The Europaen Commission The Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution
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Report Contents

List of Tables List of Figures

Final ¨Diagnostic Report¨ to guide improvements to the regular reporting process on the state of the Black Sea environment, August 2010

2002 - 2007

Diagnostic Report to guide improvements to the regular reporting process on the state of the Black Sea environment

Section I: BSIMAP and BSIS

The main purpose of the BSIS (Black Sea Information System) and BSIMAP (Black Sea Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Program) is to provide reliable and consolidated data for "state of the environment" reporting, "impact assessments" of major pollutant sources, "transboundary diagnostic analysis" and SAP implementation reports (BSSAP process) in view of decision-making needs in the Black Sea region. The sites, parameters and monitoring frequencies also reflect data requirements for compliance with relevant national and international legislation and agreements.

The most relevant international policies and agreements in terms of monitoring the Black Sea and reporting are considered to be not only the SAP for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea 2009 (adopted in April 2009), but attempts have also being made to harmonize approaches and principles with the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) which are obligatory for Romania and Bulgaria, and seriously taken into consideration by Turkey in the accession process.

The regional monitoring program BSIMAP is based on National monitoring programs, financed by the Black Sea states. Outside of National Programs, pilot monitoring field trips related to various environmental problems have been and are carried out in the frames of different projects, financed by donors, such as EU DG Research and DG Environment, NATO Science for Peace Program, UNDP/GEF and UNEP and others (see Annex I Listing the Projects, cruises undertaken, data bases compiled).

BSIMAP follows the DPSIR (Drivers, Pressures, State, Impact, Response) Model and allows detecting negative impacts as well as the effects of measures taken in a timely manner, thereby enabling the necessary corrective actions to be further taken. The choice of parameters to monitor is related to the main environmental problems considered in the Black Sea region and re-evaluated every 10 years based on BSC reports TDA and SoE (e.g., TDA 2007, SoE Report 2002 and 2008, ).

The main environmental problems in the region are: Eutrophication, Chemical pollution (including oil), Biodiversity decline, Habitats destruction and Overfishing.

Main policy questions which BSIMAP answers are:

  1. What is the level of eutrophication? Are the regional efforts to combat eutrophication effective and do we see them reflected in the concentrations of nutrients in the Sea? 
  2. What are the priority pollutants in the Black Sea and their impact on ecosystem and human health? Does pollution reduction occur?
  3. Is the bathing water quality safe for human health?
  4. What is the response of biodiversity to main pollution and what is the level of habitats destruction/revitalization? 
  5. Does pollution of biota exceed the human consumption safety limits?
  6. How does overfishing, pollution and eutrophication affect the major stocks of marine living resources?
  7. What is the impact of increasing oil/gas exploration activities in the Sea?
  8. Effects of sea-level changes and other climate change parameters?

The priority parameters in BSIMAP envisaged, providing knowledge-based answers to the main policy questions, the recommended BSIMAP initial actions and the status of their implementation with improvements needed are listed below:


