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Report of the forty-fifth session of GESAMP

Rome, Italy, 17-20 September 2018









GESAMP (IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/UNIDO/WMO/IAEA/UN/UN Environment/UNDP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection), 2019. Report of the forty-fifth session of GESAMP, Rome, Italy, 17-20 September 2018. Rep. Stud. GESAMP No. 100. 70 p. Rome, FAO.



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    Report of the Thirty-third Session of GESAMP, Rome, 5-9 May 2003 2003
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    The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) held its Thirty-third Session at the Headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome from 5 to 9 May 2003. The Group considered a number of major topics at this session. The Group discussed the future of GESAMP and the completion of the Strategic Plan. GESAMP and its supporting agencies are committed to implementing the new Strategic Plan as soon as possible. The supporting agencies have agreed to initiate the development of the GESAMP pool of experts and to take concrete steps to establish the GESAMP office. GESAMP took note of UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/57/141 requesting the establishment of a regular global marine assessment (GMA) process by 2004 and proposed that it be involved in a significant way in that process. The main work item of GESAMP Working Group on the Evaluation of the Hazards of Harmful Substances Carried by Ships focused on t he re-evaluation of the hazards of the substances listed in the International Bulk Chemicals (IBC) Code, of which a total of 680 substances have now been evaluated. GESAMP noted progress made with the completion of the hazard profiles for 19 vegetable, animal and fish oils. Working Group on Environmental Exposure Models for Application in Seafood Risk Analysis is presently focusing on the development and testing of exposure assessment models for organic chemicals, especially in order to identify bioaccumulation models which could be useful in predicting the safety of seafood harvested from a given water body. GESAMP further noted the current concerns about the pollution caused by the accident of the tanker "Prestige", which now lies on the seabed at a water depth greater than 3000 metres, and noted that a series of scientific questions await major research on behaviour and impact of oil and other substances released in the oceans, particularly at great depths.
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    Reporting and retrieval of lost fishing gear: recommendations for developing effective programmes 2022
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    Abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear, alternately known as ALDFG or ghost gear is the most harmful form of marine plastic litter for marine animals and habitats. It also can impede safe navigation, mars beaches and reefs, and causes economic losses to fisheries and other marine-dependent industries across the globe. While current estimates of the amount of ALDFG in the ocean are not available, a growing body of evidence has documented high rates of ALDFG in fisheries around the world, with coincident costs to fisheries, harm to the environment, and safety risks. Because most fishing gear has significant plastic components, the negative impacts from ALDFG also include less direct but longer term impacts associated with other plastic pollution and microplastics including negative effects on biota, water quality and even human health. Advancing solutions to ALDFG on a global scale has gained momentum with the efforts of the FAO, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), and the IMO through their multilateral fora (COFI, UNEA and MEPC); the publication and endorsement of the Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear (VGMFG); the IMO action plan to address marine plastic litter from ships; the creation of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI); and the establishment of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Pollution (GESAMP) Working Group 43. These efforts reflect the growing understanding that ALDFG is a considerable and damaging source of MPL in the ocean. With the publication of the VGMFG and the Best Practice Framework (BPF) for the management of fishing gear, there are now references for how to prevent loss of fishing gear and prevent harm from ALDFG. Focusing on two key recommendations of the VGMFG and the BPF, this report describes systems for fisher-led reporting and retrieval of lost fishing gear, identifies critical elements of successful programs, and recommends next steps for countries to develop successful programs.
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    Environmental capacity; An Approach to Marine Pollution Prevention 1986
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    The aim of this Report is to provide guidelines for the assessment of the impact of potentially harmful substances released into the marine environment. The Environmental (also known as receiving, absorptive or assimilative) Capacity is defined as a property of the environment, a measurement of its ability to accommodate a particular activity or rate of an activity, such as the discharge of contaminants, without unacceptable impact. The Environmental Capacity can be apportioned for various use s. The Report proposes the use of a strategy to combat marine pollution based on this concept of Environmental Capacity. It provides the scientific rationale for the assessment of this entity, the methodology of calculation based on modelling, guidelines for its systematic application, monitoring and reassessment, and provides a number of case studies in the form of examples involving various contaminants and different geographical areas. The Report opens with a short introduction outlining the basic concepts and premisses which lie behind the acceptance of disposal of wastes in the sea. When a development is first proposed, its impact on the whole environment, together with the costs and benefits to society as a whole, must be taken into account before the plans are actually implemented. The procedure is often now known as environmental impact assessment (EIA). This wide-ranging procedure embraces far more than the scientific assessment of the impact of pollutants on the environme nt and as such lies outside the terms of reference of GESAMP. Accordingly, this Report concentrates on describing the parameters and processes which have to be taken into account in the assessment of the impact of pollutants on marine organisms, ecosystems, amenities and human health, as a consequence of any discharges to the marine environment. The methodology of assessment of Environmental Capacity as proposed in the Report, involves critical pathway analysis for both conservative and non- conservative contaminants, establishment of environmental and water quality objectives, criteria and standards. Faced with the inevitability of several sources of uncertainty in real-life conditions, a probabilistic approach is proposed as an alternative to deterministic analysis. The approach proposed is Decision Analysis, and this is exemplified by a flow diagram. The Report does not describe in detail how to gather the basic data or to carry out practical tasks such as conducting toxicity t ests or measuring water movements. To have done so would simply have duplicated material which is already available in the open literature and therefore accessible to those persons who will be brought in to advise or otherwise provide expert opinion on any project. The Report does, however, provide guidelines on how to utilize information to assess the overall impact of the activity on the marine environment. Guidance is provided on those procedures which are most likely to ensure that the activ ity can be contained within the capacity of the marine environment to receive wastes without causing unacceptable effects. The methodology of assessment of the Environmental Capacity is based on scientific research and resulting data. It is, by definition, site- and contaminant-specific. It is accomplished in stages, the preliminary assessment can be accomplished using approximations such as single-box and simple mass-balance models, and by averaging over larger time scales on the assumption o f steady-state conditions. As more data become available and transport and modification processes become better understood, more accurate values of Environmental Capacity will be obtained. These can then be used in environmentally compatible development planning and project implementation.

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