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Abyssal plain The more or less flat region of the deep ocean floor below 4000 m, excluding ocean trenches, formed by deposition of pelagic sediments and turbidity currents that obscure the pre-existing topography
Adaptation (climate change) Actions addressing the consequences of climate change through enhancing the resilience of natural and human systems, i.e. their capacity to cope with those consequences
Adaptive management The integration of programme design, management and monitoring to systematically test assumptions in order to adapt and learn
Advection The transfer of heat or matter by horizontal movement of air or water
Anthropogenic Caused or produced by human activities
Anti-foulant A coating, paint, surface treatment, surface or device that is used on a ship to control or prevent attachment of unwanted organisms
Artificial reef A submerged structure placed on the seabed deliberately to mimic some characteristics of a natural reef
Background concentrations of naturally occurring substances Concentrations of certain naturally occurring hazardous substances that would be expected in the North-East Atlantic if certain industrial developments had not happened
Ballast water Water, with its suspended matter, taken on board a ship to control trim, list, draught, stability or stresses of the ship
Benthos Organisms attached to, living on, or in the seabed
Best available techniques The latest stage of development (state of the art) of processes, facilities or methods of operation which indicate the practical suitability of a particular measure for limiting discharges, emissions and waste
Best environmental practice The application of the most appropriate combination of environmental control measures and strategies
Bioaccumulation The accumulation of a substance within the tissues of an organism, which can lead to biomagnification through the food web
Bioavailability The extent to which a substance can be absorbed into the tissues of organisms. Possibly the most important factor determining the extent to which a contaminant will enter the food chain and accumulate in biological tissues
Biological diversity Variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems
Biomass The total mass of organisms in a given place at a given time
Bloom An abundant growth of phytoplankton or certain macroalgae, typically triggered by sudden favourable environmental conditions (e.g. excess nutrients, light availability, reduced grazing pressure)
By-catch That part of the catch that is not the main target of the fishery, i.e. the retained catch of non-targeted species together with the portion of the catch returned to the sea as a result of economic, legal, or personal considerations
Climate The long-term average conditions of the atmosphere and/or ocean
Common Procedure The OSPAR ‘Common Procedure for the Identification of the Eutrophication Status of the OSPAR Maritime Area’ provides the framework for a comprehensive, harmonised characterisation of marine areas by OSPAR countries in terms of ‘problem areas’, ‘potential problem areas’ and ‘non-problem areas’ with regard to eutrophication
Congeners Related or similar substances forming a group of substances
Continental shelf The shallowest part of the continental margin between the shoreline and the continental slope; not usually deeper than 200 m
Continental slope The steeply sloping seabed from the outer edge of the continental shelf to the continental rise
Contracting Parties The Contracting Parties to the OSPAR Convention are the OSPAR countries Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and the European Community
Coordinated Environmental Monitoring Programme (CEMP) That part of the monitoring under the OSPAR Joint Assessment and Monitoring Programme where the national contributions overlap and are coordinated by the use of commonly agreed monitoring guidelines, quality assurance procedures and assessment tools
Cuttings Solid material removed from drilled rock together with any solids and liquids derived from any adherent drilling fluids
Demersal fish Fish that feed on or near the bottom of the sea
Diatoms Common type of unicellular phytoplankton with a silicate cell wall. The ratio of diatoms to flagellates in phytoplankton communities is used as an indicator of eutrophication
Diffuse sources Sources of pollution that are not discrete and extend over a wide geographical area
Discards That part of the catch taken on board a fishing vessel that is not landed, consumed on board or used as bait in subsequent fishing operations, but put back into the sea
Discharge Intentional transfer of substances into water
Displacement water Seawater contained in oil storage tanks which is displaced by incoming or outgoing crude oil, due to the densities of oil and water
Dose rate The quantity of radiation absorbed per unit time
Drilling fluids The fluid with added chemicals used when drilling boreholes to lubricate and cool the drilling bit
Dumping The deliberate disposal in the maritime area of wastes or other matter from vessels or aircraft, from offshore installations, and any deliberate disposal in the maritime area of vessels or aircraft, offshore installations and offshore pipelines
Ecological Quality Objective (EcoQO) Objectives set by OSPAR and the North Sea Conferences for the desired state of individual aspects of the structure and function of the marine ecosystem
Ecosystem A community of organisms and their physical environment interacting as an ecological unit
Ecosystem approach The comprehensive integrated management of human activities based on the best available scientific knowledge about the ecosystem and its dynamics, in order to identify and take action on influences which are critical to the health of the marine ecosystems, thereby achieving sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services and maintenance of ecosystem integrity
Emission An intentional release into air
Endemic Native, and restricted, to a particular locality or specialised habitat
Endocrine disrupter A substance from an external source that interferes with an organism’s endocrine system, including hormone regulation and hormone equilibria, and produces adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) Procedure to identify the potential impacts of a project or activity on the environment and to develop mitigation measures to reduce these to acceptable levels.
