30 March 2021

Seas At Risk member, the Danish Society for Nature Conservation (Danmarks Naturfredningsforening), and the fishing industry have agreed a historic proposal to ensure full protection of 10.1% of the Danish North Sea and Skagerrak, as well as 10.3% of the Danish part of the central Baltic Sea. The move sees them poised to lead the European mission for stronger marine protection.

Representatives from the Danish Society for Nature Conservation and the Danish Fishermen Producer Organisation approached the Danish government and proposed the designation of 10% of the Danish North Sea, the Skagerrak, and the Baltic Sea around Bornholm as an untouched area, with no fisheries, recreational or commercial activities permitted. This follows marine research showing that large, coherent, untouched sea areas without fisheries or any other commercial activites are one of the most important tools in restoring nature in the ocean.

The two organisations are seeking better protection of the marine environment, as well as a framework for a more sustainable fishing industry that will continue to provide jobs in coastal areas and strengthen social cohesion in Denmark. Should the proposed increased protection of these areas cause significant, negative economic consequences for fishermen, the parties will recommend political discussion of targeted supports for fisheries, with a focus on sustainable transformation.

Both sides recognise the importance of this proposal, particularly in light of the traditional differences between nature and fisheries. Each is as part of its national Maritime Spatial Planning. However, they highlighted that this is only the first of many steps needed to successfuly reinvigorate marine life and restore the balance of the ocean. The Danish Society for Nature Conservation targets at least 30% effectively protected Marine Protected Areas by 2030, in addition to the 10% strictly protected. This level of ocean protection ambition is welcome and should be followed by other European countries.

17 March 2021

Seas At Risk is pleased to welcome Deutsche Stiftung Meeresschutz (German Foundation for Marine Protection) as our newest member, bringing our membership to 32 organisations in 16 EU countries.

Read more

26 February 2021

2019 saw global awareness of marine plastic pollution and single-use plastic grow exponentially, and 2021 will likely see similar focus on microplastics. 2021 has already seen a series of important steps building momentum towards regulation of the release of microplastics in the environment. In January, the Commission confirmed that impact assessment studies had begun, with a public consultation to take place during the coming spring and summer. This week the EU Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published a proposal for the wide restriction of microplastics intentionally added to products. This is just the beginning.

Read more

26 November 2020

Seas At Risk's Portuguese member Sciaena, together with Zero and ANP|WWF wrote a letter to the Minister of Environment and Climate Action and the Secretary of State for the Environment to express concern over the Portuguese Government’s lack of responsability in setting national reuse targets and for leaving waste prevention policy in the hands of economic sectors known for being against reuse. The ambitious targets for reusable packaging initially included in the proposed Waste legislation (Unilex) have been replaced by self-regulatory measures to be adopted by industry stakeholders. The NGOs urge the Government to instead seize the opportunity presented by the transposition of EU legislation to implement effective reuse measures to promote the transition towards a circular economy.

30 September 2020

Seas At Risk, together with 50 NGOs led by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and ClientEarth, called on the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen to support the SCIP database, the EU database of most hazardous chemicals, against industry lobbying. The database, an important tool to keep track of substances of concern in consumer products, has been targeted by companies demanding to weaken and delay its development. In their letter, the NGOs call on the President to resist industry pressures and fulfil the legal obligation to create the SCIP database under the Waste Framework Directive.

28 April 2020

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, Seas At Risk co-signed with the Break Free from Plastic movement an open letter to EU policy makers. The letter urges policy makers to oppose the scientifically unfounded claims coming from the industry, who ask to postpone or question the Single-Use Plastics Directive.

20 April 2020

A new research study undertaken by Seas At Risk’s member, Project AWARE, has revealed the scale and density of plastic pollution in the Mediterranean. The study was carried out under the citizen science programme, Dive Against Debris®, which conducts surveys of seafloor marine debris.  

Between 2011 and 2018, 468 Dive Against Debris® survey dives were conducted in 172 coastal locations in the Mediterranean Sea. The data analysis and study results have now been made available and will be used to develop waste management actions and policies across Europe. During the survey dives, information was collected on the quantity, type, and distribution of seafloor litter in shallow coastal waters. Overall, the average density observed was 43.55 items per 100 m2. Plastic was the predominant material, comprising 55% of the total collected items, with single-use plastic items alone constituting 33% of the total marine litter.


​Advancing our knowledge and understanding of marine debris - particularly seafloor debris - is integral to informing policy and developing solutions to prevent debris at source. Project AWARE recognises the importance of partnering with research institutes to advance scientific understanding. The Dive Against Debris® dataset provides an invaluable resource for quantifiable data on seafloor marine debris, as well as debris-free dive sites - knowing where rubbish is not present is just as important in identifying marine debris hotspots. No other dataset captures information on seafloor debris on this scale, either temporally or spatially.

