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

Acknowledgements 1. Introduction 2 Challenges 3 The Basis for Cooperative Action 4 Policy Actions Conclusions
Annex I. Basis for Cooperative Measures Annex II. Policy Actions Annex III. LBS Report 2007: Land Based Pressures on the Black Sea Annex VI. Nationally Reported Date Annex V. Black Sea Monitoring And Assessment Program
List of Tables List of Figures

Implementation of the Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea

2002 - 2007

Implementation of the Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea

4. Policy Actions

A full compilation of national policy measures taken at the national levels related to the SAP (1996) actions is presented in Annex II.1 and the responsible institutes of implementation of national laws/regulations can be found in Annex II.2.

The level of investments made/planned to implement the actions is summarized in Annex II.3.

Reduction of Pollution

Land based sources of pollution

On a regional level a very important action was undertaken in 2003 – the beginning of the revision of the LBS Protocol 1992. The principal objective of the revision the new Protocol for the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities (hereinafter Revised BS-LBSA Protocol) is to further improve and strengthen the existing legal basis of environmental cooperation among the Black Sea States in the area of pollution from land.

The work on the new instrument represents a collaborative effort involving the six coastal states, the Black Sea Commission, the Black Sea Ecosystem Recovery Project, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It has taken four years to complete the final draft Revised BS-LBSA Protocol and to submit it for the consideration of the Black Sea States.

It was generally agreed that the key objective of the revision was to enhance the 1992 LBS Protocol’s normative provisions aimed at reducing nutrient and other pollutant inputs into the Black Sea. The specific reasons for the revision of the LBS Protocol include, among other things, are the following:

·               A need to introduce and incorporate new conceptual approaches and notions of environmental law due to outdated content and legal form of the existing Protocol;

·               A need to take into consideration developments at the international level, such as the adoption of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) in 1995 and various directives by the European Union (e.g., the EU Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy);

·               A need to re-examine the environmental priorities in the Black Sea region and to make more clear and precise the respective obligations and rights of the Contracting Parties, due to problems encountered by countries in implementing the existing Protocol.

The Revised BS-LBSA Protocol will include not only the general objectives and commitments, but also concrete measures aimed at the reduction and possibly elimination of land-based pollution sources and prevention of harmful activities, including reference to BEP and BAT. The objectives and modalities of the Revised BS-LBSA Protocol, GPA and regional and national strategic action plans have to be properly harmonised.



29. A Black Sea Basin Wide Strategy, negotiated with all states located in the Black Sea Basin, should be developed to address the eutrophication problem in the Black Sea. The objective of the Strategy should be to negotiate a progressive series of stepwise reductions of nutrient loads, until agreed Black Sea water quality objectives are met. Such a Basin Wide Strategy may also be required to ensure the reduction of inputs of other pollutants into the Black Sea, in particular oil.

30. Given that the Danube is the largest single source of nutrient inputs into the Black Sea, it is imperative that strategies for the reduction of nutrients be adopted for this river. The provisions in the Danube Strategic Action Plan (maintenance of 1995 levels) clearly are insufficient for addressing the eutrophication problem in the Black Sea.

Eventhough, a regional strategy and plan to address eutrophication problem and reduce nutrient inputs with regional targets do not yet exist in the Black Sea, there are considerable national and multi-national cooperative programs/projects to combat eutrophication which are supported by national sources along as by GEF/UNDP, WB, EC and other international donors. Besides, numerous national river basin programs and cooperative projects supported by international donors have been implemented for two major river basins: the Dnipro and Danube.  In addition to them, DABLAS Task Force has been operational since 2001 where both BSC and ICPDR are members of. In the Task Force, 6 projects are finalized or almost finalized in Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey (prepared for financing), and 39 projects are in the pipeline of the preparation phase for water infrastructure related investment in the region.  18 projects were in the pipeline as of 2006 (Regional Gap Analysis Report, 2007). A list of investment projects organized by national and international donors is presented in Annex II.3.  

A list of other programmes and projects developed for the Protection of the Black Sea basin against environmental damages including eutrophication had been presented in Annex I.3 and examined under cooperative actions (Arts. 14&15 of SAP). 

River basin management programmes (Annex 1.3.9) have been adopted in some of the BS states and being considered by others as well. In Bulgaria and Romania, the WFD has been currently fully transposed into the national legislation, therefore, the RBMP have to be completed by 2009 and implemented by December 2015 which aimed at to achieve “good ecological status” of waters including the coastal waters of the Black Sea.  In EU Integrated Environmental Approximation Strategy (2006) of Turkey, the investment needs of the water sector on the basis of EU Directives (including WFD) and donor contributions are identified for 2007-2013. Also, the NAP (2005) of Turkey is basically designed for the reduction of pollutants where pollution sources at 6 river basins (Sakarya, Kızılırmak, Yeşilırmak, West Black Sea, East Black Sea and Çoruh) in the Black Sea region were also identified and prioritization of pollution sources were made. Projects were identified and cost estimates prepared. The Anatolia Watershed Rehabilitation Project (2005-2011, supported by GEF and WB) is focused on two Black Sea River basins (Kızılırmak and Yeşilırmak) mostly concerning the reduction of pollutants from agricultural activities.

In Ukraine, a basin wide approach to the protection and rehabilitation of the Azov and Black Seas has been included in the national legislation namely Water Code of Ukraine.  The preparation of the river basin programs for other Ukrainian rivers flowing into the Black Sea is provisioned by the Program and in progress. A National Program exists for Dnipro river basin, and for the Black and Azov Sea.  In Georgia, there is no integrated management plan/strategy for rivers. Water basin management principle is considered within the Concept of Agrarian Policy of Georgia. After its adoption, Water Law will be revised to harmonize with WFD. In the Russian Federation, there is no national river basin management plans. Schemes based on general water basin principle will be prepared for at least 10 years.  At present, there is no national river basin management plans in Russian Federation. Schemes based on general water basin principle will be prepared for at least 10 years.

In order to assess the loads of nutrients carried by rivers to the BS coastal waters, the data submitted to the BSC can be referred. Monitoring data (and therefore load estimates) are available for the majority of rivers, but flow measurements are not available from Georgia and frequency of sampling is still different in the Black Sea states. The LBS AG recognizes the need to further harmonise the monitoring strategies for rivers in the region. The Danube River monitoring strategy was considered. Regionally agreed List of Determinands (mandatory and optional) was the first step towards harmonization. Further the states will unify the frequency of sampling and the methods used for analyses to improve the comparability of river loads.

Ukraine reports for eight rivers, Russia reports six rivers, Georgia and Turkey report five rivers, Romania reports three rivers (branches of Danube) and Bulgaria reports two rivers to the BSC. In the last annual report of LBS AG (2008, Annex III), total riverine inputs from each county for 2006 were evaluated for TN, TP, BOD-5 and TSS loads and water fluxes. Total riverine input from Romania (Danube) was very high when compared with the other countries; being in the range of 610.8 - 400 kilotonnes TN/year and 71.6 - 30 kilotonnes TP/year for 2005-2006.  An evaluation of such annual data sets for 1996-2005 period is presented in the TDA 2007 and displayed in Annex II, Fig. 1a of this report. According to the presented data, there has been a slight decrease in DIN loads of Danube whereas loads of total phosphorus has drastically decreased from 1990 to 2005 and reached to a level similar to the 1960’s.

An evaluation of the coastal waters of the NWBS  (Loyeva et al., 2008, in UA National Gap Analysis Report) indicates that during the last decade the phosphates content has been decreasing and the concentration of nitrogen bearing substances has been increasing in the water column (Annex II.17, Figure 1.b). The steady increase of nitrogen is mainly due to its organic forms higher concentrations.  This tendency is more obvious for the western part of the Black Sea NW shelf.  In the last decade, however, some stabilization of nutrients level in surface waters was recorded, which explains the lower frequency of algal blooms (being mainly concentrated in the 0-25 meters layer) and the lack of anoxic situations (respectively mortality of living organisms) in the Black Sea.

According to the TransNational Monitoring Network (TNMN, ICPDR, measurements, N-discharge from the Danube decreased by about 30-40 % as compared to the 1980s. Such insufficient decrease, despite of the numerous measures taken,  was interpreted as continuing contributions from high nitrogen stocks deposited in soils and groundwater in the catchments areas. The TNMN data do not show decrease in TP loads in 2001-2005 (see Annex III), which is not in agreement with other available data and reduction of nutrient levels in the NWBS in front of the Danube river.

Airborne pollution

Airborne pollution

31. More attention should be focussed on the issue of airborne pollutants, particularly those that involve transboundary movements, as well as appropriate measures for controlling them at source. An initial assessment of the magnitude of this problem should be undertaken by 2005

An assessment of the airborne pollution problem in the Black Sea has not been made yet under the umbrella of the BSC. A cooperation between the Co-operative Program for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long Range transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP) and the Black Sea Commission for regular assessment of inputs of pollutants to the Black Sea will be extremely helpful to fill in this gap, as EMEP performs assessments for nitrogen and heavy metals depositions in the Black Sea region.

