the difficulties faced by certain countries in documenting the required measures within deadlines. Greece is currently facing major fiscal and societal challenges; as such, the researchers say that it is not surprising that they are failing to meet the MSFD timeline. They say it is expected that the Greek PoM will also largely use existing environmental measures from current EU policies. Finally, the researchers provide recommendations to overcome gaps and barriers in legislation and meet GES. In particular, they recommend increased coordination between related policy instruments. This could include common definitions, targets and data collection. They also say an overreliance on measures within existing legislation may be to the detriment of environmental protection. The researchers say Member States should consider new measures, where necessary, to achieve GES under the MSFD, although they acknowledge that this represents a challenge.

Source: Boyes, S.J., Elliott, M., Murillas-Maza, A., Papadopoulou, N. & Uyarra, M.C. (2016). Is existing legislation fit-forpurpose to achieve Good Environmental Status in European seas? Marine Pollution Bulletin, 137(1): 105–119. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016. 06.079. This study is free to view at: http://www.sciencedirect.c om/science/article/pii/S002 5326X16304830


Preparatory Meeting (Feb 15-16, 2017, NYC) for the Ocean Conference: Our Oceans, Our Future (June 5-9, 2017, NYC)

By Dr. Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Member, Climate and Global Change.


The Preparatory Meeting for the Ocean Conference: Our Oceans, Our Future: Partnering for the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14)  (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development) convened at UN Headquarters in New York, from February 15 – 16, 2017.

Dr. Muir, on behalf of EUCC was registered to attend the Preparatory Meeting. Dr Muir will participate in subsequent consultations in March 2017, and will attend the Ocean Conference which will take place in New York in June 2017. EUCC was very involved in the development of the the Oceans Goal, and will continued to be involved in its implementation, particularly for Europe and adjacent coastal and marine regions.

In this Preparatory Meeting, longstanding interests of EUCC were considered such as oceans governance, marine conservation and sustainable development . New and newer issues of concern to EUCC such as climate, ocean acidification, the blue economy and marine renewable energy, sustainable coastal and marine tourism, and the impacts of plastics on oceans were also considered

Introduction to the Preparatory Meeting

The Preparatory Meeting considered the themes for seven partnership dialogues that will convene during the Ocean Conference, based on proposals contained in a background note prepared by the UN Secretary-General. At the end of the meeting, the co-facilitators indicated their intention to convey to UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson that participants had expressed broad support for most of the themes, but suggested changing the theme that refers to international law to more closely reflect Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 14.c.

The meeting also included a lengthy exchange of views on elements for the “Call for Action” that will result from the June Conference. Before closing the meeting, the co-facilitators highlighted the importance of listening to each other at this early stage, and noted commonality among the highlighted elements, including the importance of a concise, action-oriented declaration that is easy to understand by the public and captures a common vision for action on SDG 14. The co-facilitators plan to produce a zero draft of the “Call for Action” by early March, and to convene consultations beginning on March 7,  2017.

The UN Secretary-General prepared a background note ahead of the preparatory meeting, including a proposal of themes for the
partnership dialogues. The note proposes seven themes for partnership dialogues for the conference, as follows:

Theme 1: Addressing marine pollution. This theme would address target 14.1.
Theme 2: Managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems. This theme would address targets 14.2 and 14.5.
Theme 3: Minimizing and addressing ocean acidification. This theme would address target 14.3.
Theme 4: Making fisheries sustainable. This theme would address targets 14.4 and 14.6.
Theme 5: Increasing economic benefits to SIDS and LDCs and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets. This theme would address targets 14.7 and 14.b.
Theme 6: Increasing scientific knowledge, and developing research capacity and transfer of marine technology. This theme would address target 14.a.
Theme 7: Implementing international law, as reflected in UNCLOS. This theme would address target 14.c. 

On February 15, 2017, the Preparatory Meeting for the Ocean Conference: Our Oceans, Our Future: Partnering for the Implementation of SDG 14 was opened by Co-Facilitator Àlvaro Mendonça e Moura, Permanent Representative of Portugal. Co-Facilitator Burhan Gafoor, Permanent Representative of Singapore, highlighted the process’s strong foundation within the 2030 Agenda, stating a plan for successful implementation of SDG 14 should be concrete, action-oriented and could be built upon the Paris Agreement on climate
change. President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson noting the many registered observers and side events taking place during the meeting, and that countries, agencies and organizations everywhere were discussing the aims of SDG 14. Reporting that we dump one “garbage truck’s worth” of plastic into the ocean every minute, Mr Thomson highlighted the compilation of voluntary commitments that will result from the conference, which he said will represent humanity’s best efforts to implement SDG 14.

