Seabed Dying In The Baltic Sea
- Seabed Dying In The Baltic Sea
Satellite image of the Baltic Sea.
by Staff Writers
Helsinki (AFP) Aug 17, 2006
An increasing lack of oxygen at the bottom of the Baltic Sea is
causing animal and plant life to die, with parts of the Gulf of
Finland seabed resembling a desert, a European study published on
"The bottom fauna monitoring gave the worst results so far. An
abundant and diversified bottom fauna was now found only at four
observation sites of 47" in the Gulf of Finland, the Finnish
Institute of Marine Research and the Finnish Environment Institute
Their study is the result of a project carried out by scientists
from six EU countries (Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and
Latvia) in the north of the Baltic Sea aboard two oceanographic
"No less than 37 observation sites were entirely without bottom
animals. The bottom fauna is a good indicator of the long-term
status of the bottom and especially the changes in the oxygen
regime," they said.
Lack of oxygen is a growing problem in the Baltic Sea.
"At all observation stations, in the Gulf of Finland as well as in
the northern Baltic proper, there was very little or no oxygen in
the bottom-near water at depths below 50-60 metres," the study said.
Meanwhile, toxic gases such as hydrogen sulphide, nitrogen and
phosphorus were found almost everywhere.
"The overall situation is not the most serious (ever recorded, but)
it's one of the most serious cases. But as far as oxygen-depletion
is concerned, we are at the same level as in the 1990s or even
worse," one of the expedition leaders, Harri Kankaanpaeae of the
Finnish Institute of Marine Research, told AFP.
The phenomenon, which is caused by large amounts of pollutants
dumped in the sea by countries bordering the Baltic, has been
aggravated by natural factors, he said.
"Oxygen-depleted waters came from the west, i.e. the center of
Baltic Sea, towards the Gulf of Finland, whereas constant winds ...
pushed oxygen-saturated waters from east to west," he said.
Environmentalists are particularly concerned about pollution in the
Baltic Sea because of the slow rate of natural cleansing. The
shallow inland sea has only a narrow outlet across the Straits of
Oeresund between Sweden and Denmark.
Source: Agence France-Presse
Finnish Institute of Marine Research
Finnish Environment Institute