A country based assessment of transboundary air pollution by main pollutants (N, S, others) and particulate matter based on model results has been published by EMEP/MSC-W (2007) as complementary to EMEP Status Report 1/2007.  The country based trends of emissions and estimated depositions of these pollutants have been displayed in Annex II.17, Figure 2a.

Though decreasing trends in emissions and atmospheric deposition of pollutants have been observed in the Black Sea region since the early 1990s, available information suggests that specifically the deposition of nitrogen to the Sea may be of similar order of magnitude to river loads and there is no pronounced change in N-emissions in the region. Risk of damage from ozone and PM is high in all Black Sea states. Since 1995 due to less extensive use of coal the average daily concentrations of CO, MO2 and SO2 dropped down significantly in densely populated areas along the Black Sea, however acid rains and smog are still frequent phenomena in the region.

The CO2 emissions per capita and per unit GDP seemed to be decreased in almost all the Black Sea states according to UNDP-HDR   Annex II.17, Fig.2b

The deposition of heavy metals at the regional scale has also been presented in the EMEP Status Report, 2007 and displayed here in Annex II.17, Figure 2c. The deposition of Cd, Pb and Hg are more pronounced in the western part of the Black Sea. 

In most of the BS countries EU legislation and strategies have been considered as basis for the improvement of the national legislations on air quality assessment and management, fuel quality, reduction of VOC emissions from stationary sources, pollution from combustion, climate change policy and long-range trans-boundary air pollution. Comprehensive national programmes to implement this legislation have been developed in some Black Sea countries. Considerable efforts were also exerted by some states for the monitoring of the airborne pollution in the region.  

The UN Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution and EMEP (Protocol on Long-Term Financing of Co-operative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-Range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe) have also been widely considered by the BS States All states are contracting Parties to this Convention (Annex I.1). 

In 2008 the BSC PS signed an agreement with the EARTHWATCH GMES PROMOTE EU Project ( which is funded by the European Space Agency. The project provides to the Black Sea states Regional Air Quality Forecasts and Air Quality Records Services (( The BSC PS invited all the Air Quality measuring Laboratories in the region to become end-users of the provided services. Of all states only Turkey has been involved in the end-users program of the PROMOTE project before, providing at the same time real time data on air quality for verification of the satellite and modelling simulations preformed in the frames of the project.

High priority point sources

High priority point sources

32. A list of high priority sites (hot-spots) for reducing discharges of pollutants has been  developed. It will provide the basis for the elaboration of national strategies and timetables for realising substantial reductions of inputs of pollutants from hot-spots, in accordance with agreed water quality objectives. The following procedure has been agreed for the purpose of attaining these reduced inputs by 2006. Each Black Sea coastal state, in its National Black Sea Strategic Action Plan, will specify the strategies and timetables for attaining reduced inputs from the hot-spots located in its territory. In those cases where investments (as opposed to policy changes or economic restructuring) are required, in order to address specific hot-spots, pre-investment and investment studies will be pursued, with donor support where possible.

33. National reports on the progress made in addressing the identified hot-spots will be presented to the Istanbul Commission and widely disseminated, in 2002 and 2007. It is recommended that the Istanbul Commission prepare a consolidated report on this topic in time for the Ministerial meetings in 2002 and 2007. This report should include an assessment of the progress made on the strategy for each site. If the progress made is found to be insufficient to meet the agreed water quality objectives, further steps to reduce inputs will be decided upon at the Ministerial meetings.

34. In addition to the high priority point-sources, comprehensive national studies on the discharges of insufficiently treated sewage will be prepared by each Black Sea state by June 2002. It is recommended that this activity be coordinated by the Istanbul Commission, through its Advisory Group on the Control of Pollution fromLand-Based sources. These studies should analyse the national and regional benefits to public health, the environment and recreation as well as the economic costs of installing sewage treatment plants. The studies shall serve as a basis for taking decisions and implementing significant reductions of the inputs of insufficiently treated sewage from large urban areas by 2006.

Initially 50 hot spots were identified in 1996 TDA and investment plans for the rehabilitation of these spots were required to be made both at the national and regional levels. National BS actions plan were also required to be developed for this purpose. As mentioned in previous reports (National Gap Analysis and Regional Gap Analysis, 2007) none of the countries have had specific national SAPs for the Black Sea, however, adopted other related or closely linked national strategies and programmes. Important actions were undertaken by the States to implement these national programmes and improvements were achieved both at the identified hot spots and at other problem areas identified later. A list of investment projects developed or planned for all these sites are displayed in Annex II.3 (Ref. TDA2007).

2007 TDA included a review of the present status of 1996 Hot Spots and investments made. In about 50 % of the identified hot spots, upgrading/construction of WWTPs have not been initiated yet and some of them have already been out of national plans. 14 of them have been adequately addressed and the projects were almost completed. Of these the construction work has been completed at: Bulgaria: Rosneta oil terminal WWTP, Varna Port WWTP, Bourgas Port WWTP, Asparuhovo municipal WWTP, Neftochim oil refinery WWTP; Romania: Mangalia municipal WWTP, Sheskharis oil terminal WWTP and Russia: Gelendzhik municipal WWTP. At Pivdenni municipal WWTP (Ukraine), over three times the original estimated investment costs have already been spent improving this facility, so pollution loads from this hot-spot are considered to have been addressed; however, it is planned to spend a further $37 million on reconstruction/updating of this plant by the end of 2015. Likewise, in Romania, at Constanta North, Constanta South and Eforie South WWTPs, greater sums of money have already been spent on modernisation/updating of the facilities than originally estimated, with considerable further investments to be spent by the end of 2015.

Closure and a change of use of the Fertilchim fertiliser manufacturing plant in Romania have greatly reduced its emissions, meaning that the $16,750,000 investment originally identified is no longer required. In the case of Dzhoubga municipal WWTP (Russia), the re-assessment of its pollution loads/impacts showed that no updating of the plant is required – this is also included in the list of 14 hot-spots successes.

Upgrading of a further 10 of the originally-identified hot-spots can be considered to have been partially completed. The investment funds originally identified for upgrading/reconstructing the Bulgarian Sodi (soda ash plant) and Tsarevo municipal WWTP appear to have been spent, but construction (in 2006) had not been completed. At the Petromidia petrochemical complex in Romania, capital investments have started, but the majority of modernisation/reconstruction work is planned for completion by the end of 2015. Similarly, in Russia, construction/modernization of Tuapse Port WWTP and Anapa municipal WWTP has started but will not be completed for some years yet.

In Turkey the situation is difficult to assess, since Trabzon municipal wastewater treatment plant was originally identified as being in need of upgrading, but which exact treatment works there was never identified. Investments have begun at several WWTPs serving Trabzon, with further funding to complete this modernisation, now identified in future capital investment plans. Work has been undertaken at Zonguldak WWTP, but the amount of money invested was considerably less than that originally estimated. A similar story to Zonguldak also emerges with regard to capital investments at Yalta and Gurzuf WWTPs in Ukraine, where the construction/upgrading of Yevpatoria WWTP has started, and is planned for completion in the future.

Around 35% of the originally estimated capital investment has been spent until the end of 2005 and all investments were planned to be completed by the end of 2015. Additionally, new projects for many new points with different scope (WWTPs, waste management, reception facilities etc. (see Annex II.3) have been configured and included in the DABLAS list of projects or prioritized in national investment plans.

There is a need to revise the List of BS Hot Spots and as a starting point common standards and criteria (guidelines) for the identification of Hot Spots have been drafted (2007-2008) basing on the experience of Arctic, Baltic, Mediterranean and North Seas. The draft guidelines are under discussion at the moment together with the standards for water quality, discharges, biota contamination and sediments standards. The Black Sea coastal states are expected to report extended Meta data on all available municipal and industrial sources of pollution in the coastal zone. The data compiled will be used to update the list of hot spots, after having agreed the Guidelines and harmonised where possible the standards and definitions of Good Environmental Status.

Status of insufficiently treated or treated/untreated sewage is basically measured with the percentage of population connected to a public sewer system (WHO) and discharge of insufficiently treated waters or untreated waters. In the Black Sea region, rural population not connected to WWTP- varies in the range of 42-95% for different states whereas it is 0.3-34% for the urban population which is about 0-70% of the total population (Annex II.17, Figure 3).  

