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Saving the Black Sea

Issue 10 Nov 2006 - Oct 2007 Official newsletter of the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution and the UNDP-GEF Black Sea Ecosystem Recovery Project

Black Sea Commission - Newsletter No 10

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

What is the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan (BS SAP)?

This is an international agreement, signed at ministerial level, between the six Black Sea coastal countries to undertake a series of specified actions for the protection of the Sea against the major transboundary problems identified in the most recent Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA).

TDA Revision As A Step For BS SAP Update

During 2006, a revision of the 1996 Black Sea TDA was started; an activity that culminated in the production of the 2007 Black Sea TDA. This includes an overview of Black Sea Region socio-economics, geography, land uses and environment. It also provides an overview of the environmental status of the Sea itself, details and opinions of stakeholder groups and an assessment of progress in undertaking capital investments to upgrade/rebuild the 50 industrial/municipal pollution hot spots identified from the 1996 TDA. However, the overall emphasis of the 2007 BS TDA is on investigating the impacts (environmental and socio-economic), management, scope and causes (immediate underlying and root) of the following 4 major transboundary problems:

1.       Nutrient over-enrichment / eutrophication

2.       Changes in commercial marine living resources

3.       Chemical pollution, including oil

4.       Biodiversity changes, including alien species introduction

Other steps

During the latter stages of TDA production, initial meetings were organized to start production of an updated version of the 1996 BS SAP. The major sources of information used for this were:

1.       The 1996 BS SAP

2.       An EU-funded gap analysis of progress in achieving the targets laid out in the 1996 BS SAP

3.       The 2007 BS TDA

4.       Extensive discussions with and input from the Permanent Secretariat and Advisory Groups of the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (BSC).

In line with GEF guidance on best practice, the 2007 Technical Draft SAP is based around a series of Environmental Quality Objectives (EcoQOs). These are statements regarding a vision for the Black Sea that reflect how stakeholders would like the state of the Black Sea to be over the long term, based on a resolution of priority problems identified in the BS TDA. The EcoQOs developed are as follows:

EcoQO 1-Conserve Marine Living Resources. Undertake regular stock assessments and improve the collection of fish landings data. Without these any data gathered on fishery status, fishery related actions will be very weak (e.g. the setting of quotas) and may, therefore, be ill-advised. This is a necessary pre-cursor/adjunct to developing a legally binding document on Fisheries.

EcoQO 2-Conserve Biodiversity and Habitats,. Alien species introductions need to be tackled more effectively, requiring a much greater emphasis on the globallast programme/Ballast Water Management (BWM) convention of IMO and further development of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and associated coastal wetlands.

EcoQO 3-Reduce Eutrophication. Nutrient pollution from agriculture is without doubt the main priority. It is clear that policies and practices need to be revised so that as national economies recover, the environment do not face the same problems (particularly in the NW Shelf) as those observed in the 1980s and early 1990s. In particular, the emphasis needs to be on livestock rather than arable farming, particularly with regard to manure/slurry disposal. Substantial efforts have already been undertaken in some, but not all, countries.

EcoQO 4-Improve Water Quality. At present it is not very clear whether chemical pollution really is an issue, because of the lack of good quality monitoring data. Monitoring needs to be addressed, including participation in quality assurance//quality control programmes. This includes monitoring of marine water quality and biology, river and point source discharge loads, sediment chemistry, and marine bioaccumulation/body burden monitoring.

Based around these EcoQOs an extensive list (109 in total) of short-, medium- and long-term management targets was proposed.

Regional costs for these 109 proposed targets have been estimated and nominations for National Representatives have been requested from all Black Sea countries. These proposed targets were initially assessed in terms of their relative importance (low, medium or high), but the overall scope of the targets is considered too great to dovetail with national budgets and the priorities need to be re-assessed.

Comments on the text of the SAP Technical Draft will also be sought from the National Representatives. Once total regional costs, budgets and priorities are known, a series of votes will be taken to reduce the number of proposed management targets to a manageable level and the Technical Draft SAP updated to account for these decisions. The aim is to have a negotiated version of the SAP ready for signing at a ministerial conference in Kiev.

