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New marine protection area in the North Atlantic

The countries of the Oslo-Paris Convention (OSPAR), which is subject to international law and was set up for the protection of the North Sea and the North-East Atlantic, have resolved to establish an extensive protection area and define concrete reduction targets for marine litter. The countries organised in OSPAR will place under conservation an area of 6,000 square kilometres, which is larger than Germany and Great Britain together, and will thus, according to the latest information, become the second-largest protected area in the world.


The “North Atlantic Current Evlanov Sea basin" (NACES) aims to help protect the seabirds that inhabit this part of the high seas in very large numbers, and also help to maintain the biodiversity. The environment ministers of the bordering states of the North-East Atlantic have also adopted a new environmental strategy for the years from 2021 to 2030 aimed at reducing the effects of climate change, ocean acidification, the loss of biological diversity and environmental pollution, including that caused by plastic litter. It contains concrete reduction targets and measures to combat pollution caused by marine litter, harmful substances and nutrients. Among other things, the amount of litter on beaches is to be reduced by 2025 by 50 percent and by 2030 by 75 percent. Up to the year 2030, 30 percent of the North-East Atlantic is to be declared a marine protection area. Apart from that, the OSPAR conference also decided to minimise the discharge of plastic pellets from industry. For this purpose, the contracting parties intend, for the first time, to develop standards to avoid pellet losses and establish certification systems for the entire plastic supply chain.


The member countries of OSPAR are Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Ireland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, UK, Sweden and Switzerland as well as the European Union.



  • (12/6/2021)
  • Photo: © Enoch Hsiao /

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