Table 1. BSIMAP priority parameters, actions, implementation.
Priority parameters to be monitored Issue to be addressed(Policy questions) Monitoring Initial Actions Status of implementation Improvements needed
 Trace metals:Cd, Hg, Pb, Cu, others(mandatory in BSIMAP) What are the loads of trace metals from land-based sources of pollution? Are agreed measures effective in reducing pollution? monitor discharges and estimate riverine, direct industrial and municipal loads 1.        compile national meta data on all riverine, industrial and municipal sources of pollution in the coastal  zone2.        develop set of indicators to be reported3.        harmonize monitoring strategies and networks   Monitored, reported for rivers and 50 Hot Spots, most of them WWTP. Specific indicators are not developed, LBS Reports contain Figures showing trends. Data of states can be compared. Methods to measure trace metals harmonized.  Hg rarely measured. Indicators need to be developed. River monitoring strategies are not harmonized.
What are the concentrations in water, sediments and biota? monitor concentrations 2.        develop background values and assessment criteria for environmental quality3.        sustain the regional quality assurance and quality control system 4.        develop set of indicators for reporting on the state of the Sea environment5.        outline trends in historical dataharmonize the methods used and national monitoring strategies and networks Monitored with gaps, basically in water, rarely in sediments and biota. QA/QC sustained. Trends outlined. Methods harmonized. Background values absent in TU and GE. Assessment criteria for water quality need to be harmonized. Set of indicators to be developed.
  Pesticides(mandatory in BSIMAP for sediments, optional for water) What are the levels of pesticides in the water, sediments and biota? monitor concentrations assess the scope of the problem for the Sea by random sampling or based on available data in the vicinity of major sources of organotin pollution (say major ship routes, nearby river mouths, etc.) Monitored with gaps. Data available. Last assessment SoE, 2008. Not monitored on a regular basis in BG and GE. Rarely measured in sediments and, especially, in biota. Better monitoring and assessments needed.
  PCBs (optional in BSIMAP for water, mandatory for sediments and biota) What are the loads of PCBs into the Sea? monitor loads compile national data if available: inventory of PCBs sources and preliminary assessment of loads, including riverine inputs Not monitored, not reported to BSIS. Inventory of sources and assessment of loads missing. Pilot monitoring to identify the sources, assess the problem with consequent decision on PCBs loads relevance for the regional monitoring program 
What are the concentrations of PCBs in marine biota (including mammals) and bottom sediments? monitor concentrations pilot monitoring of PCBs levels in bottom sediments and biota (or analyses of available data) and decision on their relevance for regional monitoring program  Not monitored. Not reported to BSIS. Data available outside of BSIMAP and BSIS, but scarce (UA, RO, for instance). Pilot monitoring to assess the problem with consequent decision on PCBs relevance for the regional monitoring program 
  PAHs(not included in BSIMAP for land-based sources) Which are the major sources and how large are the inputs?  monitor loads  1.  quality check the existing information on PAHs concentrations in water and 2.   further compile  and quality check data on PAHs loads where available3. list of pollution sources  Not monitored, not reported to BSIS, no list of pollution sources. Pilot monitoring: Sources to be identified, loads assessed, decision on their relevance for the regional monitoring program to be taken 
What are the concentrations in water and sediments(optional) measure concentrations of PAHs in water and sediments include PAHs measurements in programs of cruises (projects) to check if the problem exists  Monitored with gaps, mainly in water. No harmonization of methods. Pilot monitoring: screening of the levels of PAHs in bottom sediments, with consequent decision on PAHs relevance for the regional monitoring program. Harmonization needed. 
Do PAHs affect fish and shellfish(optional) measure concentrations of PAHs in fish and shellfish  Incorporate random sampling where possible to address the problem (feasibility study)  Monitored randomly in UA Better screening needed, pilot monitoring recommended.
 Noxious and Harmful Substances  What chemicals are transported via the Sea? collect data on transportation
  1. compile meta data on regular transportations
  2. illegal discharges,
accidents occurrence
Not collected Pilot project/feasibility study recommended
 Phenols (not included for LBS loads, optional for water and mandatory for sediments in the Sea) What are the loads of phenols coming from land-based sources of pollution? What are their concentrations in water?  Do phenols pose risk to human health and Sea environment? monitor loads and concentrations  1.                    assess levels of phenol pollution in the marine environment 2.                    assess impact of phenol pollution  on coastal waters 3.                    outline trends in historical data 4. inventory of  pollution sources of phenols   Not monitored, not reported Pilot project: Inventory of sources, assessment of loads and concentrations in water and sediments, decision on Phenols relevance for the regional monitoring program.
 Detergents (mandatory for loads, optional for sea water) What are the concentrations in Sea waters?What are the loads from rivers and other land-based sources of pollution? monitor loads and concentrations 1.                     assess the level of detergents in coastal waters2.                     outline trends in historical data  Concentrations in the Sea monitored with gaps, reported basically by RU, TU and UA Better assessment of the problem needed (loads). For water concentrations improvement of the monitoring in coastal waters.
 Oil pollution, petroleum hydrocarbons(TPHs, mandatory) What are the pollution sources of oil monitor loads and concentrations 1. assess pollution loads of oil from land based sources and offshore installations,  illegal dischargesand accidents      2. outline trends LBS monitored Offshore installations and illegal discharges. Updated assessment of trends for LBS needed.
