Pollution of the sea and its effects

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Containing Papers of a Biological Character
H A Cole


Marine pollution has been studied under the following groupings of effects; harm to living resources, hazards to human health, reduction of amenities and interference with other users of the sea. This paper is concerned mainly with the first two categories and their interrelation. Apart from certain seabirds affected by oil, the major stocks of marine animals show no evidence of reduction by pollution. Pollution effects are generally insignificant in relation to other factors governing reproductive success, survival, growth and population size. Even in the North Sea, which has received a greatly increased pollution load during the last three decades, both total production of fish and catch per unit of effort (a measure of abundance) of cod, haddock and plaice increased during the 20 years 1950--69. Very recent decreases have been due to over-exploitation but, except in certain estuaries and immediate coastal waters, direct damage by pollution to marine populations and ecosystems is not evident. Pollution effects can, however, be detected by chemical analysis. The paper examines human health risks arising in the marine environment, particularly from contaminated seafood, especially in relation to sewage pollution, metals such as...Continue Reading

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