Regulation of point sources

Regulation of point sources

35. In order to implement the Protocol on Land Based Sources to the Bucharest Convention and with a view to the gradual reduction of inputs of pollutants in general and the elimination of discharges of persistent pollutants of global significance (POPs) the following actions shall be taken.

a)   Water quality objectives shall be harmonised on the basis of the uses of water (drinking water, bathing water, aquaculture, ports etc.). It is advised that the Istanbul Commission, upon the recommendations of its Advisory Group on Pollution Monitoring and Assessment, adopt such harmonised water quality objectives and where necessary standards by 2005. Furthermore, these objectives should be subjected to a comprehensive review every five years.

b)   Procedures used for monitoring the actual discharge of effluent at point sources shall be harmonised. It is advised that the Istanbul Commission, upon the recommendations of its Advisory Group on the Control of Pollution from Land Based Sources, adopt such procedures by 2004.

c)   Each Black Sea state shall endeavour to adopt and implement, in accordance with its own legal system, by 1999, the laws and mechanisms required for regulating discharges from point sources. The basis for regulating discharges will be a licensing system, through which the harmonised water quality objectives can be applied, and through which effluent charges, based on the polluter pays principle, can be levied.

d)    Each Black Sea state will also endeavour to adopt and implement, in accordance with its own legal system, efficient enforcement mechanisms by 1999.

e)     In order to secure the implementation of the actions agreed to in this paragraph, each Black Sea state shall ensure that the national agencies responsible for licensing, monitoring and enforcement are adequately staffed and that the necessary resources are available to them. Where necessary, training courses at local agencies will be organised.

f)     Each Black Sea state will consider the introduction of policies in which polluters are made to pay for compliance. The application of environmentally friendly production processes or other innovative process which reduce inputs of pollutants may also be encouraged through economic incentives.

At present status, water quality objectives have been proposed to be replaced with long-term EcoQOs for the Black Sea transboundary issues (TDA, 2007).  They are developed within the new SAP (draft, 2008) with targets, indicators and terms of implementation.

In general, it can be stated that national laws and regulations are in place to control discharges from point sources (Annex II.1). Establishment of licensing-monitoring-enforcement-compliance mechanism has also been considered in national legislation or necessary improvements are underway. It is also stated in TDA 2007 that environmental policies in all six Black Sea Countries fully apply  the “polluters pays“ principle, based on laws, provisions, plans, procedures, standards to be met and prohibited activities. Also, enforcement powers are assigned to agencies, fines and other penalties are specified, and monitoring is promoted to ensure compliance.

The use of environmental friendly production (cleaner production) and the application of financial enforcement tools for the implementation of the regulations have been discussed before within this report under “Principles” and obviously they are all recognized by all the states.

Vessel sources pollution

Vessel sources pollution

36.         MARPOL 1973/78 shall be more effectively implemented by Black Sea states, especially with a view to giving effect to its provisions on Special Areas, by 2007.

37.        Due to the rapid increase in traffic to Black Sea ports, the capacity of harbour reception facilities needs to be enlarged in order to comply with MARPOL Special Area requirements. Harbour reception facilities will be installed: for garbage by December 2007; for oil by December 2007; and for chemicals by December 2007. The use of these facilities shall be made compulsory. In installing harbour reception facilities close cooperation with the private sector will be pursued, the advice of the IMO will be requested, and the results of the study conducted by the BSEP and the European Union will be taken into account

38.         A harmonised system of port state control will be established in the Black Sea region through the adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control. It is advised that the Istanbul Commission adopt such a Memorandum, upon the recommendations of the Advisory Group on Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping, by December 1998 .

39.         Black Sea states shall take the necessary steps to enable them to fully exercise their prescriptive and enforcement powers, in accordance with international law, in order to pursue the reduction of illegal discharges by vessels into the Black Sea.

40.         A harmonised system of enforcement, including fines, will be developed for the Black Sea region. It is advised that the Istanbul Commission, upon the recommendations of the Advisory Group on the Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping, adopt such a system by December 2007. The primary aim of this system will be to serve as a deterrent for illegal discharges and, where necessary, to exercise enforcement action against illegal dischargers.

41.        Black Sea states will present a joint proposal to the IMO, in 2004, for conducting an in-depth study on measures to avoid any further introductions of exotic species into the Black Sea through the deballasting of vessels. Given the danger of such species migrating to other seas in the region, the coastal states of the Caspian and Mediterranean Seas will be consulted.

All the BS states have signed and ratified either all the annexes of MARPOL 73/78 or only some of them (see Annex I.1).

Based on the requirements of the Convention, the provision of harbour reception facilities is considered to be of critical importance and it is required to establish these facilities for oil, garbage and chemicals by all the BS states until the end of 2007. The status of these activities is not yet at the satisfactory levels although there are improvements in all countries. There are also mid-term plans for improvements. An example is the Strategy for the Development of the Transport Infrastructure of the Republic of Bulgaria by the Year 2015 which includes planning for improving port reception facilities for collection and treatment of wastes from ships and ports in accordance with the requirements of Directive 2000/59 of the EC after 2007.

Port Reception Facilities development is reported to the BSC using new Data Base developed on the basis of IMO Reporting Format. According to the data available for 2007 in Bulgaria there are 6 PRF for oily water and garbage, with the capacity of more than 150 000 t per year. The capacity of the Bourgas Port to accept delivered wastes has increased around 4-fold from 2002 to 2006 as reported in ESAS AG Annual Report (2007). Two new oily water reception units were also planned for two Georgian Ports in DABLAS (Regional Gap Analysis, 2007, Table 5), waste barge in all ports, ballast reception facilities in Batumi and only ballast barge in Poti are available. In Romania, harbour reception facilities are at a good level, available in the ports for oil, garbage and bilge water and there are plans to extend and improve them.  In Russian Federation, all ports (5 ports) have reception facilities for the collection of ship’s wastes: oil polluted waters and sludge, garbage, waste waters, rest of cargo (as mentioned in the National Gap Analysis report and the ESAS AG Report, 2007). According to the ESAS AG Annual Report of 2007, 4 new facilities were put into force in 2007 in Turkey for delivery of wastes, and totally 8 port reception facilities are in operation currently. The present status of port reception facilities reported to BSC is presented in Annex II.4.  The need to establish a harmonised fee/cost recovery system on ship-generated waste in the Black Sea region is well recognised.

A harmonized system for port state control has been established through a MOU signed by the governments of all the member states. With this tool, common procedures for inspection of the ships have been settled for the region and the system is efficiently operating. The inspection data has been reported by the Black Sea coastal states and the number of inspections for the last 4-6 years showed an increasing trend in Bulgaria and Turkey (Fig.4, Annex II.17). According to these reports, the most intensive inspections have been conducted in the Russian Federation.

An agreed/harmonised enforcement system for the region to avoid discharges has not been achieved and the illegal discharges have not been avoided in the BS even though they are completely prohibited and all the states use sanction systems.

EU Directive 2005/35/EC (7th September 2005) on sanctions for ship-source pollution is in place in Bulgaria and Romania. In Georgia since 1995 special Regulations (amended in 2006), approved by the Ministry of Environment of Georgia have been in force. The Regulations establish a varied scale for calculation of the compensation for the damage occurred. In 2002 the Law of Georgia “On Administrative Delinquencies” was amended, in accordance with which a penalty of 65000 GEL (appr. 40 000 USD) is placed for any act of pollution from a vessel (irrespective of the size). At present moment a scheme “penalty (65 000 GEL) + compensation” is used. Pollution fines for all kinds of illegal discharges are established in Ukraine by the decision of the Сabinet of Ministers of Ukraine 03.07.1995 №484 and by the administrative code of Ukraine 07.12.84, 8073-X, art.59-1. In Turkey there are administrative fines identified for cargo ships, tankers and other kind of vessels that might discharge oil and oil derivatives (crude oil, fuel, bilge, sludge, slop, refined products, oily wastes etc.), contaminated ballast waters, waste or domestic wastewater and for hazardous substances and waters discharges the fines are 10-fold higher than for oil pollution.

In Russia the sanction system is based on the following penalties imposed for infringement of the MARPOL convention:

Type of violation

Fines (in & Sterling)




1. Illegal discharge




2. Oil Record Book




3.  IOPP Certificate




4. Other




Regarding the issue of ballast water exchange (deballasting) to avoid the introduction of invasive species, a systematic management plan is applied only in the Russian Federation and all rules on management of Ships' Ballast Waters are included in the Collection of obligatory orders on the sea trading port of Novorossiysk. Since 2004 in the port of Novorossiysk the Authorities carry out on a voluntary basis: Tool control of replacement of ship ballast; Monitoring of biological pollution of ballast waters dumped in port areas (deballasting is allowed 12 n.m away from the port); Complex ecological research of plankton (23 stations) together with the Institute of Oceanology and Oceanography of the Russian Academy of Science.

A comprehensive project for the development of the management plan in Turkey has been nearly finalized. Regular monitoring of ballast waters was planned in Romania and Bulgaria, but not in place so far. Unfortunately, this is a core gap for the management of transport related environmental damages in the region., Harmonization of ballast waters rules is still under discussion in the frames of the Black Sea Commission work plan  and upon availability of financial support.  

The IMO Convention on the Management of Ballast waters and sediments has been adopted by consensus in London in 2004, but not ratified by any of the BS States yet. Due to activities in the framework of the GloBallast Programme (2001- 2007) and the Black Sea Conferences on Ballast Water Control and Management, a ballast water related Regional Task Force (RTF) was implemented to minimize the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in ships’ ballast water. Ballast water management was also incorporated in the revised Strategic Action Plan of the Black Sea which is open for adoption at a Ministerial Meeting.  