Project AWARE is now collaborating on a research project with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia. The global Dive Against Debris® dataset, together with the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) dataset (focusing on beach cleanups), are being used to conduct an analysis of coastal and seafloor debris to identify sources of marine debris. This is the first analysis of its kind on a global scale, comparing land and seafloor debris. Understanding how marine debris is transported from land into marine systems and the corresponding debris density on the seabed is critical to understanding the distribution and trends of marine debris, including plastic, in the ocean.

Dive Against Debris® provides a standardised survey protocol that can be implemented locally anywhere in the world to monitor sites and provide a baseline to measure trends and - potentially - the effects of local policies. Dive Against Debris® is aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a number of target areas and provides world leaders with a monitoring tool to measure and track their progress towards achieving the SDGs. This latest interactive infographic highlights those areas and Project AWARE’s continued support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Informed by Dive Against Debris® surveys, the Mediterranean study recently published in the ScienceDirect Marine Pollution Bulletin represents the first collection of marine litter data from European volunteer divers. Data analysis is essential for informing policy and implementing legislation that prevents debris from entering the ocean in the first place. Citizen science is a powerful tool to support scientific research, public awareness and policy change.

10 March 2020

The European Commission recently launched its new Circular Economy Action Plan, as announced in the European Green Deal. As an improvement on the previous circular economy plan, which focused mainly on promoting recycling, the new circular economy now prioritises action on resource-efficient, energy-efficient and toxic-free products as well as waste prevention measures.

Read more

28 January 2020

More than 100 environmental organisations, led by Seas At Risk, BirdLife Europe, ClientEarth, Oceana, Surfrider Foundation Europe and WWF launched the “Blue Manifesto”. The rescue plan lays out concrete actions which must be delivered by set dates in order to turn the tide on the ever-degraded and polluted ocean and coastlines. To be successful, change is needed on both land and sea. The NGOs call for: At least 30% of the ocean to be highly or fully protected by 2030, Shift to low-impact fishing; Securing a pollution-free ocean; Planning of human activities that support the restoration of thriving marine ecosystems. 

Press Release available in EN, FR, ES, IT, PT, DE, HR, BG

Blue Manifesto vertical version

Blue Manifesto horizontal version



Full list of organisations signing the Manifesto: A Rocha (International Marine and Coastal Conservation Programme); Animal latitude; APECE - Portuguese Association for the Study and Conservation of Elasmobranchs; Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation; ASOC - Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition; Asociacion plataforma"El Chorlitejo"; BIOM association; BirdLfie Sverige; BirdLife Cyprus; Birdlife Europe and Central Asia; BirdLife Malta; BirdLife Suomi; Birdwatch Ireland; Bloom; Brot für die Welt; BUND - Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland; By the Ocean We Unite; Climate Action Network Europe; CCB - Coalition Clean Baltic; CFFA-CAPE; ClientEarth; Compassion in World Farming; Cork Env Forum; Cork nature network; Deep Sea Conservation Coalition; Deep wave; DEPANA; DN - Danmarks Naturfredningsforening; DSM - Deutsche Stiftung Meeresschutz; ; DUH - Deutsche Umwelthilfe; Ecologistas En Accion; Ecos; EEB - European Environmental Bureau; ENT Foundation; Environmental Justice Foundation; FANC - Finnish Association for Nature Conservation; France Nature Environnement; Friends of the Black Sea; Friends of the Earth Europe; Fundajia Aquarium; Geota; Good fish foundation; Greenpeace; HOS - Hellenic Ornithological Society; IFAW - International Fund for Animal Welfare Europe; INCA - Iceland Nature Conservation Association; International Programme on the State of the Ocean; Irish Sea Sanctuary; Irish Wildlife Trust; Legambiante; Living Sea; LOB - Latvian Ornithological Society; LOD - Lithuanian Ornithological Society; LPN - Liga para a Protecção da Natureza; LPO - Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux; MARE Foundation; Mare Nostrum; Marevivo; MCS - Marine Conservation Society; MedReact; MedSOS; MEER; MIO-ECSDE - Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development; Mundus Maris; NABU - Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union; Natuurpunt; New Economics Foundation; Ocean and Climate Platform; Oceana; OceanCare; Oceanografica; OMA - Observatório do Mar dos Açores; Otop - Ogólnopolskie Towarzystwo Ochrony Ptaków; Our Fish; PongPesca; Poseidonia green project; Project Aware; Prowildlife; Quercus; ReefCheck; Rethink Plastic Alliance; Retorna; RSPB - Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; SAR - Seas At Risk; Sciaena; SDN - Stichting de Nordzee; Sea First; SEO - Sociedad Española de Ornitología; Slowfood Germany; SMILO - Small Islands Organisation; SPEA - Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves; SSNC - Swedish Society for Nature Conservation; Sunce; Surfrider; SWAN - Sustainable Water Network; T&E - Transport and Environment; TNC - The Nature Conservancy; Tour des deux Amériques solidaire en voilier; Under the pole; WDC - Whale and Dolphin Conservation; WWF; Zero Waste Europe.

20 November 2019

These are our priority actions for the European Commission work programme 2019 - 2024. This report was prepared by Seas At Risk and is backed by our 32 member organisations. The goal of this paper is to highlight our blue vision and how to work constructively with the European Commission to deliver the protection that our oceans urgently require. 