European Union and national contributions to the Preparatory Meeting  for the themes and proposed action plan  are highlighted below, with more complete notes provided below under Further Information. Following that there is a discussion of the outcome of the preparatory meeting, next steps, and subsequent oceans events in March and June 2017.
Discussion of  Conference Themes
Supporting the proposed themes, the European Union (EU) said cross-cutting themes need to be considered, including regional dimensions of implementing SDG 14, linkages with other SDG targets, UNCLOS, the role of oceans within climate change, and issues of governance and effectiveness. He suggested conducting a gap assessment in the lead-up to the dialogues, on the effectiveness of existing partnerships.

Supporting the proposed themes, Monaco noted that Theme 3 (“Minimizing and addressing ocean acidification. This theme would address target14.3.”) addresses ocean acidification, which she said is a result of climate change, and noted that neither SDG 14 nor the dialogue themes directly reference climate change.

The Netherlands stressed the need for the dialogues to address sustainable tourism and community outreach, particularly with coastal
communities. He said aquaculture should be included in either Theme 4 (“Making fisheries sustainable. This theme would address targets 14.4 and 14.6.”) or Theme 5 (SIDS, LDCs, small-scale artisanal fishers).

France stated that the thematic dialogues do not exhaust certain cross-cutting elements, including climate change and blue economy
activities, particularly aquaculture and sustainable tourism.

Noting that UNCLOS is the bedrock for implementing SDG 14, Morocco noted that a domestic law passed in June 2016 prohibits the
manufacturing of plastics, citing it as an example of implementing SDG 14.

Germany called for discussion on a number of cross-cutting issues, including: governance structures; the follow-up and review of
commitments; capacity building and financing. He asked whether these issues will be addressed by each of the dialogues, or if a dedicated dialogue is needed on cross-cutting issues.

Norway called for addressing cross-cutting issues such as capacity building and technology transfer, and noted that UNCLOS provides the legal framework for all ocean-related activities, including IUU fishing.

Italy said ocean-related problems are never only local or single-sector. He called for using the agreed language in the 2030 Agenda in the conference process, in support of those states that have already engaged in SDG 14 implementation activities.

Discussion of Call for Action

Noting that ocean problems are interrelated and must be considered as whole, the EU said the Call for Action should: be short, concise, with concrete actions; relate to SDG 14 and other relevant targets, while recognizing the integrity and indivisibility of the 2030 Agenda; and make use of integrative management and decision-making tools. He stressed that the declaration should urge Member States to honor commitments under the 2030 Agenda to swiftly conclude a WTO agreement on the prohibition of harmful fisheries subsidies and recognize the importance of a “well-managed” blue economy. He further supported the development of a new instrument under UNCLOS for sustainable use of the high seas outside national jurisdiction.

France said the Call for Action should mark the transition to a blue economy, which should be a maritime economy that takes into
consideration sustainable development, and address marine debris and plastic waste, among other issues.

Germany stressed the need to focus on strategic and procedural structures to address the who and how, rather than the what of
effective implementation. He said the Call for Action should address the governance of SDG 14, and proposed: establishing new partnerships for regional ocean governance; preparing a streamlined global assessment (thematic review) on oceans; and developing a systematic approach to follow up on commitments.

The Netherlands said all actions in the Call for Action should fall within UNCLOS, and reiterated the Convention’s universal character,
describing it as the strategic basis for all cooperation in the marine sector,  highlighteding: initiatives to address land-based sources of
marine pollution, especially plastics; reducing emissions from shipping; the value of regional cooperation among SIDS; and the role of regional efforts to manage marine and coastal ecosystems, such as the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR). He also: supported the call to account for gender; expressed support for actions that involve local coastal communities; called for building on existing partnerships, scaling up what is working, and boosting innovative ways to secure financing.

Norway said the Call for Action should reiterate the equal importance of all 17 SDGs, while noting the life-or-death stakes of ocean health. Plastics and micro-plastics will be a priority for Norway at the conference, he said. He added that the declaration must reflect that the multi-stakeholder approach is the conference’s real added value; and called for a focus on implementing existing legal frameworks, especially UNCLOS, and cautioned against re-litigating issues from other fora.