The present status of ballast water management requirements in the Black Sea countries is summarized in Annex II.5. The level of existing national ballast water management requirements varies substantially within the Black Sea countries, i.e. a harmonized and agreed upon uniform approach is lacking. Most countries require ballast water reporting and follow the IMO Assembly Resolution 868(20) which contains a ballast water reporting form. Ballast water reception facilities are available in the Georgian ports Batumi and Poti, but it remains unclear if these are only in use for ballast water carried in empty cargo holds of oil tankers. Countries those implement ballast water management rules require exchange for ballast waters originating outside the Black Sea before entering the Black Sea or inside the Black Sea. In the Russian port Novorossiysk non-compliance with BWE causes delay and/or penalties.

Pollution from dumping

Pollution from dumping

42. A total ban on the disposal of municipal garbage in marine, shoreline and estuarine areas shall be imposed by December 1996. Each Black Sea state shall develop a plan setting out the manner in which comprehensive enforcement of the ban will be attained by December 1999 .

43. Illegal dumping operations in the Black Sea are a matter of concern. Black Sea states, individually and jointly, shall take measures to control any dumping activities that may take place.

44. Black Sea states, through the Istanbul Commission and  in accordance with article 3 of the Protocol on Dumping to the Bucharest Convention, shall define concentration levels for trace contaminants in dredged spoils, by 2005.

45. Black Sea states shall consider amending the Protocol on Dumping to the Bucharest Convention, in accordance with the London Convention 1972, including its subsequent amendments.

Dumping of any type of solid waste randomly in coastal waters etc. is prohibited in all the BS countries and the necessary regulations are available to control illegal dumping activities whereas there are no regional measures to control dumping activities in the BS therefore the reporting on the illegal dumping still should be developed. The Protocol on the Protection of the Black Sea Marine Environment Against Pollution by Dumping (1992) which is ratified by all the countries is the only legal instrument for the region at the moment which is basically based on a permit system to control dumping activities. Dumping of any type of hazardous substances is prohibited. However, this Protocol is rather outdated and upon consultation of BSC with IMO the London Protocol will be considered for adaption by the Contracting Parties.   If the IMO Guidelines for implementation of the London Convention and Protocol could first be adapted to the regional conditions and later approved by the Black Sea Commission, this would avoid the lengthy and costly procedure of amending the Black Sea Dumping Protocol.           

Dumping of dredged spoils is allowed by the Protocol only if the limits of its Annex I contaminant concentrations in the dredged material are not exceeded. Following the recommendations of the AG ESAS the development of limits to Annex I is considered as an outdated approach and full implementation of EIA procedure and proper monitoring were advised in line with IMO recommendations.

According to the recent annual reports of ESAS AG (2006, 2007), which are based on annual reporting of the Black Sea coastal states, volume of dredged spoils dumped into the Black Sea by the coastal states shows increasing tendency (See Annex II.17, Fig. 5).  The increase in volumes obviously may cause silting of the Black Sea bottom and valuable habitats destruction, if necessary precautionary measures will not be undertaken.  This is a vital issue especially for the protection of shallow waters.

The official dumping sites reported to the BSC are presented as of 2006 in Annex II.6. Damping is reported more or less properly by Romania, Russian Federation and Ukraine (Fig. 5, Annex II.17).

Guidelines on Management of Dredged Spoils in the Black Sea coastal states were drafted (based on OSPAR Guideline) and recommended by the BSC for testing in the BS States. Upon testing, the Guidelines will be further improved and adopted by the Black Sea Commission

Waste management

Waste management

46. The Black Sea coastal states will cooperate in developing and implementing environmentally sound waste management policies, giving due consideration to waste minimization, recycling and reuse.

National laws/regulations for waste management are in place in the Black Sea coastal states. Only in Georgia, there is no specific legislation on waste management, a new one is currently being drafted but has yet to be enacted. The current draft contains references to the listing and classification criteria for waste and hazardous waste set out in the Basel Convention as well as in the EU Framework Directive on Waste. 

Environmentally sound waste management techniques (sorting, recycling etc.) have been usually integrated in the waste management policies in almost all the countries where the use of landfills (Annex II.6.1) has been the only common application at the present status. In Bulgaria and Romania, landfills have been strictly regulated with EC norms. There is considerable progress in organization of new landfills in Turkey and Ukraine. In the EU Approximation Strategy of Turkey (2006), reduction of solid waste production has been considered as the major approach for the waste management and necessary legislative arrangements and development of plans/projects are under way to minimize wastes and use appropriate landfill operations.

By the rough estimate of BS TDA over 100 landfills (Annex II.6.1) exists at the Black coast of which around 60 % are authorized. Taking into account the importance of the adequate waste management in coastal areas the BSC intends to strengthen its work in this direction

The Marine Litter (ML) problem in the Black Sea region has been extensively studied in 2006-2007 and continues being in the focus of efforts to tackle this kind of pollution. In 2007 a first assessment was published by the BSC with the financial support of UNEP: MARINE LITTER IN THE BLACK SEA REGION: A REVIEW OF THE PROBLEM. The report evaluates existing data, policies, activities and institutional arrangements, proposes actions to further deal with the problem. Marine Litter Action Plan has been drafted and widely used in the SAP 2008. The whole plan needs to be adopted in the region as well.   UNEP Guidelines for monitoring and assessment of ML (when published) will be recommended to the Black Sea Commission for adoption.

Transboundary movement of hazardous wastes (HW)

Transboundary movement of hazardous wastes

47. By 2006, Black Sea states, through the Istanbul Commission, and in accordance with Resolution 1, adopted at the Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution, shall complete and adopt the text of a Protocol to the Bucharest Convention concerning the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and cooperation in combating illegal traffic thereof.

The Protocol on Cooperation in Combating Pollution of the BS Marine Environment by oil and other harmful substances in emergency situations is the only tool of the BSC to deal with transboundary movement of hazardous wastes. A Contingency Plan for the Black Sea was formed as an Annex to the Emergency Protocol ( which was elaborated in close cooperation with IMO and OSPRI (Oil Spill Preparedness Regional Initiative). The Contingency Plan (Part I, Oil Pollution) was signed by the Contracting Parties Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine

However, a dedicated Protocol concerning transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and illegal traffic does not exist. In order to follow transboundary movement of hazardous wastes in the region, it is necessary to identify priority actions in this direction in cooperation with IMO and Basel Convention and establish cooperation with the relevant stakeholders. Preliminary arrangement for Feasibility Studies on trans-frontier movement of hazardous wastes is high on the agenda of the Black Sea Commission for its development. Bulgaria, Russian Federation and Turkey have ratified the Basel Convention and the other BS states are in the accession period. Further promotion of the Basel Convention in the region, and efficient implementation of it by all parties could be sufficient to control the transboundary movement of HWs.   

A pilot project on Vessel Traffic Oil Pollution Information System has been initiated under BSERP and was finalized by the end of 2007 (See Appendix II, Final Report, summary).  The developed Information System might be a very useful tool for the region in controlling hazardous cargo as well. The need in Automatic Information System data exchange is recognized and first steps to achieve it undertaken. Transportation of hazardous substances (long-term trend) via the Istanbul straight is presented in Figure 6.B, Annex II.17.

Contingency Planning and emergency response

Contingency planning and emergency response

48. A Black Sea Strategy for contingency planning and emergency response shall be developed. It is recommended that the Istanbul Commission, upon the recommendation of its Advisory Group on the Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping, adopt such a Strategy, by December 1997. This Strategy should provide a basis for ensuring that the contingency plans developed within Black Sea states are sufficiently coordinated. It will also serve as a basis for the development of the regional contingency plan.

49. National and local contingency plans, covering both vessels and offshore installations, shall be improved and, where appropriate, adopted, by 2008. The responsibilities and obligations of governmental agencies in the event of marine emergencies shall be clearly defined. National contingency plans shall be developed in accordance with IMO guidelines, as well as other relevant international instruments, including the Black Sea Strategy for contingency planning and emergency response.

50. A Black Sea Contingency Plan shall be adopted. It is recommended that the Istanbul Commission, upon the recommendations of its Advisory Group on the Environmental Safety Aspect of Shipping, adopt such a plan by 2009. The Black Sea Contingency Plan should address the compatibility of: emergency equipment, reporting forms and oil spill data; classification of the scale of spillage’s; methods for evaluating the sensitivity of the coast to hazards; and spill decision support systems, including models for forecasting oil movements. In addition, regionally coordinated national classification and risk assessment systems shall be developed.

51. In order to ensure rapid and effective action by national emergency response agencies, each Black Sea state, in cooperation with the private sector and, where appropriate, with international and bilateral agencies, shall ensure that their own national agencies are adequately staffed and that the necessary resources are available to them.

52. Close cooperation shall be sought with the shipping, oil and gas sectors in order to ensure that, to the extent possible, the cost of developing and implementing contingency plans are born by these sectors.

