Issue: Pressures on biodiversity - Pressures on marine biodiversity: pressures of coastal activities

This is an issue under the Biodiversity theme of the Data Reporting System.

Why we need to know about this issue

Where coastal land or waters are altered for human activities the habitat of other resident species (terrestrial, freshwater and marine) is also altered. Some of these habitat changes may completely remove resident species. Others may disadvantage some species and benefit others, altering the ecosystems themselves.

Additionally, a wide range of substances, including heavy metals, organic compounds and particles from industry and coastal mining, sewerage and garbage and diffuse pollution from human settlements, ammunition from Defence force facilities, and sediments, nutrients, pesticides and even just excess freshwater from agricultural land use are discharged into coastal waters and coastal freshwater systems where they can place pressure on marine, coastal terrestrial and coastal freshwater species and ecosystems.

Pressures from coastal pollution may affect the quality of estuarine and coastal waters and ultimately the condition of marine biodiversity. Run-off of pollutants can be directly toxic. Run-off of sediments can affect the turbidity of coastal waters and some sediments may carry materials that are toxic to marine species. Run-off of nutrients can lead to oxygen depletion and algal blooms. Changes in salinity of run-off can place pressure of ecosystems, by benefiting or disadvantaging particular species

In addition to pollution of coastal and marine waters by toxic substances, it is possible that noise and visual pollution may be having an adverse effect on some marine species.


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