Iceland said the Call for Action should not renegotiate prior UN agreements or resolutions, as well as of the UN’s oceans-related departments, agencies and processes. He stressed the importance of capacity building, which includes the effective implementation of UNCLOS, and for which partnerships are needed.

Morocco supported UNCLOS as the universal legal framework, noted the indivisibility of all SDGs, and emphasized the need for scientific research, technology transfer, and capacity building in developing countries. He highlighted combating pollution as a priority.

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission said the Baltic Sea Action Plan is aimed at achieving SDG 14, and contracting parties will meet in a High-Level Session on 28 February 2017 to discuss regional activities to implement the SDGs. Noting the importance of regional cooperation, OSPAR said the “Call for Action” should address joint activities.

The World Wildlife Fund, also for Conservation International, the Waitt Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society, said the Call for Action must include a timeline for implementing SDG 14 by 2030 and reporting on commitments and partnerships to ensure accountability. She called for incentivizing the private sector to engage in delivery of
SDG 14. She said the Call for Action should be based on focal areas, including: build more resilient oceans to support human health and wellbeing, including through achieving Aichi Target 11; build a climate-resilient, carbon neutral economy; adopt a sustainable,
inclusive blue economy approach; implement integrated ocean planning and management; and secure additional financing.

Greece said the Call for Action should specifically reference climate change. He highlighted that, for some countries, the quality of the
marine environment is directly linked to economies and livelihoods.

Italy said MPAs are essential to achieving both the SDG 14 and Aichi Targets. On climate, he called for creating partnerships with research centers and linkages with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Belgium stressed the need to address land-based sources of marine pollution.

Iceland said the added value of the conference will be to bring together relevant stakeholders and foster partnerships that address ocean
challenges. He called for using scarce resources to invest in action, not special follow-up conferences, instead encouraging the use of
existing processes to follow up on commitments. He also called to: focus on implementing the Paris Agreement to combat ocean warming and acidification; avoid renegotiating the goals, targets or indicators of the SDGs; base the process on the modalities resolution, and avoid engaging in complex, delicate legal issues discussed elsewhere.

Monaco said Mars and the moon are better mapped than the oceans, and stressed the need for improved scientific research to combat climate change and ocean acidification, share marine research and data, and improve hydrology and marine mapping. She strongly supported the UNESCO-IOC initiative to create a decade of oceanography for sustainable development.

Germany described the conference as a “kick-off” to the implementation process, and said a clear follow-up and review process is required. He noted the crucial role of marine regions in the implementation process.

Outcome of Preparatory Meeting and Next Steps

At the end of the Preparatory Meeting, the facilitiators highlighted that the 2030 Agenda is seen as the overarching framework for the process, and  the purpose of the conference being to support implementation of SDG 14. Almost everyone had supported a Call for Action that is concise and action-oriented, as well as easy to understand by the public. Among other common elements cited were: balance between the three dimensions of sustainable development, the indivisible nature of the 17 SDGs; urgency due to the state of the oceans, as well as the shorter deadlines for some SDG 14 targets; the fundamental character of UNCLOS; and the need
to take account of countries in special situations. Meeting participants had offered very concrete ideas on challenges and
opportunities in the areas of marine pollution, ocean acidification, sustainable fisheries, MPAs, and blue economy. Monitoring, follow up and review were mentioned repeatedly, along with capacity building, marine technology transfer and finance, including through innovative financing mechanisms, as well as scientific knowledge, data collection, and data sharing.

The facilitators will prepare a zero draft of the Call for Action, using the preparatory meeting’s discussions as their base material. Consultations on the zero draft have been scheduled for 7, 9, 20 and 21 March 2017, and that the text should be circulated before the first consultation. Appreciating the determination and resolve to make the Ocean Conference a success anchored on action, voluntary commitments and partnerships, Ocean Conference Secretary-General Wu said the meeting had offered a timely platform to receive the views and perspectives of all stakeholders, and that the conference will be a game changer in reversing the decline of the health of oceans and seas, and in advancing the implementation of SDG 14.
This Preparatory Meeting for the UN Ocean Conference was  a stocktaking meeting,  allowing interested parties to exchange their views and listen to each other. In this way, the discussion alerted participants to each other’s positions, and set out some of the key points of divergence that will have to be worked out when consultations begin on the zero draft of the political declaration in early March 2017.