What are the values of total petroleum hydrocarbons in water, sediments and biota? monitor concentrations identify background values, assess trends Monitored with gaps, especially in BG, GE. Mainly concentrations in water and loads are measured. No harmonization of methods. Better monitoring of TPH in sediments and biota needed. Harmonization of methods needed.
 Radionuclides (optional) What are the trends of radionuclides in the Sea?  Do they pose risk to human health and Black Sea biota? 1. monitor concentrations of radionulides in water, sediments and biota 2. assess risk to human health and biota assess trends Not reported to BSIS, classified information. Available scientific assessment in the SoE, 2008. The data to be reported to BSIS
 Nutrients (mandatory) Are agreed measures effective in reducing eutrophication?What are the levels of nutrients in water and sediments, what are the loads from rivers and other land-based sources of pollution? monitor concentrations and discharges, assess loads of nutrients outline indicators and trends for loads and concentrations, introduce monitoring of nutrients in sediments (where possible) to assess the level of secondary eutrophication TRIX index for estimation of eutrophication processes.  Monitored loads and water concentrations. Data available for sediments. Indicators developed. Monitoring of sediments and open sea waters
 Phytoplankton (mandatory) How often phytoplankton blooms occur? What are the areas of most frequent phytoplankton blooms?  What are the consequences for the Black Sea flora and fauna?  monitor chlorophyll, phytoplankton abundance, biomass and species composition outline indicators, background values, trends Monitored, reported with gaps. Indicators, background values, trends known. Open-sea monitoring
 Zoobenthos (mandatory) What are zoobenthos communities structure and abundance? Is their state improving in comparison to previous periods? monitor abundance, species composition habitats classification and mapping, outline of trends Monitored. Habitats classification available. Mapping pending.
State of other communities, endangered species (mandatory) What is the state of macrophytes?Do numbers of endangered species increase? monitor abundance Red data book update,Assess natural habitats state, trends Monitored, Red Data Book available Habitats state needs to be better reported to BSIS
 Sources and occurrence of Marine Litter (ML) on beaches and in the sea (floating, on the bottom) What are the sources of litter, its amount/type, and areas of its occurrence? Marine litter in the Sea amount/type, areas of accumulation. UNEP guidelines assess the scope of the problem in the Sea bottom, coast, on the surface, major sources Not attended in BSIMAP. Randomly monitored by NGOs, not reported to BSIS. Last assessment 2007 To incorporate this kind of monitoring into BSIMAP with relevant reporting formats prepared
Effects of ML on birds and marine organisms  What are the effects of ML on birds and marine organisms   Compile information Scarce data not reported to BSIS, not attended in BSIMAP Search for available information, involve NGOs
Impact of fisheries on ecosystem (mandatory) What are the trends in fish catches? Which species are overfished? By catches and discards levels? Strandings?  Bioaccumulation of toxic substances?  Increase in fishing fleet? monitor ichthyoparameters, assess stocks, catches, by-catches, etc. 1. harmonization of methodologies2. trends  Monitored, harmonization in progress By-catch, illegal fishery poorly monitored, needs improvement. Stock assessments further harmonized, relevant surveys organized.
 Genetic disturbance What are the trends in aquaculture development? What species are cultivated?Are their escapes from farms? Compile data, monitor nutrients in aquaculture farms track the eutrophication effect of mariculture Trends in aquaculture development and species cultivated are reported to BSIS. Eutrophication effect of aquaculture not known, feasibility study needed. Genetic effects not known.
Transfer of diseases What diseases are reported?     Not reported to BSIS Compile information
 Chemicals  used in aquaculture  What chemicals are used for treatment?   Assess possible negative effects Not reported to BSIS Compile information, assess possible effects
 Habitats destruction (mandatory) Are destructive techniques used in the Black Sea region? What are the reasons for habitats destruction in the Black Sea? Benthos investigations, monitor via sonars and underwater video as well, etc. assess most threatened habitats at present, identify habitats of Sea importance to designate them as protected areas, identify threatened species and species which should be regulated  Monitored with gaps Improve this kind of monitoring
 Non-native species composition, abundance (mandatory) What exotic species are intentionally and non-intentionally introduced monitor exotic species  list of exotic species, vectors of introduction, impacts Monitored, Lists available Assessments of risk, Ballast water monitoring
What are risks and  vectors of introduction of new exotic species        
 Microbiological indicators (mandatory) What is the quality of bathing waters in terms of bacteriological pollution monitor bacteriological parameters list of beaches to be reported Monitored, list of beaches available Better reporting to BSIS needed
Atmosphere: Green house gases, particulate matter, chemical pollution (optional) What is the level of atmospheric pollution?Which areas are mostly polluted? monitoring of gases , deposition and precipitation Improve reporting format, become end-user of PROMOTE project Monitored, poorly reported to BSIS Contract with EMEP, end-users of Promote and similar projects. Development of stations for measurements of deposition.
 Nutrients and pollutants from diffuse sources What is the level of nutrients and pollutants entering the Sea from diffuse sources of pollution, including atmosphere? Collection of data to be used in relevant models (MONERIS, SWAT, others) Develop guideline for inventory, classification and assessment of diffuse sources of pollution, starting with nutrients. Development of models or adoption of available ones. Not attended in BSIMAP Priority issue, needs to be attended