Eutrophication The enrichment of water by nutrients causing an accelerated growth of algae and higher forms of plant life to produce an undesirable disturbance to the balance of organisms present in the water and to the quality of the water concerned, and therefore refers to the undesirable effects resulting from anthropogenic enrichment by nutrients
EU Bathing Water Directive Directive 2006/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the management of bathing water quality and repealing Directive 76/160/EEC
EU Biocides Directive Directive 98/8/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of biocidal products on the market
EU Birds Directive Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds
EU Blue Book on an Integrated Maritime Policy Commission communication on an integrated maritime policy for the European Union (COM(2007) 575 final)
EU Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive Council Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment
EU Habitats Directive Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora
EU IPPC Directive Directive 2008/1/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning integrated pollution prevention and control, codifying Directive 96/61/EEC
EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy
EU Marketing and Use Directive Council Directive 76/769/EEC on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations (repealed by Annex XVII REACH Regulation)
EU National Emissions Ceiling Directive Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants
EU NATURA 2000 network EU wide network of nature protection areas established under the EU Habitats Directive. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. It is comprised of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) designated by Member States under the Habitats Directive, and also incorporates Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which they designate under the EU Birds Directive
EU Nitrates Directive Council Directive 91/676/EEC concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources
EU Pesticides Directive Council Directive 91/414/EC concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market
EU Port Waste Reception Facilities Directive Directive 2000/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues
EU REACH Regulation Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals
EU Recommendation on Integrated Coastal Zone Management Recommendation 2002/413/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe
EU Regulation 812/2004 Council Regulation (EC) No 812/2004 laying down measures concerning incidental catches of cetaceans in fisheries and amending Regulation (EC) No 88/98
EU Shellfish Water Directive Council Directive 79/923/EEC on the quality required of shellfish waters
EU Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment
EU Thematic Air Strategy Commission communication on a thematic strategy on air pollution (COM(2005) 446 final)
EU Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive Council Directive 91/271/EEC concerning urban waste water treatment
EU Water Framework Directive Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy
EU WFD Daughter Directive on environmental quality standards Directive 2008/105/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on environmental quality standards in the field of water policy
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) An area in which a coastal state has sovereign rights over all the economic resources of the sea, seabed and subsoil (see Articles 56 – 58, Part V, UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982)
Fishing effort The amount of fishing taking place, quantified as the effective utilization of the existing fishing capacity (fleet power) in a management period. It is usually expressed as kilowatt-days
Fishing mortality A measure of the proportion of a fish stock taken each year by fishing. A limit reference point (Flim) and a precautionary reference point (Fpa) guide management of fisheries targeting the stock
Flagellates Common type of unicellular phytoplankton with a whip-like appendage (flagellum) which enables them to swim. The ratio of diatoms to flagellates in phytoplankton communities is used as an indicator of eutrophication
Food web The network of interconnected food chains along which organic matter flows within an ecosystem or community
Greenhouse gases Gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide which have the potential to trap heat radiation from the Earth’s surface and cause warming in the lower atmosphere
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Market value of all final goods and services made within the borders of a country in a year
