Assessing the suitability of OSPAR EcoQOs for eutrophication vs ICES criteria for England and Wales

SJ Painting, MJ Devlin, SI Rogers, DK Mills, ER Parker, HL Rees

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This paper provides a preliminary evaluation of the suitability of OSPAR Ecological Quality objectives for eutrophication for coastal and offshore waters of England and Wales on the basis of ICES criteria. In principle, EcoQOs are easy to understand, but responses to nutrient enrichment are complex. Few studies provide unequivocal evidence of links between inputs and response. Monitoring is generally feasible and in place, but needs to be improved. The best EcoQO is winter nutrient concentrations. Chlorophyll concentrations are a good indicator in environments susceptible to nutrient enrichment. The EcoQO for zoobenthos/fish kills potentially meets all criteria for a good indicator; EcoQOs for phytoplankton indicator species, oxygen concentrations and zoobenthos changes do not. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on seasonal effects of nutrient inputs and phytoplankton response, natural susceptibility of different water bodies, differences between coastal and offshore environments, and developing longer time series of data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1569-1584
Number of pages16
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • EcoQOs
  • Eutrophication
  • ICES
  • England
  • Wales

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