Some of the parameters in BSIMAP are optional, others compulsory, depending on the priorities. Compulsory parameters in BSIMAP are: nutrients, TPHs and PAHs, trace metals, PCBs, pesticides, detergents, biology (phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthos, fish, mammals, invasive species). Pollution and eutrophication parameters are studied in water, sediments, and biota. 

In Annex II a full list of optional and mandatory parameters of BSIMAP is presented.

BSIMAP and BSIS are also about implementation of legal/policy documents in the field of environmental protection.

For instance, the implementation of the Land Based Sources and Activities of Pollution Protocol (LBSA) is monitored through collection of data on:

1. Institutions responsible for the LBSA Protocol Implementation (here the information can be provided according to the Articles of the revised LBSA Protocol, including monitoring Agencies for rivers, atm. pollution, municipal and industrial discharges, etc. )
2. LBS Projects, Programs, Plans, Strategies, Measures if any in River Basin Management, Nutrients and other Pollution Reduction, including POPs, Reduction of Air Pollution, Hot Spots, etc. Format:
2.1. Name of the Program/Project/Plan/Strategy/Measure
2.2. Duration (start-end)
2.3. Donor (Funding organization), amount of funding
2.4. Objective - the ultimate aim, what you are going to achieve by this program/project/plan/strategy/measure for instance, referring to legally binding document, such as Urban Waste Water Directive, and formulate a relevant objective build a tertiary treatment and reduce nutrients by 50%)
3. New agreements, national legislation and policy developments, changes in procedures, licensing if any.
4. BAT and BAP introduced (if any).
5. Air Quality - general information on number of stations measuring air quality, which are the organizations reporting to EMEP, which are the organizations responsible for the Kyoto Protocol, does your state produce inventories of Green House Gases for the Kyoto Protocol, who is responsible for the National Communications under the Kyoto Protocol (see
6. Publications.


In a similar way the implementation of other legal/policy documents is traced and reported. These documents are the Emergency Protocol (pan style='color:black'>Protocol on Cooperation in Combating Pollution of the Black Sea Marine Environment by Oil and Other Harmful Substances in Emergency Situations), Dumping Protocol (Protocol on Protection of the Black Sea Marine Environment against Pollution by Dumping), Biodiversity Protocol (Protocol on Black Sea Biodiversity and Landscape Conservation) and the Strategic Action Plan (for the latter see the SAP Implementation report: More details can be provided upon request.

Main pressures monitored in the Black Sea region are Land Based Sources of pollution and eutrophication, Shipping, Fishery and activities on the coast (Coastal Zone Management- available observation systems outside BSIMAP are listed in Annex I).

1. Land Based Sources of Pollution

Nutrients and pollutants stemming to the sea from rivers, municipal and industrial sources. Initially list of BS Hot Spots was agreed and decided to update it every 5 years. A Black Sea Methodology for identification of Hot Spots (and later deletion from the List) is developed for the purpose of update (pending for official adoption).

2. Shipping

        Ballast waters transportation

        Port Reception facilities


        Ships calling at ports

        Quantities of cargoes

        Oil spills


        Pollution fines

3. Fishery[4]






        Illegal Fishery

        Economic indicators



        Protection measures fishing seasons, bans, fishing free zones, etc.


4. ICZM[5]


        Population and geography


        Water and wastewater


        Coastal erosion




        Solid waste management