Process of Updating of LBSA Protocol to the Bucharest Convention

The process of updating the existing Protocol on the Protection of the Black Sea Marine Environment against Pollution from Land-based Sources (LBS Protocol) to the Bucharest Convention has been supported by the BSERP and UNEP since 2002.

At the request of the project Project Implementation Unit (PIU), UNEP became responsible for: (i) the preparation of recommendations for a revised draft LBS Protocol; and (ii) the preparation of a Proposed Work Programme to enhance the implementation of the Black Sea LBS Protocol taking into consideration the Global Program of Action (GPA) objectives.

An Inter-Agency Agreement (IAA) was signed between UNEP/GPA Coordination Office (UNEP/GPA) and UNOPS in August 2003 to undertake these activities under component 2 of the BSERP on Regional actions for improving land-based activities and legislation to control eutrophication and tackling emergent problems.


UNEP/GPA and UNEP Regional Office for Europe (ROE), in consultation with the BSERP-PIU and the Permanent Secretariat of the Black Sea Commission (BSC-PS), undertook the process to deliver the products under its responsibility. The process included consultations, collection of information and working meetings as follows:

          Exchange of views during the Second Meeting of the Project Steering Committee of the BSERP (Sept. 2003, Istanbul);

          Exchange of views during the 10th Meeting of the BSC (Oct. 2003, Istanbul);

          1st Consultative Meeting on the revision of the LBS Protocol, GPA Work Programme for the Black Sea, the EU Water Framework Directive and the EU Marine Strategy (Jan. 2004, Istanbul)

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          Collection of up-to-date information relevant to the formulation of the Revised LBS Protocol and the Work Programme to Enhance the Implementation of the Black Sea LBS Protocol, through the direct and full involvement of the national focal points (members of the LBS Advisory Group of the BSC) and the BSC-PS (

          2nd Consultative Meeting (May 2004, Istanbul)

          Joint Meeting of the LBS Advisory Group and the Working Group on Water Framework Directive (July 2004, Istanbul);

          Two working meetings among the international consultants and UNEP representatives at the UNEP/GPA Coordination Office;

          Compilation of information on priorities and needs of the BS countries through the completion by national authorities of questionnaires prepared by the UNEP team;

          Preparation of a Concept paper on the Principal Elements of the Revised LBS Protocol (May 2004).


UNEP timely submitted on 16 September 2004 the final report of the IAA to UNOPS, BSERP-PIU and BSC-PS. This included:

          A proposed Revised Protocol for the Protection of the Black Sea from Land-based Sources and Activities; and

          A proposed Work Programme to Enhance the Implementation of the Black Sea LBS Protocol Taking into Consideration the GPA Objectives.

UNEP was invited to present the above deliveries to the BSC 11th Meeting (Nov.2004, Istanbul) and to the Inception Meeting of the Second Phase of the BSERP (Nov. 2004, Istanbul). The BSC at its 11th Meeting decided to approve the proposed Revised LBS Protocol and to submit it for national consultations and possible adoption at the next Ministerial Meeting. The proposed Work Programme for the BSC-PS 2004-2005 was also approved and would be subject to national consultations within a months time.

It was agreed that the following activities would be undertaken by the PIU with UNEPs support:

          Activity 2.1.: Finalization of the annexes to the revised LBA Protocol to the Bucharest Convention;

          Activity 2.2.: Organization of national workshops in support of capacity-building of national and local authorities responsible for the implementation of the Revised LBS Protocol; and

          Activity 2.3.: Facilitation of the process of national consultations, and further implementation of the Revised LBS Protocol.