Based on the discussions heard in the two-day gathering, such points of divergence could include: whether to raise ambition or avoid renegotiating the targets of SDG 14; whether to hold recurring conferences on SDG 14 implementation, or rely on existing mechanisms for governance of ocean issues and the follow-up and review of commitments; how to characterize UNCLOS in relation to the implementation of SDG 14; and approaches to the means of implementation.

The issue to be resolved in the preparatory process going forward will be if the UN system’s various bodies that currently address ocean issues will move toward a more unified and harmonized system of global governance and whether this will include plans for a subsequent Ocean Conference to advance implementation of SDG 14. A majority of participants strongly supported UNCLOS as “the
legal framework upon which SDG 14 implementation is based, explaining that it provides the structure to address all ocean-related activities dealing with marine protection and conservation as defined in the SDG 14 targets. Morocco called UNCLOS the bedrock for implementing SDG 14,A general consensus had emerged on introducing changes to Theme 7, to more closely reflect what was agreed
in SDG target 14.c: enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as
reflected in UNCLOS.

Upcoming Events

INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS IN PREPARATION FOR THE OCEAN CONFERENCE: The co-facilitators of the preparatory process for the Ocean Conference will hold informal consultations on the zero draft of the “Call for Action.”, Dates: 7, 9, 20 and 21 March 2017 at  UN Headquarters, New York.

HIGH-LEVEL UN CONFERENCE TO SUPPORT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SDG 14: This high-level UN Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Fiji and Sweden, will coincide with the World Oceans Day, and seeks to support
the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development).  Dates: 5-9 June 2017 at UN Headquarters, New York.


Further Information:

UN Oceans Conference website

List of approved non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, the private sector and philanthropic organizations, including EUCC, at webpage

UN Oceans Conference Documentation found at two documents highlighted below:

IISD Reporting on the Preparatory Meeting for the Oceans Conference at this weblink:

Littoral 2016: report


Organisé par EUCC-France, en collaboration avec le Centre de la Mer de Biarritz et l’Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, Littoral 2016 “Littoraux en devenir. Anticipation et adaptation aux changements climatiques” a réuni 250 personnes venues de France et de 15 autres pays européens.

Vous trouverez ci-joint un compte-rendu-de-littoral-2016 (version française et version anglaise) du colloque, agrémenté de photos issues de notre équipe organisatrice et de participants qui nous ont autorisés à les utiliser.

Nous vous remercions encore une fois pour votre participation et espérons vous revoir lors de nos prochains événements.

Les actes du colloque sont en préparation et les présentations sous forme de powerpoint seront disponibles sur le site, après autorisation de leurs auteurs.


Littoral 2016 “The changing littoral. Anticipation and adaptation to climate change” has been organized by EUCC-France in close co-operation with the “Centre de la mer” of Biarritz and the University of “Pau et des Pays de l’Adour”. Littoral 2016 in Biarritz brought together 250 persons. Among them one hundred were coming from 15 different countries.

You will find attached a report-of-littoral-2016 of the symposium including some pictures taken by our organizing commitee and kind participants.


Thank you again for your participation. We hope to see you soon during our next events.

The proceedings are in progress and the power point presentations will be available online ( with authors’ authorization.

Morocco’s Blue Belt Initiative to boost Coastal Resilience to Climate Change launched at COP 22

We are Mediterranean

By Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Member, Climate and Global Change, EUCC
On the occasion of this COP, Morocco will confirm its support for the initiatives relating to the oceans which have been already launched and will launch a new initiative called ‘the Blue Belt’, aimed at increasing the resilience of coastal populations as well as promoting sustainable fishing activities, HRH Princess Lalla Hasnaa, Ambassador of the Coast, said in a speech during the opening ceremony, which was attended by several personalities sar-la-princesse-lalla-hasnaa-ouverture-journc3a9e-de28099action-des-occ3a9ans_g-ecologyincluding HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.

“On the occasion of the COP22, the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection will join the Blue Belt,” HRH Princess Lalla Hasnaa announced. “Building on its experience in the sustainable development of three Moroccan wetlands located on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic coasts, the Foundation will take part in the creation of marine protected areas,” HRH the Princess added.

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IISD Video on Oceans Action Day at COP 22 in Marrakech on November 12, 2016

By Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Member, Climate and Global Change, EUCC 

As part of its reporting on Oceans Action Day, IISD Reporting Services and the Earth News Bulletin produced a short video describing the intent behind Oceans Action Day, and introducing some of the key actors, including Biliana Cincin-Sain and the Global Oceans Forum, which EUCC has been collaborating with since its inception in 2002.
More detailed analysis and a meeting report from Oceans Action Day, and a discussion of the outcomes of COP 22 for oceans and coasts will be available subsequently.

