Oil and chemical spills
Oil and chemical spills from the shipping and oil and gas
industry can release toxic pollutants into the environment, which
can smother marine life and pose a particular threat to seabirds.
We provide environmental advice in relation to oil spills – for
contact details follow this link.
Many marine organisms, including most mammals. use sound for a
range of purposes, such as communication, searching for prey and
for navigation. In the sea there are natural sources of sound like
the calls of marine mammals, but there is also an increasing level
of man-made noise from sources such as shipping, seismic surveys
and windfarm installation.
Sound can affect marine organisms in a number of ways depending
its intensity and its frequency. Exposure to man-made sounds can
cause a range of adverse effects including behavioral changes and
stranding and death.
All whales, dolphins and porposes are European Protected Species
and we provide advice for regulators and industry on activities
that could cause an offence under the Habitat Regulations as well
as producing best practice guidelines to minimise the risk of harm
form seismic surveys, explosive use, and pile driving
The burning of fossil fuels has caused carbon dioxide (CO2)
concentrations in the atmosphere to increase and resulted in global
warming. The oceans act as a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide
and around a third of CO2 produced through the burning of fossil
fuels enters the oceans. Once there CO2 reduces the water’s natural
alkaline pH. The shift towards more acidic conditions makes it
harder for corals and many other marine organisms to grow and
Marine non-native species
The transport of ballast water taken up and released by ships in
ports is a key source of marine non-native species. Once a
non-native species arrives it can disrupt the balance of an
ecosystem and cause environmental and socio-economic impacts.
Marine litter is a serious problem affecting all oceans with
plastics being one of the main components of the pollution.
Material from everyday household items such as plastic bags and
packaging get into the marine environment where they remain as they
do not biodegrade.
The fishing industry is the source of a substantial amount of
marine litter in the form of discarded fishing nets. Old nets along
with other forms of plastic can entangle marine animals and, if
eaten, can block their digestive systems.
Toxic additives used in plastics manufacture can leach out when
exposed to water. Also when plastic starts to break down into small
fragments the pieces can be eaten by animals and enter then the
JNCC’s marine pollution work focuses on:
- Providing advice to Government/industry and its agencies on the
impacts of oil and chemical spills in the marine environment.
- Providing advice to Government and industry on measures to
avoid noise pollution impacts.
- Work on the marine aspects of the Water Framework
- Work on the Marine Strategy Framework Directive indicators for
good ecology status.
- Addressing the issue of marine non-native species.