Harmful algal blooms Blooms of phytoplankton that result in harmful effects such as the production of toxins that can affect human health, oxygen depletion and kills of fish and invertebrates and harm to fish and invertebrates, for example, by damaging or clogging gills
Harmonised mandatory control system This comprises OSPAR Decision 2000/2 on a Harmonised Mandatory Control System for the Use and Reduction of the Discharge of Offshore Chemicals (as amended), OSPAR Recommendation 2000/4 on a Harmonised Pre-screening Scheme for Offshore Chemicals (as amended), and OSPAR Recommendation 2000/5 on a Harmonised Offshore Chemical Notification Format (HOCNF) (as amended)
Hazardous substances Substances or groups of substances which are either (i) toxic, persistent and liable to bioaccumulate; or (ii) assessed by OSPAR as giving rise to an equivalent level of concern
High-grading Retaining on board for ulterior landing only those fish that can fetch good prices at the market, while discarding the less-valued fish
Imposex A condition in which the gender of an organism has become indeterminate as a result of hormonal imbalances or disruption, as in the case of the effect of tributyltin on marine gastropods
Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) A dynamic, multidisciplinary and iterative process to promote sustainable management of coastal zones through a variety of tools to balance environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational objectives
London Convention The 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and other Matter. The Convention is administered by the International Maritime Organisation
Losses Unintentional transfers of substances, other than as discharges, emissions or the result of accidents, directly or indirectly to the marine environment, which have, for example (i) leached, eroded or become detached from a manufactured product, waste or structure; (ii) leached or run off from land on which it has been spread or deposited; (iii) leaked or escaped from a container in which it has been kept
Macrophytes Large, often rooted aquatic plants
Marine protected area (MPA) An area within the maritime area for which protective, conservation, restorative or precautionary measures, consistent with international law have been instituted for the purpose of protecting and conserving species, habitat, ecosystems or ecological processes of the marine environment
Marine spatial planning A public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that are usually specified through a political process (synonym: maritime spatial planning)
Maritime area (synonym: OSPAR area) The waters covered by the OSPAR Convention
MARPOL The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto
Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) The largest yield (or catch) that can be taken from a fish stock over an indefinite period. Management policies should ideally aim at maintaining fish stocks, for a long term, at levels capable to produce MSY, although other environmental, economic and social objectives may also play an important factor
Mitigation (climate change) Actions addressing anthropogenic causes of climate change and ocean acidification
Non-problem area (eutrophication) Those areas for which there are no grounds for concern that anthropogenic enrichment by nutrients has disturbed or may in the future disturb the marine ecosystem
Nordic Seas Collective term for the Norwegian, Iceland and Greenland Seas
NOX (nitrogen oxides) For the purposes of OSPAR reporting on emissions from offshore installations, NOX is the sum of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
Nuisance species Species that are not in themselves dangerous or toxic but can negatively disrupt ecosystems and environments
Nutrients Dissolved phosphorus, nitrogen and silicon compounds
Ocean acidification Decrease in the pH of the ocean. Causative factors include the oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
Organic-phase drilling fluid An emulsion of water and other additives in which the continuous phase is a water-immiscible organic fluid of animal, vegetable or mineral origin
Organohalogens Substances in which an organic molecule is combined with one or more of the halogen group of elements (i.e. fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine)
OSPAR area (synonym: maritime area) The waters covered by the OSPAR Convention
Oxidised nitrogen For the purpose of CAMP monitoring, nitrate (NO3) in precipitation and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitric acid (HNO3) and nitrogen monoxide (NO) in air/aerosol
Pelagic fish Fish that spend most of their life swimming in the water column with little contact with, or dependency on, the bottom
Persistent substances Substances that persist in the environment. The principal criterion is that the substance has a half-life in the freshwater or marine environment of 50 days or more