The Black Sea Contingency Plan (response to oil spills, CP) to the Protocol on Cooperation in Combating of Pollution of the Black Sea by Oil and other Harmful Substances in Emergency Situations was signed in 2003. Three countries are parties to the Plan, however, it has been commonly accepted as a fully operational document in the region by all the states and is being implemented. The second part of the plan (for chemicals) will be developed at a next stage. The Annexes of the CP is under regular update. They are as follows:

·               Directory of competent national authorities, contact points, emergency response centres, national on-scene commanders and other relevant addresses;

·               Maps showing possible sources of pollution, environmental sensitive areas, priorities for protection;

·               Communication System;

·               Directory of response personnel and inventory of response equipment, products and other means which each party might offer as assistance in case of the activation of the Plan;

The BSC assists in organising professional trainings, courses and workshops in cooperation with IMO, JRC, OSPRI, etc., supports pilot projects and feasibility studies, and undertakes harmonization of strategies in combating oil pollution at the regional level.  Regional drills (BRAVO, DELTA, etc) take place regularly and successfully. The DELTA exercise SULH 2007 (Oil spill preparedness together with Search and Rescue operations) is a good example of this sort of cooperation for the Black Sea emergency response jointly organized by the BSC-ESAS AC/AG, private sector and national authorities. Hosting country was Turkey with a main contribution to the success of the exercise. Regular BRAVO exercises are carried out on a quarterly basis and rotation principle, DELTAs are every two years.

Harmonization of dispersants use in the region is initiated.

Workshops, seminars, courses in 2007 held were as follows:

·               Integration of international resources during large oil spills.

·               Deployment of equipment.

·               Use of dispersants – regional and workshops in Georgia and Turkey.

·               Aerial Surveillance Workshop

Workshop and training course on Satellite Monitoring and Assessment of Sea-based Oil Pollution in the Black Sea was carried out in Istanbul, 13 - 15 June 2005, in cooperation with JRC.

Romania and Bulgaria participate in CleanSeaNet.

National and local contingency plans have nearly been developed in all of the countries and there are ongoing efforts to complete/update them. The applications at the national level are summarized in Annex II.7.

Guidelines for reporting oil spills and Guidelines for oil spill exercises under the Black Sea Contingency plan have been drafted, tested and submitted to the approval by the BS Commission.

In order to better control and manage the oil spills that may happen in the Black Sea coastal and open waters sensitive areas at national territories and offshore waters have to be identified and mapped. There are limited information and studies at the national level, and the situation is even worse for the offshore areas. There is still a need to identify them taking into account the currents, spawning grounds, migratory routes of the anadromous fish species and dolphins, valuable habitats and other areas vital for the Black Sea ecosystem or human health (15th ESAS AG Meeting Minutes). Sensitivity maps were produced in MARPLOT with the support of BSERP in 2005, however, they require further elaboration and adoption at the national levels. These maps show possible sources of pollution, environmentally sensitive areas and priorities for protection of coastal areas.

The regional cooperation is also being strongly supported by OSPRI which is an initiative of the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association and represents an excellent example of public /private partnership.

The numbers of oil spills reported by the Black Sea coastal states for the period 1996-2006 are presented in Annex II.8 & Annex II.17, Fig. 6A. Between 1993 and 2002 a total of 580,000 tones of oil were spilled into the Black Sea in more than 470 incidents ( In the 1990s the average input of oil from accidents was 136 t/y, and the total input was estimated at 110.8 kt/y (including domestic, industrial, rivers, as the Danube river input was 53.3 kt/y, Black Sea Pollution Assessment, eds. L. Mee and G. Topping, UN Publication, New York, 1999). In 2002-2006 the number of accidents decreased considerably, up to 154 for the whole period and all states, and the average accidental input of oil was estimated at 99.93 t/y.

Assessment and monitoring of pollutants

Assessment and monitoring of pollutants

53. A “State of  Pollution of the Black Sea” report  will be prepared and published every five years, beginning 2006. It will be based on the data collected through the coordinated pollution monitoring and assessment programmes.

54. A Black Sea Monitoring System, based upon biological effects measurements and measurements of key contaminants, will be established in compliance with the Bucharest Convention. It will consist of the integration of obligatory national monitoring programmes, to be included in the National Strategic Action Plans, and an independent quality assurance system. It is advised that the Istanbul Commission develop such a quality assurance system through its Advisory Group on Pollution Monitoring and Assessment, by 2005.

55. A uniform measurement technique for bathing water quality with a common quality assurance support mechanism shall be developed. It is advised that the Istanbul Commission, upon the recommendations of its Advisory Group on Pollution Monitoring and Assessment, develop this uniform measurement technique by December 1997. Transparency shall be encouraged through the publication and free exchange of data from bathing water quality measurements on at least an annual basis.

56. Data regarding actual and assessed contaminant discharge measurements for point sources, rivers, and, where possible, diffuse sources, shall be compiled and freely exchanged beginning 2002 on an annual basis. It is advised that the Advisory Group Control of Pollution from Land Based Sources make these compilations in future.


The State of the Environment Report (SoE) of the Black Sea was published in 2002 by the BSC. The aim of the report was to analyze the pressures and trends in the Black Sea for 1996-2000. The 2nd SoE Report has been finalized in 2008 to cover the period 2001-2005 and presented at the Meeting of the Contracting Parties. It contains chapters on the general geochemistry and oceanography of the Black Sea, eutrophication and pollution, climate change impact, biodiversity, fishery and socio-economy, etc. prepared by 48 experts. Together with the TDA 2007, the SoE report 2008 gives full picture of the state of the Black Sea, pressures and trends, with a special emphasis on the basic transboundary problems – eutrophication, pollution, biodiversity change and overfishing. The main message of both reports is that we gradually improve our knowledge about the loads of pollutants stemming to the Black Sea from different sources, their levels in the water and sediments of the Sea, however, quite poorly knowing so far the level of contamination of biota. The contamination of biota is regularly monitored only by Romania since 2003 (Annex IV and V), but only in mussels for trace metals. Since 2001 the levels of major pollutants such as trace metals, pesticides, detergents, radionuclides, phenols and hydrocarbons in water have been more often bellow the maximum allowable concentrations (MAC), unlike previous periods when they were exceeding frequently the MAC in coastal waters. In impacted areas, such as bays and estuaries, ports and other marine facilities, recreational areas and in the vicinity of large cities the pollutants appear in higher concentrations. Detergents do not accumulate in sediments. All the other pollutants are of several orders of magnitude of higher concentrations in shelf sediments than in water. However, decreasing trends were recorded during the last years in comparison with the 1990s. The sediments of the open region of the Black Sea exhibit no indication of significant pollution, known also from previous investigations performed in the 1990s, with perhaps the exception of zinc.      

A Black Sea Monitoring System: The Black Sea Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (BSIMAP: 2001 first mentioned, final version adopted in 2006, 13th Meeting of the Commission, see, Information & Resources, with outlined optional and mandatory parameters, planned to act in the period 2006-2011) seeks to maximize the use of historical data from previously established monitoring sites for trend analysis, supported by new additional sites to improve the assessment of the current chemical/ecological status of the Black Sea.

Back Sea Information System (BSIS): collection of nationally reported data in the fields of land based sources, conservation of biodiversity, fisheries and other marine living resources, environmental safety aspects of shipping, integrated coastal zone management and pollution monitoring and assessment started in 2001. Special reporting templates (Excel Format) were developed at that time which were later several times amended to better specify information  needs for the decision making of the Black Sea Commission and the elaboration of the indicators necessary for assessments of Black Sea state and efficiency of the implemented policies.

The main purpose of the BSIS and BSIMAP is to provide reliable and consolidated data for ‘state of the environment’ reporting, ‘impact assessments’ of major pollutant sources, ‘transboundary diagnostic analysis’, SAP implementation reports (BSSAP process). The sites, parameters and monitoring frequencies also reflect data requirements for compliance with relevant national and international legislation and agreements.

Number of national monitoring sites included in the BSIMAP, with an indication of spatial coverage:

Territorial waters

Pollution Hot Spots

Sampling Sites

Length of coast, km

Average distance (km) represented per sampling site













21 (34 in the National Monitoring System)



Russian Federation







3 (69 since 2007)


466 (20 since 2005)






The most relevant international policies and agreements in terms of monitoring the Black Sea are considered to be not only the SAP for the Rehabilitation and Protection of the Black Sea, but attempts have also being made to harmonize approaches and principles with the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the proposed Marine Strategy Framework Directive which are obligatory for Romania, Bulgaria and seriously undertaken by Turkey in the accession process. The WFD requires Member States to identify water bodies, to establish type-specific reference conditions, to identify quantitatively the good quality status of an ecosystem, and this is already performed in Romania and Bulgaria. The Black Sea states identify their waters as: transitional, coastal and marine. Ukraine specified 3 stations in marine waters in the frames of the BSIMAP, all other states have stations reported to the BSC only in coastal and transitional waters. TU has not specified the nature of stations sampled. Occasionally Russia reports a transect up to 100 miles.  

The Black Sea coastal states agreed and implement in the frames of the BSIMAP:

·               standardised sampling, storage, analytical techniques, assessment methodologies and reporting formats. Standardised manual for nutrients analyses was written (based on Regional Seas Manual) and a series of workshops were held during 2005 to promote harmonization of techniques and capacity building. The process continues further developing, in 2007 the methodologies for identification of trace metals in sediments, biota and water were harmonized. IAEA (Regional Seas) Manuals will be used in the region. In 2008/9 the PMA AG will address the monitoring and analysis of pesticides.