In compliance with the tasks assigned to it, UNEP produced the following outputs and has reiterated its readiness to assist the BS countries in the final regional negotiation of the Draft Revised LBSA Protocol and, as appropriate and requested, the BSC-PS, in the official submission of the Draft Revised LBSA Protocol to governments requesting them to initiate the appropriate internal procedures for its approval and signing at the Ministerial Meeting of the Contracting Parties:

          A Draft Revised Protocol for the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution form Land-based Sources and Activities (LBSA), including its five technical annexes;

          An Explanatory Note to the Draft Revised LBSA Protocol (Nov. 2006);

          An Introductory Note to the final Draft Revised LBSA Protocol (Oct. 2007):

          Six National Workshops in Support of Capacity-Building of National and Local Authorities Responsible for the Implementation of the LBSA Protocol to the Bucharest Convention held in each of the Black Sea countries between 2006 and 2007. It was considered by the BS countries, the BSC and the BSERP that the workshops provided an excellent opportunity for each of the countries to prepare for the workshops through national inter-sectoral consultations, and for UNEP to draw attention on outstanding issues in the Draft Revised LBSA Protocol to the different national and local authorities in each country. Thus it was not considered necessary to organise specific national consultative meetings

          An awareness leaflet on the need and reasons for the revision of the LBS Protocol, which also explains its new provisions, translated into the six BS languages.

The finalization of the LBSA Protocol is continuing.

Black Sea Regional Exercise on Oil Spill Preparedness and SAR in Turkey; SULH 2007

A Black Sea Delta Exercise called SULH 2007 (Sea of United Living and Hospitality) was conducted on a regional scale during 5-7 September 2007 in Karadeniz Eregli on the western Black Sea coast of Turkey. The exercise composed of all relevant emergency response components including marine pollution preparedness and response, fire fighting, emergency towing and search and rescue (SAR).

The Emergency Response Protocol (Protocol on Cooperation in Combatting Pollution of the Black Sea Marine Environment by Oil and Other Harmful Substances in Emergency Situations) to the Bucharest Convention addresses cooperation mechanisms to make intervention in emergency situations for cases of major pollutions caused by oil or other harmful substances resulting from shipping accidents and the related operational procedures are given in the Black Sea Contingency Plan. This regional framework complements International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation 1990 (OPRC Convention 1990), which is currently ratified by four of the six littoral states.

In 2005, the Black Sea Commissions Advisory Group on Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping established a detailed regional exercise programme, designed to implement and test the Black Sea Contingency Plan.

The main aim of the SULH 2007 Black Sea DELTA Exercise is to test the cooperation among the Black Sea littoral states within the framework of Ankara Agreement dated November 27, 1998 (Cooperation Agreement on the Search and Rescue Services Among Black Sea Littoral States) and to increase the cooperation among the signatory states to the Bucharest Convention dated 1992 and its Protocol on the Cooperation to Combat Against Marine Pollution by Oil and Other Harmful Substances .

The SULH 2007 extended over three days and involved all the littoral states and the other relevant stakeholders including the port operating and oil spill response private companies, municipality and the oil and shipping industries. In total, the SULH 2007 involved the participation of around 250 people representing more than 70 different organizations and including 12 nationalities.

A series of technical seminars and workshops covering the basic needed elements of a drill were held before the exercise to build up capacity in preparation for the exercise.

The exercise was based on a scenario in which a large size oil tanker and a Ro-Ro passenger vessel collide 12 nautical miles off shore. Tanker M/T Ottomon Nobility which departs from Novorossiysk port of Russian Federation carries Kazakhstan crude oil and navigates in the Black Sea. Ro-Ro vessel M/F Erdeniz departs from Odessa port of Ukraine and carries cars and trucks with additional 22 passengers to Karadeniz Eregli port.

The accident takes place on 5 September 2007 at 12:05 hours. As a result of collision, tanker has a serious tear in no. 1 tank on its starboard side and some of the cargo spills into the sea and fire starts on the deck. There are injured crew members and passengers reported. The accident is immediately informed by the master of M/T Ottoman Nobility to Turkish Radio at VHF channel 16. And collision position determined from VHF DSC by Turkish Radio and the real EPIRB signal from Ro-Ro vessel determined by the TRMCC Ankara (Turkey Mission Coordination Center in Ankara) through COSPAS-SARSAT system.

The exercise was hosted by Turkey (coordinated by the Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs - UMA) but planned and realized through the cooperation and participation of all Black Sea littoral States under the umbrella of the Commission for the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution. Russian Federation and Romania contributed the exercise by equipment and trained staff and other Black Sea littoral states participated with observers. A Black Sea Delta Exercise in this scale has been carried out for the first time in the Black Sea region. SULH 2007 was a full test of the Black Sea Contingency Plan and the mobilization and deployment of oil pollution combating resources.