Phytoplankton The collective term for the photosynthetic members of plankton
PLONOR substance OSPAR List of Substances / Preparations Used and Discharged Offshore which are Considered to Pose Little or No Risk to the Environment
Point source Identifiable and localised point of emissions to air and discharges to water
Pollution The introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the maritime area which results, or is likely to result, in hazards to human health, harm to living resources and marine ecosystems, damage to amenities or interference with other legitimate uses of the sea
Potential problem area (eutrophication) Those areas for which there are reasonable grounds for concern that the anthropogenic contribution of nutrients may be causing or may lead in time to an undesirable disturbance to the marine ecosystem due to elevated levels, trends and/or fluxes in such nutrients
Precautionary approach Management approach where preventive measures are to be taken when there are reasonable grounds for concern that substances or energy introduced, directly or indirectly, into the marine environment may bring about hazards to human health, harm living resources and marine ecosystems, damage amenities or interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea, even when there is no conclusive evidence of a causal relationship between the inputs and the effects
Problem area (eutrophication) Those areas for which there is evidence of an undesirable disturbance to the marine ecosystem due to anthropogenic enrichment by nutrients
Produced water The water that comes up from oil and gas wells along with the oil and gas. Some of it is water that has been in the hydrocarbon reservoir for geological time along with the oil or gas (‘formation water’). Some of it is water produced by condensation during the production process (‘condensation water’)
Priority chemical For the purpose of the QSR, substance on the OSPAR List of Chemicals for Priority Action
Radionuclide Atoms that disintegrate by emission of electromagnetic radiation, i.e. emit alpha, beta or gamma radiation (α-emitting particles, β-emitting particles, γ-rays)
Reduced nitrogen For the porpose of CAMP monitoring, reduced nitrogen includes ammonium (NH4) in precipitation and the sum of ammonia (NH3) and ammonium in air/aerosol. For the purpose of EMEP atmospheric emission/deposition, reduced nitrogen refers to ammonia (NH3)
Safe biological limits Limits (reference points) for fishing mortality rates (Fpa) and spawning stock biomass (Bpa), beyond which the fishery is unsustainable
Seamount An elevated area of limited extent rising 1000 m or more from the surrounding ocean floor, usually conical in shape
Shelf break The outer margin of the continental shelf marked by a pronounced increase in the slope of the seabed; usually occurring at around 200 m in depth along European margins
Spawning stock biomass (SSB) The total weight of fish in the stock that are old enough to spawn. It is one of the most important metrics of the size and health of commercial fish stocks. A limit reference point (Blim) and a precautionary reference point (Bpa) guide management of fisheries targeting the stock
Stratification The separation of seawater into layers
Total allowable catch (TAC) The maximum quantity of fish that is allowed to be caught and subsequently landed from a stock during a management period (usually one year)
Toxic The property of a substance that will cause damage to a living organism or their progeny
Toxin A poisonous substance produced by living organisms and biological processes, usually proteinaceous
Trophic Pertaining to nutrition
Turbidity The degree to which the water loses its transparency due to the presence of suspended particulates
Upwelling This occurs near coasts where winds persistently drive surface water seaward, causing an upward movement of cold, nutrient-rich water from ocean depths, and in the open ocean where surface currents are divergent
Vitellogenin A protein in blood plasma used as a biomarker for exposure to endocrine disrupters that promote the development of female sex characteristics
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) For the purposes of OSPAR reporting on emissions from offshore installations, volatile organic compounds comprise all hydrocarbons, other than methane released to the atmosphere
Water column The vertical column of water extending from the sea surface to the seabed
Water mass A body of water within an ocean characterised by its physicochemical properties of temperature, salinity, depth and movement
Zoobenthos Animals that live on or in the seabed
Zooplankton The animal component of the plankton; animals suspended or drifting in the water column including larvae of many fish and benthic invertebrates