·               agreed QA/QC procedures.

·               intercalibration and intercomparison exercises.

Almost all Black Sea coastal states adopted BSIMAP and integrated it into their national monitoring and assessment programs, with some difficulties still to be overcame in Georgia and monitoring efforts are not yet focused within a programme. In the Russian Federation an integrated state monitoring programme has been implemented since 2003. Romania and Turkey support observations of all mandatory parameters in the frames of the BSIMAP at a high number of stations and the frequency of sampling in Romania is in agreement with the WFD and BSIMAP.

In order to ensure data quality, in 2004, first Black Sea quality assurance intercomparison exercise for metals, nutrients, chlorinated pesticides and petroleum hydrocarbons was undertaken by seven laboratories reporting data to BSIMAP.  Since that time these exercises became regular for sediments, sea water and recently planned for biota. These exercises were achieved with the financial support of BSC and through technical cooperation  with IAEA/MEL and QUASIMEME.  

A uniform strategy for bathing waters is being elaborated with attempts undertaken in 2003 and later in 2007. Manual on Bathing Water was initially developed in 1996 by the Black Sea Environmental Project GEF/UNDP BSEP, however during the Bathing Water Experts Workshop in 2007 it was found outdated. Harmonization of methodologies and assessments of compliance was generally agreed, WHO guidelines were recommended for consideration, a decision was taken to develop bathing water quality classification matrix similar to the Mediterranean model for the Black Sea region. Beach profiles are expected to be developed soon in the region and compliance with regulations to be communicated via the WEB page of the BSC.

Black Sea coastal states annually deliver data (see Annex V) on sources and inputs to the BSC– before 1st of August, for the previous year by specially developed formats that are regularly improved and recently data quality control was introduced as an integral part of the work with the BSIS.  BSC Advisory Groups and Activity Centres play crucial role in delivering, validating and assessment of the reported data and information. In 2008, revision of the existing data base is undertaken with the participation of the Activity Centres and Chairmen of AGs. 

Important component of BSIS is the linking of spatial data available in GIS format (Black Sea GIS) with data from national reporting (monitoring, sensitivity zones, land based pollution sources, etc.). Additional data, such as designated protected areas, land use of the coastal zones are currently being digitized/reprocessed based on information presented by the countries. Nationally reported data was made accessible on the web by developing on-line BSIS divided into sectors.  However, the on-line BSIS still requires improvement of functionality and refining.

Living resources management

Commercially exploited resources & sustainable aquaculture

57. Fish are an integral part of the marine ecosystem, fish stocks thrive in a non-polluted and protected ecosystem and the marine ecosystem profits from properly managed fishing activities. The measures to reduce pollution and to protect biological diversity, habitat and landscape, as agreed upon in this Strategic Action Plan, are therefore pre-conditions for the restoration of commercial fisheries in the Black Sea. In addition, spawning and nursery grounds require special protection.

58. In order to rehabilitate ecosystems, which are of particular importance to Black Sea fisheries as a whole, Phyllophora fields and other critical nursery areas will receive special protection, spawning areas of anadromous species will be restored, and coastal lagoons will be rehabilitated. By 2003 each Black Sea state will develop at least one pilot project which will contribute to the restoration of areas vital to the recovery of Black Sea fish stocks.

59. In order to rehabilitate the Black Sea ecosystem and achieve sustainable fisheries in the Black Sea, fisheries management policies need to be enhanced and fishing effort needs to be adjusted to the status of the stocks. In this regard, the Black Sea coastal states are expected to expedite the adoption of the Fisheries Convention as soon as possible so as to develop a fisheries management system which consists of the following components: regular regionally coordinated stock assessments; national fishing authorisations for all Black Sea fishing vessels; a regional licensing system; and a quota system. In addition, enforcement of fisheries regulations urgently needs to be improved. These measures and others, which are required to attain more sustainable fisheries in the Black Sea, should be taken in close cooperation with the fishing sector.

71. Sustainable aquaculture should be stimulated, amongst other things, through the conduct of feasibility studies. In parallel, legislation enabling the regulation of aquaculture should be developed. Such legislation should ensure that aquaculture itself does not present a threat to the environment and should address issues, such as, the location and density of cages, releases of commercial strains, imports and releases of exotic species, quarantining and matters of hygiene. Moreover, aquaculture projects shall be subjected to environmental impact assessments in which the potential effect of the activity upon biological diversity are given careful consideration.

The decline in natural resources of the Black Sea, particularly the decline in fish stocks, (and the lack of a regional fisheries management system and the incomparable national practices), has been a high priority transboundary issue of the Black Sea to be handled (TDA 2007). The national gap analysis reports are also highlighting the problem in the reduction of fishing capacities and problems of the fishing sector. Commercially important marine living resources have been greatly affected by alien species introductions, eutrophication, over-fishing and habitats change/damage (SoE Report 2008, The illegal fishing and use of destructive harvesting techniques, lack of cooperative management of fisheries in the Black Sea and eutrophication are recognized as the most significant threats for fish resources. In the last report of the FOMLR AG (2007), it is also stated that the most commercially important species (anchovy, turbot, horse mackerel, whiting etc.) are at the state of overfishing whereas the stocks of sprat, mullets and mussels have improved during 2000-2005. The long-term dynamics of catches of pelagic and demersal fish in the Black Sea is given in Annex II.17, Fig. 7

The SoE report 2008 demonstrated that at present Danube populations of anadromous sturgeons and Pontic shad as well as whiting and turbot in the waters of Turkey have been overfished. In the waters of Turkey the state of striped mullet has also deteriorated due to the increasing fishing pressure. In 2000 – 2005 the state of anchovy, sprat, and aboriginal mullets and mussels stocks improved as compared with previous five-seven year period, horse mackerel stock remained depressed. Eventhough catches of pelagic fish (mostly anchovy and sprat) have increased since mid-90s, the levels are still half of the amount of catch values of mid 80s (TDA, 2007). Demersal fish catches have decreased considerably after 2000.  The highly variable stock dynamics and the lack of effective control over the fisheries make stock collapses quite likely in future. 

Annex II.9presents a summary of national efforts on the restoration of costal lagoons and spawning grounds undertaken in 2001-2005.

Regarding the regional fish stock assessment, the FOMLR AG continues the work on elaboration of regional stock assessments using agreed methodologies. Assistance will be sought from the European Union for the assessment of the Black Sea fish stocks as soon as harmonization of methodologies will be completed. A harmonized methodology for Anchovy was elaborated in 2007 and the Group is soon to finalise the evaluation of the stock of anchovy. BSC has also supported the establishment of a Stock Assessment Operational Group, which ToR included improved collection of data for stock assessments, analysis of data/information and estimation of marine fish stocks, and elaboration of recommendations for sustainable management of stocks.

The SoE report (2008)  and some recent publications show that  there are changes in the spawning and nursery grounds  to the great extent related to climate change and level of recovery of the Black Sea.

SAP Article 59 underlines the need for the rehabilitation of the Black Sea through the establishment of sustainable fisheries for the region and the development of a fisheries management system. A draft legally binding document (LBDF) has been prepared for this purpose and the Sofia Declaration has noted (2002) the intention of the BSC to finalize the legal text to be adopted for the region. The Draft LBDF is based on precautionary and ecosystem approaches. The draft LBDF proposes provisions on fish stocks and fishing capacities (adjustments for fishing fleet and gears), protection of marine mammals, prevention of introduction of non-indigenous species and as well proposing a new organizational structure while defining the role and responsibilities of it. Upon final agreement on the type of the legally binding document in fishery in the BS region further improvement of its text will be undertaken before signature by the contracting parties.

In the frames of the BSERP project maps of fish spawning areas and nursery grounds were elaborated.

The national legislation/policy tools in the fisheries sector has been summarized in Annex II.1 of this report. According to the nationally reported data, complete ban and seasonal ban on commercial fishing are applicable in all the BS states. Total allowable and permissible catches (TAC) are not applicable only in Turkey. Minimum admissible size, prohibited fishing gears and allowable mesh size for nets are also applicable in all the countries whereas fishing free zones present in Georgia, Romania, and Russian Federation and Ukraine. National Strategic Plan for Fishing and Aquaculture is available in Bulgaria and Romania for 2007-2013 and they implement the European Common Fisheries Policy.

Annex II.10shows the total abundance of Russian sturgeon in 1988-2005 as well as its official and unreported catch.  It is obvious that both the abundance and catch capacity has considerably decreased until 2005.  

Annex II.11provides information on the release of young commercial fish to the Black Sea to achieve recovery of stocks. For example, in Turkey re-stocking of P. maxima was applied, however, it seems that there are not any more efforts for other species. Also in Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine there has been continuous efforts for few species revitalization.  

Aquaculture activities have developed in production capacities both at inland and marine farms in Turkey. Similar trends have developed in other BS countries after 2001 (Annex II.12). 

Biological Diversity Protection

Biological diversity protection

60. The text of a Protocol on Biological Diversity and Landscape Protection to the Bucharest Convention shall be developed and adopted. It is advised that the Istanbul Commission adopt this Protocol by 2002, upon the recommendations of the Advisory Group on the Conservation of Biological Diversity. The aim is to present the Protocol to the 2001 Ministerial Meeting for signature, after which governments can initiate the national ratification process.

61. A regional Black Sea Red Data Book, identifying and describing endangered species, will be prepared and published by December 1998. It is advised that the work on the Red Data Book be coordinated by the Istanbul Commission, through its Advisory Group on the Conservation of Biological Diversity.

62. With the aim of restoring populations of marine mammals the following measures shall be taken:

a) A ban on the hunting of marine mammals will be enforced by all Black Sea states with immediate effect.

b) Regular population assessments of marine mammals shall be conducted and the first assessment will be completed by 2005. It is advised that these assessments be coordinated by the Istanbul Commission, through its Advisory Group on the Conservation of Biological Diversity.

c) The Centre for the Conservation of Biological Diversity in Batumi, Georgia, shall be provided with the necessary equipment in order to function as a regional rehabilitation centre for captive marine mammals.

d) National centres and sanctuaries for the rehabilitation of marine mammals shall be strengthened.

e) Consideration shall be given to modify fishing practices in order to avoid catching marine mammals, as by-catch, during normal operations. It is recommended that the Istanbul Commission, through its Advisory Group on the Conservation of Biological Diversity and its Advisory Group on the Environmental Aspects of Management of Fisheries and other Marine Living Resources, develop a strategy for the reduction of by-catches of marine mammals.

The Black Sea Biodiversity and Landscape Conservation Protocol was adopted in 2002 and signed by the    countries except Georgia and Russia and ratified by Turkey and Ukraine. A draft Strategy and Action Plan (BSBLCP-SAP) was also prepared for the implementation of the Protocol with targets/dates and a work plan was presented for 2005-2007 to be implemented by the BSC. Since 2003, the Annex 2: List of Species of Black Sea Importance and Annex 4: List of Species Whose Exploitation Shall Be Regulated, have been developed and according to the provision of the BSBLCP, they will be revised every 5 years.  The Black Sea Commission has standardized regional methodologies for the collection and analysis of plankton and zoobenthos samples. Guidelines were developed (Annex II, 15) and widely used in the region. Inter-calibration exercise for zooplankton has been undertaken, the results are under evaluation

The three marine mammal (cetaceans) species of the Black Sea are classified as DD (data deficient) in the Red Data Book of the Black Sea (1999).   They are included in Annex 2 of the BSBLCP as endangered species and in the same year the main gaps in conservation and research of them were jointly identified by BSC and ACCOBAMS and the need for a regional conservation plan was stressed. The lack of comprehensive information and data on commercial species, the health of population of marine mammals and human stress on the BS cetaceans has been the major gap for the conservation plan. The population state of the three Black Sea cetaceans is presented in Annex II.17, Fig.8.  The Monk seal, considered extinct, was sighted in the Black Sea recently.

Assessments of marine mammals populations were undertaken regularly in different parts of the Black Sea in the period 2001-2005. However, data on population of cetaceans are not included in the BSIS yet.   Besides, since 2004 cetaceans numbers are monitored in the SW Crimea near Balaklava, Ukraine – this area was identified by ACCOBAMS as a candidate area for pilot project in conservation and management. Funding for the  region-wide cetacean survey is still being sought, also a project proposal has been developed in line with recommendations and methodology of ICW sub-committee.  A List of Areas eligible for the protection of dolphins (Marine Protected Areas) has been elaborated during a special workshop (December 2006, Ref: which recommended improvements of the Marine Mammals component of the BSIS including  by-catch and strandings, population dynamics, diseases, implementation of measures, etc.

Bans on direct catches of cetaceans are enforced in all BS states and in four countries there is also international commitment as being Parties to ACCOBAMS (commercial dolphin fishery was banned in 1966 in the former USSR (present Georgia, Russia and Ukraine), Bulgaria and Romania; and in 1983 - in Turkey; since then a number of improvements of national and international legislation have been undertaken in order to protect the Black Sea ecosystem, biodiversity and the cetacean populations, in particular).

The ACCOBAMS~Conservation Plan for BS Cetaceans, as a whole, is a great contribution towards the implementation of the Biodiversity Protocol concerning the issues with marine mammals. The Black Sea Commission initiated national consultations on the adoption of the ACCOBAMS~Conservation Plan for BS Cetaceans  as a Plan for all Black Sea coastal states (the Russian Federation and Turkey are not Contracting Parties to ACCOBAMS), negotiations are in progress.

Annex II.13provides information on Dophlinaria existing in the Black Sea region, however, they are mostly commercial facilities, keeping dolphins in captivity, main activity –shows, and have no relation to protection of marine mammals in the Black Sea region.

Besides conservations efforts on the cetaceans of BS importance and increase in dolphins numbers, there are some other improvements in the BS ecosystem in the last years as mentioned in the SoE, 2008 report. Formerly “dead” areas of the NW Shelf are once again colonised by biota, with evidence of biodiversity continuing to increase. The pelagic ecosystem of western Black Sea coastal waters improved noticeably due to weakening of anthropogenic pressures. It is inferred by reduced nutrient inputs and fewer algal blooms, lower algal biomass, recovery of some algal populations, increasing plankton biodiversity, decreasing opportunistic and gelatinous pressures, and re-appearance of some native fodder zooplankton and fish species and increasing edible zooplankton biomass. The recovery of the benthic ecosystem is less evident.

However, the picture with the invasive species is still a threatening one. The regions shallower than 30-40 m depths still symptoms of some undesirable disturbances, the most important of which is exerted by the alien opportunistic species such as bivalve species Mya arenaria, soft-clam species Anadara inequivalvis, gastropod species Rapana. The number of registered alien species at the regional level amounts to 217 (parasites and mycelium excluded). Nearly half of them (102) are permanently established, and a quarter - highly or moderately invasive (20 and 35 species respectively). This high ratio of invasive aliens suggests a serious impact on the Black Sea native biological diversity, with negative consequences for human activities and economic interests. Between 1996 and 2005 a total of 48 new alien species were recorded, which represents over 22 % of all registered aliens. The majority belong to phytoplankton (16) and zoobenthos (15), followed by zooplankton (8), fish (5), macroalgae (3) and mammals (1) (Ref. National Reporting CBD AG Annual reports).   

In the frames of the IMO GLOBALLAST Program in the BS region (2001-2004) Regional Action Plan to minimize the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in ships ballast water was drafted and its main recommendations were incorporated in the updated SAP2008.  

Protection of Habitats and Landscapes

Protection of Habitats and Landscapes

63. In addition to the actions referred to in paragraphs 57, 58, and 59 of this Strategic Action Plan, the following measures will also be taken to protect habitats and landscape in the Black Sea region.

64. In marine and coastal areas, and in particular in wetlands, new conservation areas shall be designated and the protection of existing conservation areas enhanced. In drafting their National Biological Diversity Strategies, Black Sea states shall take into consideration the integrity of the Black Sea system, by, for example, designating conservation areas which are of regional significance.

65. With a view to enhancing the protection of habitats and landscape in the Black Sea region, both national and regional regulatory instruments shall be improved through the following actions.

a) A Regional Strategy for Conservation Areas shall be adopted, and it shall be reviewed every five years. It is advised that the Istanbul Commission adopt the plan by 2004, and conduct the reviews, upon the recommendations of its Advisory Group on the Conservation of Biological Diversity. The plan, amongst other things, should address the following: priority locations which should be designated as conservation areas; priority locations where current measures for protection should be enhanced; objectives, standards and measures for the protection of conservation areas; and fund raising aspects.

b) Each Black Sea state, by 2000, shall endeavour to revise, and where applicable adopt, in accordance with its own legal system, national laws, regulations and planning instruments for the protection of conservation areas. These laws, regulations and planning instruments shall conform with relevant international instruments, including the Regional Strategy for Conservation Areas. The national instruments, amongst other things, should identify the responsible management authority and the responsible government agency; include procedures for the identification of conservation areas; require that management plans be developed for each conservation area; set standards for managing conservation areas; and, where appropriate, establish procedures for public participation and partnerships between governmental agencies and NGO’s for the management of conservation areas.

The total surface of Black Sea marine and coastal protected areas by country has been lately presented in the TDA, 2007 (Table 3.6 of TDA) which indicated a significant progress in conservation of biodiversity in the Black Sea region, especially during 1990s. According to the statistics presented in TDA (2007), the largest MPAs were designated by Ukraine, while largest coastal wetlands and terrestrial areas were designated by Romania. In this analysis, there was no data from the Russian Federation. A more complete picture has been drawn including all the countries and presented in of Annex II.17, Fig. 9. Additional information on the present status of Black Sea PAs is also provided in Annex II.14.

As stated in the BSERP Final Report (2007), habitat status is a critical component of maintaining high levels of biodiversity within the Black Sea and the ecosystem(s) of the Black Sea are found to be seriously damaged and in need of legal protection. Those habitats most at risk include the neritic water column/bottom, coastal lagoons, estuaries/deltas and wetlands/saltmarshes. 

At present, a regional strategy for conservation areas does not exist in the Black Sea. However, process of designation of marine and coastal protected areas is in development, based on the national strategies and plans available in all countries. 

The increase of protected areas and the improvement of conservation of species, ecosystems and habitats, with particular attention to marine protected areas, and the management of them in a sustainable and environmentally sound way aiming at establishing the Black Sea Ecological Network are the core objectives of the draft BSBLCP-SAP targeting at:

·               - enlargement of Black Sea Reserves taking into consideration the most important breeding, feeding and wintering grounds and migration routes of fish and marine mammals and birds, map them using advanced information technologies, and establish a regional mechanism for regular information flow between them.

·               - preparation of Black Sea Guidelines for Establishing Marine and Transboundary Protected Areas

·               - all protected areas have corresponding management plans and establishment of regular exchange of  information between them;

·               - The restoration and rehabilitation of damaged areas of previously high biodiversity value, including lagoons and spawning grounds, is also required by the BSBLCP-SAP.

In 2007 a special workshop took place jointly organized by the BSC PS and the EEA- European Topic Center on Biological Diversity. The Workshop produced a full list of Black Sea Habitats, on the basis of which the Annex 1 of the CBD Protocol will be finalised.  Simultaneously two important projects run activities in relation to designation of MPAs in the Black Sea region – MATRA (EUCC-The Coastal Union) -   The development of an indicative, ecologically coherent network of sub-tidal Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Bulgaria and Romania; and EuropeAid (Black Sea Environmental Collaboration Project) working on Marine Protected Area Policy and Strategy. On the request of the Black Sea Commission BSERP assisted and facilitated the process by development of different kind of mapping. The MATRA Project initiated a work which has to be enlarged to all the other BS states – identification of endangered habitats of Black Sea importance, which would need special protection. The need for transboundary MPAs was recognized and maps of areas eligible for designation were prepared.  All these different maps together with the available Contingency Plan maps (sensitivity index, risk index) should be used to further proceed with the designation of MPAs in the region and later networking. The EuropeAid project drafted the needed policy document in support of the process and initiated case study in the Karkinitsky Bay.

Information on Black Sea habitats is presented in Annex II.15, including list of habitats critical to survival, reproduction and recovery of threatened flora and fauna species.

Sustainable Human Development

Environmental Impact Assessment

67. By 1998, all Black Sea coastal states will adopt criteria for environmental impact assessments and environmental audits that will be compulsory for all public and private projects. The coastal states will cooperate to harmonize these criteria by 1999 and where possible, to introduce strategic environmental assessments.

Black Sea States implement EIA procedures and rules developed under appropriate national legislation (Annex II.1). SEA is also being considered by most of the countries where efficiently applied only in two European States at present. Both approaches were also dealt under “anticipatory actions” of the principles of SAP (Art.10) and discussed in the beginning of the report.

The EIA in transboundary context is currently under discussion in the Black Sea region. The inspired Convention in this activity, the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (ESPOO, 1991) has been ratified by 3 BS states (Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine) whereas Russian Federation signed but not ratified the Protocol yet.

Two workshops were conducted for representatives of Black Sea coastal states for exchanging experience with experts on the Caspian and Baltic Seas within the context of environmental impact assessments for transbounry projects. The need for the preparation of Black Sea Guidelines on Environmental Impact Assessments for transboundary projects was emphasized and the  ESPOO Secretariat  was invited to assist in drafting the needed document.

Integrated coastal zone management and sustainable tourism

Integrated coastal zone management and sustainable tourism

68. In order to ensure proper management of the coastal zone, coordinated integrated coastal zone management strategies shall be developed for the Black Sea region. In order to attain this the following actions will be taken.

a) A Regional Black Sea Strategy for integrated coastal zone management shall be developed. It is advised that the Istanbul Commission develop such a strategy by 2005, upon the recommendations of its Advisory Group on the Development of Common Methodologies for Integrated Coastal Zone Management. The regional strategy should elaborate basic principles and methodologies for land- and water-use planning as well as for designing zoning systems. The methodologies and principles recommended in the regional strategy shall be taken into account when developing or reviewing national strategies and planning instruments for integrated coastal zone management.

b) Each Black Sea coastal state shall endeavour to adopt and implement, in accordance with its own legal system, by 1999, the legal and other instruments required to facilitate integrated coastal zone management.

c) Inter-sectoral committees for integrated coastal zone management shall be established at the national, regional and local levels of public administration, where appropriate, by the end of 1997. These committees shall design and implement national plans for integrated coastal zone management through participatory approaches.

69. Erosion and land degradation have important environmental and social impacts. Coastal erosion, due to the changed hydraulic conditions in many of the regions rivers, is a problem which has transboundary implications. Deforestation is another major factor contributing to land degradation. A survey of coastal erosion problems in the region will be conducted by 2005. It is recommended that the Istanbul Commission, through its Advisory Group on the Development of Common Methodologies for Integrated Coastal Zone Management coordinate the work on this survey. The survey should address the magnitude of the problem, including its economic implications; propose remedial actions, and include suggestions for pilot studies and demonstration projects.

70. Aquaculture and tourism are two areas considered to have scope for economic growth in the Black Sea and to benefit the region in general. In order to avoid environmental damage resulting from these activities, and particularly damage with transboundary implications, their development shall be managed along common environmental norms to be established by 2006. It is advised that the Istanbul Commission, with the support of its Advisory Groups, adopt these common norms and liaise, where appropriate, with the Fisheries Commission, once this body has been established, to adopt an industry code of practice.

72. Eco-tourism should be stimulated in the region, amongst other things, through the implementation of concrete pilot projects in Black Sea coastal states. In close cooperation with the tourist industry and the national tourism authorities, environmental codes of conduct and training courses in sustainable tourism will be developed. The tourism industry, both for the benefit of the industry and for the benefit of the environment, needs to be more adequately planned with a view to incorporating concerns such as those related to water supply, sewage treatment bathing water quality, the use of natural resources and resort development into newly developed projects from the beginning. Moreover, it shall be required that tourist development projects be subjected to environmental impact assessments.

A draft regional ICZM Strategy was prepared and Annex I of it presents proposals at national and regional levels for legislative improvements, creation of ICZM institutional framework, development of economic instruments, development of pilot projects at the local level, ICZM training and education and establishment of ICZM monitoring and reporting system. Clear guidelines of an ICZM approach have also been provided within the Strategy to the Black Sea countries. The updated SAP includes ICZM targets, such as: Further recognise and implement integrated coastal zone management principles into policies; Develop and disseminate information, training and education materials on ICZM in regional languages, referring to coastal and marine biodiversity conservation, Identify and make an inventory of Black Sea landscapes of high natural, historical, cultural and aesthetic value; Undertake preliminary regional assessment of coastal erosion, etc.

ICZM AG – BSC has conducted a survey among the BS States to measure the progress made from the year 2000 to 2005 in terms of “aspects of coastal planning and management”, “availability of a framework as a basis of ICZM development”, “most aspects of ICZM are in place and functioning” and “efficient, adaptive and integrative process embedded at different levels of governance”. The evaluations provided by the countries at 3 levels; local, national and regional, for 31 specific question are presented in Annex II.16.2. During the mentioned time frame, none of the countries have shown constant and really effective political support for the ICZM process. Coastal planning and management aspects seem to be mostly in place in Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine whereas less developed in other countries. The framework to carry ICZM forward is almost complete in Bulgaria and Romania, whereas absent in other countries.  The improvement by time at the local and national levels is most pronounced in Romania, however, funding is a problem for all the countries to undertake actions on the coast.

Coastal erosion and deforestation have been dealt with national policies, plans and projects, however, a regional survey for Black Sea erosion was not organized due to lack of proper financing and interest of the international donors, including BSERP Nevertheless the Black Sea Commission will continue its efforts in improving cooperation for combating coastal erosion and deforestation based on the BEP and BAT.

A number of pilot projects for testing of ICZM methodology on spatial planning for ICZM  were implemented in the Black Sea coastal states with financial support of international donors and based on the methodology drafted by the ICZM Activity Center, Russian Federation in 1999-2000 (tested initially in the Russian resort town of Gelendzhik) under the EU funded TACIS project. Within the EuropeAid project (“Technical Assistance to the Black Sea Environmental Program” 2002 – 2004) together with the regional ICZM Strategy, mentioned above, the following documents were also developed: 

·               Guidelines For Preparation of National Codes of Conduct For Coastal Zones of Black Sea States;

·               ICZM Tools and Techniques (Best practices);

·               Glossary of ICZM Legal Terms.

BSERP supported a pilot ICZM project in Turkey, The Akçakoca District Pilot Project (see final report,, and it proved the methodology can be used successfully for the purposes of protecting, improving and sustaining an area within the context of Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

EuropeAid project ( and its ICZM component in 2007-8:  The spatial planning methodology mentioned above so far has proven its value also in Tskhaltminda, Georgia. The maps produced with this methodology will be further refined and used for conflict resolution and illustration of opportunities for village development. A local ICZM plan can be expected for late autumn 2008.

An overview of regional activities in ICZM for the period 1993-2008 is provided in Annex II. 16.1.