OSPAR Commission for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic (OSPAR)

How are we involved?

The United Kingdom is one of 16 contracting parties to the 1992 OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) acting as the lead co-ordinating department for the UK.

Our responsibilities include:

  • Atmospheric and Riverine Inputs, Nutrients and Eutrophication
  • Radioactive Discharges, Assessment and Monitoring, Offshore and Sea-Based Activities
  • Discharges from Point and Diffuse Sources including Hazardous Substances

What does OSPAR deliver?

In order to meet its objectives the OSPAR Convention has adopted several long-term strategies relating to:

  • Hazardous substances
    The ultimate aim being to reach concentrations equivalent to near background levels for naturally-occurring substances and close to zero for man-made synthetic substances in the marine environment.

  • Radioactive substances
    The ultimate aim being to reach concentrations equivalent to near background values for naturally-occurring substances and close to zero for artificial radioactive substances in the marine environment.

  • Eutrophication
    The ultimate aim being to eliminate eutrophication where it occurs in the North East Atlantic and to prevent further occurrences.

  • Protection of Ecosystems and Biological Diversity
    The ultimate aim being entry into force of the new Annex, and the identification of human activities that need to be addressed under it, along with promoting the establishment of a network of marine protected areas.

Specific OSPAR Outputs.

OSPAR delivers a number of specific outputs including;

  • Quality Status Reports (QSR's)
    The OSPAR Convention requires joint quality assessments of the maritime area covered by its remit to be published at regular intervals. These have been undertaken for five specific regions:
    • Region I - The Arctic
    • Region II - The Greater North Sea
    • Region III - The Celtic Seas
    • Region IV - The Bay of Biscay
    • Region V - The Wider Atlantic
  • OSPAR list of substances of possible concern
    OSPAR has developed a list identifying and prioritising those substances which are of possible concern to the marine environment. Anyone with information which would enable OSPAR to update this or any other of their priority lists are invited to contact the OSPAR Secretariat (secretariat@ospar.org) who will advise them further regarding the submission of relevant information.

  • Carbon capture and storage
    Information on carbon capture and storage and the marine environment

Full details of the OSPAR Convention, copies of the Quality Status Reports and the OSPAR list of substances of possible concern can be found at www.ospar.org.

Page last modified: 19 May 2009
Page published: 01 March 2005