Pollution and Degradation
"introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment (including estuaries) resulting in such deleterious effects as harm to living resources, hazards to human health, hindrance to marine activities including fishing, impairment of quality for use of sea water, and reduction of amenities."
Under the framework of international law, sources of marine pollution include the following:
- Land-based sources and activities;
- Shipping and other sea-based activities such as fishing and aquaculture;
- Seabed activities, both near and offshore; and
- Atmospheric sources.
In fisheries, for example, it is now recognized that conservation of fish habitat is an important component of building and maintaining sustainable fisheries. A number of land-based waste products, notably nutrients and toxic pollutants, exert a direct effect on economically or culturally important fish-stocks. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are caused by microalgae, which have negative impacts on human activities, including human health, fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.
In shipping, oil pollution arising from incidence of ship grounding and collision has been a major international concern. In recent years, this concern has also included hazardous and noxious substances (HNS), ballast water discharge and antifouling paints.