The overview of the exercise

Phase 1 (5 September 2007)

          Briefing is held for press and all participants & observers before the exercise starts

          1st phase commences with the distress signal and proceeds with Search and Rescue, emergency medical assistance and transfer of the survivors to shore and then fire-fighting, damage stability control and emergency towing of the tanker to a safe anchorage area and communication of littoral states according to the Black Sea Contingency Plan pollution reporting procedure.

Phase 2 (6 September 2007)

          The response to oil spill is realized jointly in cooperation in accordance with the Black Sea Contingency Plan.

          Components of response to the oil pollution include off-shore waste oil recovery, shoreline clean-up in Ereğli port and on beach clean-up.

          Assessment of claims and compensation issues for cost of clean-up activities and damages caused by the oil spill, and other relevant activities are realized.

Phase 3 (7 September 2007)

          The hot wash-up covering a briefing and an evaluation of the exercise, informing the press, open forum among the participants and observers on the exercise as well as a discussion on good areas and points to be improved.


Turkey has successfully organized and implemented the Black Sea Delta Exercise SULH 2007 with the support of Black Sea Commission, Black Sea littoral states, OSPRI (Oil Spill Preparedness Regional Initiative) and other private organizations. The three-day exercise covered all the relevant components of maritime accidents; communication, SAR, emergency medical assistance, emergency towing to safe anchorage area, oil pollution response off shore and shore line clean-up and claims and compensation issues. Initial communication and SAR intervention and medical assistance have been made successfully and oil spill both off-shore and stranded along the coasts have been collected or cleaned up in good coordination.

Turkey plans to carry out oil spill exercise at least 3 times from now on, one on national scale (Tier-3) and two on district scale (sub-national, Tier-2). Turkey also proposed in the 16th AGESAS meeting under Black Sea Commission in Istanbul in October 2007 that every two year Black Sea regional scale Delta Exercises should be performed and invited other Black Sea littoral States to take the turn.

The Black Sea littoral states have demonstrated effective cooperation, commitment and willingness among the littoral States in case of large oil spills caused by shipping accidents in the Black Sea. The support provided by OSPRI both during the preparation and exercise stages is also appreciated. It is believed that the cooperation and coordination between the Lead State and the industry is also an important element in the emergency response situation.


Relevant national NGOs specialized or potentially beneficial in this field are suggested to be integrated into similar exercises in the future aiming to increase effectiveness of the response and to annihilate catastrophic results of marine accidents resulting in oil pollution.



2007 Meetings of the European Group of Experts on Satellite Monitoring of Sea-based Oil Pollution (EGEMP)

Marine oil spills, both potential and actual, pose a risk for the European coastlines in terms of ecological damage, socio-economic losses and the influence on the coastal industry. This is the reason why the European coastal states have decided to establish surveillance systems to monitor the state of the seas, deter potential polluters and support combating activities.

To exchange knowledge, harmonize the systems, achieve synergies and support a common approach, the DG Environment (ENV) and the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission (EC) took the initiative in 2004 to set up a working group of national experts on satellite monitoring techniques for detection of oil spills on European waters: the European Group of Experts on Satellite Monitoring of Sea-based Oil Pollution (EGEMP).

The Group is a consulting body aiming to support the members in understanding, verifying, and evaluating satellite monitoring activities for oil spill detection. EGEMP acts as technical-scientific Working Group in support of the European Commission and other EU institutions such as the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), EU Member States, EU Candidate Countries and maritime EEA Countries (Norway and Iceland) in the field monitoring and assessment of sea-based oil pollution.

The primary objectives of the Group are:

          To be the focal point for a comprehensive exchange of information, knowledge and expertise regarding the monitoring, the extent and the development of sea-based oil pollution at European level.

          To support the assessment of technical and operational aspects of satellite-based oil spill monitoring and to evaluate new technologies for this purpose.

          To monitor projects during their lifetime in terms of operational abilities and usefulness for the group members.

          To recommend on technical and operational aspects.

          To provide support for political sound decisions.

