REPORT: Protecting EBSAs and opportunities for the IMO

Posted on 05 February 2016
The oil spill in the Philippines reaches the coast of Sitio Nauway Island, Guimaras, the Philippines.
© Neal Oshima
The use of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) for informing designation of IMO Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs)

The document highlights the potential for the use of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) criteria to aid in the review of existing or identification of potential Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs). The aim being to enhance the PSSA designation process and afford protection to EBSAs (or EBSA features) from international shipping activities when needed and to identify potential to share data and avoid replication of effort. A comparative analysis of their criteria, a spatial analysis of present co-occurrence, and a mapping of global shipping density data onto current EBSA distribution was undertaken in this report commissioned by WWF and undertaken by Southampton Solent University.  The report highlights that both EBSAs and PSSAs share common features around ecological sensitivity and analysis of global shipping density data suggested that there are areas that may be ‘at risk’ from shipping activity and are defined as ecologically significant. In view of this the report suggests that when considering potential PSSAs in future that interested parties should be directed to consider the existence of EBSAs and utilise commonality of scientific criteria and data, where available to support the designation of new PSSAs and to review the effectiveness of existing PSSA APMs.
 
The oil spill in the Philippines reaches the coast of Sitio Nauway Island, Guimaras, the Philippines.
© Neal Oshima Enlarge
The IXTOC I oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 1979.
The IXTOC I oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 1979. The IXTOC I was one of the largest offshore oil spills in history, 2nd only to the oil spills from the first Persian Gulf War. Over 450,000 tons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico as a result of IXTOC I accident.
© Office of Response and Restoration, National Ocean Service, NOAA Enlarge

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.

Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions
Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions