Black Sea

From the Black Forest in Germany, the Danube River flows 2,800 kilometres through 10 countries before reaching the Danube Delta at the shores to the Black Sea, one of the world's largest inland seas.

Rich in wildlife and biodiversity, the Black Sea is sadly on the way to becoming just that … a sea blackened by pollution - oil spills, industrial run-off, coastal development, ship traffic and overfishing are some of the main problems that threaten the sea.

Today, the Black Sea region is at an environmental crossroads: It can continue on the path of neglect or it can move towards more sustainable models of development.

WWF is working with local communities, organizations and governemnts on restoration projects throughout the Danube and Black Sea region.
beach and sea / ©: WWF-Canon/Michael Gunther
A rare stretch of natural beach on Bulgaria's Black Sea coastline.
© WWF-Canon/Michael Gunther

Restoring the Danube Delta, the gateway to the Black Sea

The most important initiative that will help the Danube Delta is the Lower Danube Green Corridor project, started by the environmental ministries of Romania, Ukrainie, Moldova and Bulgaria, and supported by WWF. This is the largest cross-border restoration and protection wetland initiative in Europe, affecting the entire Lower Danube floodplains, and local people and ecosystems on the Danube River and Black Sea.

Attack of the jellyfish!

The invasion of a voracious comb jellyfish in the Black Sea from North America in the early 1980s is one of the best-documented examples of a marine alien invasive species introduced through ballast waters from large shipping vessels.

With no enemies, the jellyfish propagated at an alarming rate, contributing to the near collapse of Black Sea commercial fisheries within a few years.

The once prosperous seafood industry has lost about US$1 billion as a result of this invasive species. Anchovy fisheries in the connecting Azov Sea, already under stress from pollution and overfishing, have completely collapsed.

Bottlenose dolphin numbers in the Black Sea have also dropped dramatically, as the fish they used to feed on have disappeared. Monk seals in the Black Sea have become extinct.
 / ©: Ahmet Kideys
The North American comb jellyfish has had a devastating affect on the Black Sea.
© Ahmet Kideys
 / ©: WWF / Jacques Trotignon
Mediterranean monk seal.
© WWF / Jacques Trotignon

Black Sea Facts & Figures

    • The Black Sea is an inland sea surrounded by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.
    • The Black Sea has an area of 436,400 km2 and a maximum depth of 2,200m.
    • The Danube is the most important river running into the Black Sea. Europe's third and fourth largest rivers, the Dnieper and Don, also flow to the sea.
    Source: Wikipedia

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