On 11-13 June 2007 the 7th EGEMP Meeting took place in Ispra at the presence of Delegations from 18 Member States; the EEA Countries; 2 Candidate Countries; the European Union, represented by JRC and EMSA; and secretariats of relevant Regional Agreements, such as the Black Sea Commission and the REMPEC (Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea). Countries who were unable to attend confirmed their interest in following and supporting the activities of the Group.

The JRC presented its new institutional Action on Maritime Surveillance (MASURE), whose primary aim is to support EU policy makers on scientific and technical aspects related to maritime surveillance: pollution, fisheries control, border control, maritime safety and security.

Several new national and regional relevant activities were illustrated. Among them, preliminary results of the Super CEPCO (Coordinated Extended Pollution Control Operation) operation to monitor the main shipping lanes known for dense traffic, with satellite imagery were shown. The Super CEPCO operation, organized by the Contracting Parties of the Bonn Agreement, consisted of a ten-day-long continuous aerial surveillance over the Dover Strait and part of the North Sea Channel in April 2007.

All available Bonn Agreement surveillance aircraft were deployed and a maximum of satellite imagery (Envisat, Radarsat, ERS and MODIS) was acquired for evaluation and/or operational purposes. Most SAR imagery was delivered through EMSAs CleanSeaNet (CSN) service and used as a first alert to guide the flying aircraft. During the Super CEPCO five discharging vessels were observed and documented: four of them were discharging mineral oil, while one vessel was a MARPOL Annex 2 case.

The subsequent 8th Meeting was held in Lisbon on the 13th of November, following the EMSA Clean Sea Net (CSN) User Group, at the presence of 10 Member States; NOR, Croatia and Turkey; JRC and EMSA as representative of the European Union; the European Space Agency (ESA), and secretariats of relevant Regional Agreements, such as the Black Sea Commission and the CILPLAN (Lisbon Agreement).

The current status of MARCOAST and related ESA developments were illustrated by ESA, while the Black Sea Commission presented relevant activities developed in the framework of the Interaction schema of the means of an integrated surveillance system to detect oil spills at sea.

Discussion inside the Group highlighted the need to define recommendation for an oil spill classification system which should in a simple way provide the necessary information for the national follow-up activities.

EGEMP agreed on the importance to continue regular meetings to exchange information on topics of interest for the Group: the 9th EGEMP Meeting will be held in Ispra in June 2008, jointly with the EMSA CSN User Group, MarCoast and MonRUK (Monitoring the marine environment in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan using Synthetic Aperture Radar) project meetings. Possible items for the next agenda are further contacts with MarCoast, with specific attention on the activities developed in the field of definition of the confidence level of the images and on the validation/verification activities; state of the art on the use of UAV for maritime surveillance and developments on the use of hyperspectral line scanning.

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Turkish Research Vessel YUNUS-S in Romanian Waters

The Fisheries Faculty at Istanbul University in Turkey had an expedition to Constanta, the fourth largest harbour in Europe, by R/V YUNUS-S between 25 October - 3 November 2007. The aim of the cruise was to investigate the western Black Sea waters and join the International Symposium Protection and Sustainable Management of the Black Sea Ecosystem, third millennium imperative organized by the Romanian National Institute for Marine Research and Development (NIMRD).

During the 420 nm cruise, the samples were taken for bacteriological and oil pollution analysis. Physicochemical data were collected with CTD equipment from the entire sea column at 14 stations in the Bulgarian, Romanian and Turkish waters. The aim of the trawling operations in Turkish waters was to understand the biological diversity for benthic zone in the area, especially on the status of the turbot stocks and determine the quantity of anthropogenic marine debris on the bottom.

Furthermore, all cetaceans observations were recorded during the daytime.

Preliminary Results:

          The dissolved oxygen values were less then 5mg/L in five stations located off Bulgaria, down to 70m. Due to the precipitated organic load, which was carried by the Danube and the other rivers to the western Black Sea, microbial degradation and reverse current caused a decrease in oxygen in the region.