EU Speech at Oceans Action Day at COP22 on November 12, 2016: “Oceans and Climate: Solutions to the Core Issues” in Marrakech, Morocco

Your Royal Highness, Your Serene Highness, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, the entry into force of the Paris Agreement is a historic moment. It is also our chance to give the ocean its rightful place in the fight against climate change. Oceans are the unsung heroes of our planet’s climate. But now they are under severe pressure. Sea levels are rising. Acidity is threatening corals and shellfish. Unsustainable use of our oceans is eroding the growth base of our blue economy.
We have all endorsed the Paris Agreement. And we have all signed up to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We have promised to combat climate change, and to use our oceans sustainably. Now it is time to turn those pledges into action. That is why two days ago I launched a new initiative on international ocean governance. It is a list of 50 actions to manage our global oceans better. A manual to make our oceans safer, more secure, cleaner and more sustainably managed.I would like to highlight three main areas where we want to make a difference.
The first is ensuring a strong, comprehensive set of rules – and making sure that everybody plays by them. This means implementing and enforcing the global instruments we already have. It means improving coordination between various ocean bodies. And it means closing legal gaps:
  • For instance by developing, under UNCLOS, a legally binding instrument to protect marine life in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
  • Or adopting international rules to prevent unregulated fisheries in the Arctic, which climate change is making more accessible.
Second, we must protect the role of marine and coastal ecosystems in reducing the impacts of climate change.
  • Therefore, the European Commission will promote the inclusion of ocean‑related action in the national follow-up to the commitments under the Paris Agreement.
  • By 2020, we will also launch international public‑private partnerships aimed at restoring, adapting or developing ‘green blue infrastructure’.
Third, we need more scientific knowledge. We need to better understand how climate change affects the oceans. Only then can we make the right decisions. So I welcome the IPCC’s decision to produce, by 2018, a report on oceans and the cryosphere and the effects of climate change.  Building on this report, the European Commission will announce further international action to deal with the fall-out from ocean warming, sea-level rise and acidification.
Ladies and gentlemen, the European Union is committed to managing our oceans more responsibly. We are not alone in this. The “Strategic Action Roadmap on Oceans and Climate”, prepared ahead of today’s meeting, shares many of our views. I am pleased to see we are pushing in the same direction. We must do all we can to sustain that push. That is why I am happy to announce that the European Union is hosting the fourth Our Ocean conference in Malta on 5-6 of October 2017. I hope to see many of you there and to hear your commitments on how to conserve and sustainably use our ocean.
These commitments will be important contributions to our joint efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.  
Thank you.

Beach wrack symposium at the German Baltic Sea

Washed up beach wrack poses a financial and organizational challenge to the coastal communities at the German Baltic Sea coast.

The German Baltic Sea coast along Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is highly diversified, reaching from steep cliffs to white beaches or forests covering the shore. The region is an attractive destination and tourism is the driving economic factor especially in coastal resorts. The tourist numbers have almost doubled within the last 10 years. But not only the tourist numbers are increasing, their expectations are rising as well, esp. in regard to beach quality. This refers to marine litter, but also to beach wrack, which mainly consists of seaweed and algae. Therefore, the coastal municipalities remove the beach wrack from their beaches in the high season, which adds high costs to the municipality’s bill.

Other issues with beach wrack in touristic coastal municipalities include uncertainties concerning the legal framework for beach wrack removal and possibilities for further utilization of the natural resource. These problems could be exacerbated in the course of climate change and with increasing tourist numbers. Thus, EUCC – The Coastal Union Germany wants to support the coastal municipalities and other stakeholders involved by tackling the issue. The first step was a symposium on the topic of beach wrack including all relevant stakeholders as part of the lighthouse project “KliWaKom” (Communication of climate change in coastal communities).

The beach wrack symposium took place on the 17th of October 2016. Around 50 stakeholders and interested parties gathered in the coastal municipality of Boltenhagen to discuss the current status and potential solutions for the beach wrack problem in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. The beach wrack symposium focused specifically on the extraction, disposal and potential future utilization of the natural resource, as well as the legal background.

In general, the stakeholders would like to see more awareness-raising measures for tourists, better cooperation and coordination between municipalities and involved authorities, a better overview of responsibilities and an optimized value-added chain.

For more information on the project visit