Seas and ocean which are abundant in marine life, diverse, climate resilient, and not threatened by human pressures.


Seas At Risk is an umbrella organisation of environmental NGOs from across Europe that promotes ambitious policies for marine protection at European and international level.

Guiding Principles

Seas At Risk aims at the protection and restoration of the marine environment. While the work of Seas At Risk reaches into every corner of concern about the marine environment, and while we regularly work on a multitude of different marine environmental issues, there are some basic principles that transcend individual issues and guide the direction of our work.


To guarantee that the human use of, or interaction with, the living parts of the marine environment be sustainable in perpetuity, without causing environmental degradation or harm to the maintenance of natural processes and the ecological balance. In respect of non-renewable marine resources, human exploitation must take place in a time-frame that allows for the development of sustainable alternatives, and should not result in environmental degradation or harm to the maintenance of natural processes. Processes and environments that are of no obvious use to man must be protected equally with those that are.

Precautionary Action

To ensure that appropriate preventative measures are taken when there is reason to believe that substances or energy introduced into the marine environment, or activities taking place in the marine environment, are likely to cause harm even when there is no conclusive evidence to prove a causal relationship between inputs/activities and effects. This applies to the entire spectrum of environmental policy making and to all types of human impact on the environment. In the case of hazardous substances it requires an end to their discharge, emission and loss, with the target of concentrations in the environment near background values for naturally occurring substances and close to zero for man-made synthetic substances.


To deal with environmental problems through an integrated ecosystem-based approach focusing on the re-establishment of natural processes. To deal with the sea, coastal and catchment areas together ensuring that cooperation in planning and management is affected at all levels of government and within all sectors of the economy. To integrate a formal environmental duty into the remit of all national ministries of state. To ensure that problems shared by different European seas are considered together and that common policies are developed and implemented in all affected areas. To integrate environmental considerations into the decision making structures of all sectors of the economy.


To ensure the widest possible participation in a completely transparent and fully accountable environmental decision making process with continuing consultation for the public on environment issues, and full unrestricted (by expense or location) access to all data concerning the environment. To guarantee regular independent audits of government progress in environmental protection including regular reviews of the state of national implementation of all appropriate international agreements. To oblige private and public companies to make full and timely disclosure of all their activities as they relate to the environment.

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