10 October 2019

The Rethink Plastic Alliance, of which Seas a Risk is a core partner, released a guide for national policy makers to implement the Single-Use Plastics Directive. The guide outlines the different provisions of the SUP Directive and makes  recommendations on how national decision makers can best implement its measures on single-use plastic in Member States.

06 June 2019

3, 2, 1… World Oceans Day 2019! On Saturday 8 June, Seas At Risk members, together with thousands of activists, volunteers and citizens across Europe, will celebrate World Oceans Day.

Read more

06 June 2019

Portuguese NGO and Seas At Risk member, Sciaena, together with the Marine and Environmental Research Centre (CIMA), recently held a seminar on the topic of changing legislation of plastic packaging in the EU and tackling rising plastic pollution. The seminar, titled ‘Portugal and the reduction of single-use plastics’, took place on 3 June at the University of Algarve. Structured according to the circular value chain, the seminar followed the full lifecycle of plastic, featuring speakers from the manufacturing sector and the recycling industry, as well as retailers, government administrators, environmental organisations and the academic research community. It also included panels on legislation. The event was intended to bring together a diverse group of Portuguese stakeholders and to create a national forum to discuss the problem of plastic pollution in relation to the environment. It also opened a discussion of how new EU legislation will be implemented nationally and translated into action so as to reduce society’s reliance on single-use plastics.

Sectoral stakeholders’ and government agencies’ action plans to tackle the plastic crisis were presented and discussed within the framework of the implementation of the Single-Use Plastics Directive. At the event, stakeholders and participants expressed their willingness to work towards achieving circular plastic consumption by reducing, reusing and supporting more transparent and efficient recycling processes. There was also a clear commitment to meet again and present their progress.

Presentations and discussions focused firstly on the Single-Use Plastics Directive, particularly the legislative hurdles to correctly implement the legislation in all Member States. The need for additional regulations – and an overhaul of existing ones - to achieve the goals of the Directive were explained, e.g. food packaging requirements. Deposit Refund Systems (DRS) were frequently cited as an example of efficient implementation, with the progressive regulation on the introduction of a DRS approved by the Portuguese Parliament in 2018 proving a useful live example. Environmental organisations were not alone in highlighting the importance of DRS schemes, with the plastic industry itself pointing to the need for such initiatives. This was illustrated by polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, which should contain at least 25% recycled plastic by 2025 (calculated as an average for all PET bottles placed on the market in the territory of that Member State). These goals cannot yet be achieved in Europe, as much of the plastic litter collected is exported, with the remainder being of insufficient volume and quality to be made available on the market. Giving plastic an inherent value throughout the whole lifecycle means that DRS systems improve the availability and quality of recycled materials and pave the way for achieving the Directive’s goals.

This was Sciaena’s first event as part of NGO efforts to tackle marine litter. While it intends to focus on specific issues for future seminars - such as DRS schemes, microplastics or fishing gear - this event demonstrated the usefulness of taking a broad and inclusive approach to stakeholder engagement. After all, the plastic pollution problem was created by our entire society, from producers to consumers, thus our entire society will be needed to solve it.

21 May 2019

Today, the Council of the European Union adopted legislation to regulate the use of single-use plastic with the objective to limit plastic marine pollution. As of 2021, single-use plastic cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, cotton buds, balloon sticks and expanded polystyrene food containers and cups will be banned in the EU.

Read more

10 April 2019

The emerging national debate on the environmental impact of single-use plastic, and its restriction, highlights the need to tackle another major source of marine pollution: microplastics. The European Chemical Agency recently called for a public consultation to restrict microplastics. Seas At Risk calls on Environmental and Health Ministries, civil society organisations and research institutes across Europe to take part in the consultation process and submit arguments and evidence in favour of an ambitious and wide-ranging restriction.

Read more

20 December 2018

After years of advocating for strong legislation to effectively reduce marine litter, Seas At Risk today welcomes the adoption of two ambitious pieces of European legislation which will pave the way for a bluer and more sustainable future.

Read more

19 December 2018

Following a real marathon to deliver before the next EU elections, EU institutions have agreed on the first ever ambitious measures to address both land and sea-based plastic pollution. Seas At Risk considers the recently adopted measures as a first step in the right direction. 

Read more

14 December 2018

The clock is ticking. The 2020 deadline to deliver healthy oceans is fast approaching. Seas At Risk, together with several NGOs and thousands of  European citizens, is determined to ensure that European Ministers do not ignore the deadline to which they have already made a legal commitment. With a joint NGO call on governments to take 20 measures to progress to healthy seas by 2020, Seas At Risk has launched the “Save #OurBlueLung” campaign to galvanise a strong push towards a bluer future.  

Read more

30 October 2018

On 23 October, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Single Use Plastic Directive, with an overwhelming majority of MEPs supporting the European Commission’s plan to reduce pollution from single-use plastics. 

Read more

Share This

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required