          Bacteriological analysis showed that the level of faecal coliform (sewage resources) of the deeper samples is higher than the surface water samples. This situation is related to deep discharge sewer systems. The Black Sea is under the influence of chemical and biological pollution due to the fact that the inland is heavily populated with respect to dwelling, industrial activity and marine transportation. This situation is induced by the pollution load carried to the Black Sea via the Danube River and remaining pollution threat to the ecosystem. Marine transportation and potential accident risks are also important factors for oil pollution. The level of total hydrocarbon was found higher than limit values in all the stations.

          A very limited number of invertebrates species (2-5) were sampled at the trawl stations. A typical pollution indicator species mussel (i.e. Mytilus galloprovincialis) was always observed in high dominance except at one station. Trawl hauls were carried out at a depth range of 20 m to 75 m in the northwestern Black Sea coast of Turkey. Red mullet (Mullus barbatus) was the most abundant species at depths 20-25 m and 50-55 m, although whiting (Merlangius merlangus euxinus) was abundant in the 70-75 m stratum. In the same depth range, an individual of piked dogfish (Squalus acanthias) (5.5kg) was caught. Black Sea turbots (Psetta maeotica) were caught very few in the 50-50 m layer. The turbot specimens were generally at the juvenile stage.

          Solid wastes retained in trawl nets were determined in order to form a feasibility of the determination of marine litter present on the Black Sea bottom. Results are particularly interesting for plastic material accumulation. All marine litter from every trawl were counted and weighed, and totals calculated according to the swept area method. The preliminary results show approximately 850 waste materials/km2 and 66 kg of marine litter/km2 on the western Black Sea bottom. Long-term monitoring and study of the distribution of marine litter in the Black Sea are needed since the problem is increasing.

          During the cruise, totally 86 individuals of three cetacean species (Bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus, Common dolphin Delphinus delphis and Harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena) were observed in 16 sightings. Because of the bad weather conditions (low visibility range, high waves), the sighting numbers were lower than expected.

The third session of the International Symposium took place in Constanta, on October 29 - 31 with the participation of scientists from Black Sea riparian countries. The thematic sections of the Symposium were oceanography and coastal engineering, ecology and marine environment protection, marine living resources, ecological education and public awareness for marine environment protection.

The Turkish team made some presentations about marine protected areas, turbot stock management, marine debris amount and stranded-bycaught cetaceans. Furthermore, determining the turbot stock with international cooperation and establishing marine protected areas network were discussed. Participants celebrated 31 October International Black Sea Action Day with national NGOs and local children. YUNUS-S Research team and ship officers joined the 84th Republican Day celebration organized by the Turkish Consulate General in Constanta on October 29.

Lipid Content and Composition as an Indicator of Nutritional Condition of the Black Sea Anchovy and Sprat in 2005, 2006 and 2007

Abundance and the condition of fish stocks and consequently their availability to fishing gears depend on environmental characteristics. The food supply of fish populations is the most important among them.

Anchovy and sprat are the main commercial fishes in the Black Sea. A significant indicator of food supply for anchovy, as well as sprat, is the lipid reserve accumulated in the body. While traditional ichthyologic methods use fish stomach fullness and food composition in it for estimation feeding at the moment shortly after catching, lipid accumulation integrate food supply for total fish feeding period with duration up to months. Therefore lipids could be used as the indicator of nutritional condition and marker of history of recent fish feeding.

The anchovy nutritional condition was studied in 2006 and 2007 fishing seasons from October till December in areas off Crimea (feeding regions) and northern Turkey (wintering regions), and compared with data obtained in 2005 and earlier historical data.

Normally anchovy starts to accumulate lipid reserve in the northern part of the sea soon after algae bloom following autumn water mixing. If storms start early in October, and as a result food supply is plenty, anchovy will feed actively, accumulating lipids in October and November. It is also known that anchovy spatial distribution is strongly controlled by the water temperature. If water is cooling in the northern part of the sea early due to prevailing northern winds, anchovy will migrate at the end of October beginning of November to warmer southern part of the sea to winter.

