Marine Strategy Framework Directive – TG5

Recommendations for Quality Descriptor TG5: Eutrophication

Human-induced eutrophication is minimised, especially adverse effects thereof, such as losses in biodiversity, ecosystem degradation, harmful algae blooms and oxygen deficiency in bottom waters.

Definition of terms in Descriptor and understanding of the key concepts

Eutrophication is a process driven by enrichment of water by nutrients, especially compounds of nitrogen and/or phosphorus, leading to: increased growth, primary production and biomass of algae; changes in the balance of nutrients causing changes to the balance of organisms; and water quality degradation. The consequences of eutrophication are undesirable if they appreciably degrade ecosystem health and/or the sustainable provision of goods and services. These changes may occur due to natural processes; management concern begins when they are attributed to anthropogenic sources. Additionally, although these shifts may not be harmful in themselves, the main worry concerns ‘undesirable disturbance': the potential effects of increased production, and changes of the balance of organisms on ecosystem structure and function and on ecosystem goods and services.

TG5 arrived at the following definition as the basis for interpreting the MSFD descriptor:

Eutrophication is a process driven by enrichment of water by nutrients, especially compounds of nitrogen and/or phosphorus, leading to: increased growth, primary production and biomass of algae; changes in the balance of organisms; and water quality degradation. The consequences of eutrophication are undesirable if they appreciably degrade ecosystem health and/or the sustainable provision of goods and services.

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MSFD - TG5

 

 

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