Obviously, in fishing seasons of 2006/2007 anchovy food supply was very good and its fatness was optimal (about 14% of wet weight) for migration. Another situation takes place when anchovy fails to accumulate appropriate lipid reserve for migration. This must be due to low zooplankton biomass as a result of stagnation or weak mixing of water mass during warm autumn, which may continue until November. In such a case, water temperature is relatively high and anchovy will winter at the place of feeding in the hope to improve its nutritional condition. The situation like above was observed during warm autumn period in fishing season of 2005, when anchovy nutritional condition was bad (lipid content in the body was about 11% of wet weight) and it stayed near Crimea coasts during all winter months.

Thus, undoubtedly, interannual changes of lipid content, as an indicator of anchovy nutritional condition, along with catches, may be very useful for estimation and prediction of stock wellbeing and its spatial distribution, but unfortunately, till recently, the data were very irregular.

Sprat nutritional condition was studied from May 2006 till November 2007 in fishing areas off Crimea. In both investigated years, small fish with size range of 6.5-7.5 cm and body weight about 3 gram prevailed in catches. Unlike anchovy, the feeding period of cold-water sprat with maximum lipid accumulation in the body occurs in summer.

At the end of the feeding period in June-July of 2006 the sprat fatness, as indicator of nutritional condition, was extremely low (6.2% wet weight): almost half compared with mean interannual value for period 1965-2005. During the feeding period of 2007 sprat fatness was 1.5 times higher than in 2006 and the nutritional condition of this year was much better. The same fatness was also observed during the feeding period of 2005 (9.6% wet weight). Inspection of sprat stomach content has shown that during the feeding period of 2006, fullness of stomachs was low and the main food items in it were untypical for this cold-water fish: Stomach contents were made up of small and slim plankton species such as Acartia sp., Paracalanus parvus, early stages of Calanus euxinus and Pseudocalanus elongatus, meroplankton, etc. In 2007, the stomach fullness of sprat was much better and older stages of cold-water copepods Calanus and Pseudocalanus were prevailing in the stomach. So, shift in food quality and quantity significantly declined the nutritional condition of fish in summer 2006. The feeding abnormality negatively influenced, first of all, the reserve lipid accumulation and its fatty acid composition.

The most remarkable was changes in main essential polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA (20:5n3) and DHA (22:6n3) of which concentration (wet weight %) in reserve lipids were 3 and 3.5 times lower in 2006 compared with 2007 values. These fatty acids in lipids are very important for development of brain, vision and nervous systems. They modulate many behavior reactions and are essential for not only adults but also for fish egg and larvae in determining the fate of recruitment. Thus inadequate feeding in 2006 resulted not only in low storage of lipids in the sprat body but also in the shortage of these essential fatty acids. It is possible to assume that this will have a consequence on the formation of sprat fishing stock of the next two years.

Based on lipid composition insufficient nutritional condition was shown for sprat in summer 2006 and for anchovy in adjacent autumn-winter 2005.

International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Campaign

International Coastal Cleanup Campaign is an activity internationally coordinated by Ocean Conservancy in USA, a non-governmental organization. Since 1986, when this activity began, 6 million volunteers in 127 countries collected more than 45,000 tons of garbage along a coastline of 27,000 kilometers. The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), is the oldest and biggest volunteer based campaign.

It takes place on the 3rd Saturday of September every year, and TURMEPA is the coordinator for Turkey. DenizTemiz Association / TURMEPA carries out its duty as to prevent pollution in the sea and on the shores, clean the existing litter, and try to raise awareness on the issue.

Initiated by the Ocean Conservancy in 1986 in the USA, the campaign has become international thanks to the increasing interest shown by other countries over the years.

The campaign mainly aims to make people a part of the solution by having them to participate in the cleanup activities, raising awareness by drawing attention on the issue and researching the causes of pollution.

ICC 2007 in Turkey

With the participation of local authorities and 11 DenizTemiz / TURMEPA Regional Coordinators, 6200 kg of waste was collected by 811 volunteers during ICC 2007 activities in 10 different places in Turkey, including one place in Istanbul). Also, a total of 23 volunteering divers collected 365 kg of underwater waste.

According to these results, % 61.6 of all wastes collected was composed of cigarette buds and packages.

Chairmanship Transfer

The Chairmanship transfer has taken place during the 16th Extraordinary Meeting of the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution on May 30 - 31, 2007.

The Commission extended its appreciation to Mr. Hasan Zuhuri Sarikaya for his valuable effort as the previous chairman and welcomed Mr. Svyatoslav Kurylenko as the new chairman. Mr. Kurylenko congratulated Prof. Sarikaya with the successful conclusion of the Chairmanship of the Commission. Prof. Hasan Sarikaya expressed his assurance that during the Ukrainian Chairmanship, the Commission will continue the hard work on the protection and rehabilitation of the Black Sea.

The parties transferred the Chairmanship to Ukraine in an official ceremony joined also by the Istanbul Consulate of Ukraine.

International Black Sea Action Day 2007

October 31 International Black Sea Action Day was celebrated again this year at national and regional levels in all six Black Sea coastal countries. The countries simultaneously celebrated this day through various activities. Beach clean-ups, art exhibitions, competitions, marches, conferences and drama performances were just some of the many activities undertaken by interested parties within the region.

International Black Sea Action Day is celebrated every year on the anniversary of the signing of the original Strategic Action Plan on the Protection and Rehabilitation of the Black Sea in 1996 by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine. This plan puts forward the commitment of these countries to the rehabilitation and protection of the Black Sea ecosystem, and the sustainable development of its natural resources.

International Black Sea Action Day is a regional project designed to assist all Black Sea countries and coastal communities in celebrating their shared marine environment. It is a collaborative effort among all the regional organizations, NGOs, national government agencies and coastal municipalities working together to protect this important shared resource. Its main objective is to promote the urgent need for greater regional cooperation against the threats facing the Black Sea, and raise public awareness of these threats, ranging from pollution and poorly regulated fishing to unsustainable coastal development.

In addition to the many local and national activities carried out throughout the Black Sea region, a regional event was held in Istanbul, the city that hosts the Permanent Secretariat of the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (BSC). The regional event was organized by the Commission and the Black Sea Ecosystem Recovery Project (BSERP), in cooperation with the Turkish Confederation of Black Sea Region NGOs.

The whole International Black Sea Action Day campaign of 2007 was sponsored by the Every Drop Matters (EDM) initiative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC). The events were followed by local and national media, including newspapers, TV stations, news agencies and news websites.

Key Impacts

Among other achievements, the 2007 International Black Sea Action Day campaign also resulted in direct participation of more than 41,000 people in six countries. Media coverage of the campaign, the Black Sea Commission, BSERP and UNDP/TCCC Every Drop Matters initiative reached an estimated audience of more than 10 million people. Moreover, key decision-makers from national and local government agencies in every country were involved in the activities. A total of at least 20,000 branded items such as posters, t-shirts, booklets etc. were produced.

Key Activities

          Branded items with the BSC, BSERP, GEF, UNDP, EDM, Coca-Cola, KASTOB logos were produced

          $30,000 was allocated to the NGOs in the region in order to support the national events and activities in their countries

          The Black Sea Medal Awards were presented for Services to Protect the Black Sea Environment

          The Black Sea Pledge was promoted to encourage the public to take action

          A large-scale event aimed at having the public involved in celebration was organized

          The BBC documentary The Sea That Nearly Died was promoted

The Sea That Nearly Died

The BBC documentary The Sea That Nearly Died was sent to the six NGO leaders so they would send it to the TV stations in their countries. In Turkey, it was broadcast on Yaban TV (an affiliation of the national news channel HaberTurk TV) repeatedly for a week.

Production of Promotional Materials

Within the designated budget, 1000 posters and 1000 t-shirts in four languages were produced in Istanbul and delivered. In addition to those, the Turkish Confederation of Black Sea Region NGOs (KASTOB) produced 700 more posters, 15 large-size posters and 30 banners with our designs and slogans out of its own budget. 500 of the posters they produced were hung on public buses on different routes in Istanbul. The other 200 were sent to municipalities, governors offices and associations in Black Sea cities in Turkey. The large-size posters were used to decorate the performance hall where the regional event took place and the streets around it. And finally, 30 banners were hung on public boats on different routes in the Bosphorus.

Also, NGOs produced some other materials like brochures, badges, stickers etc. out of their own budget.

In total, about 20,000 branded materials were distributed in six Black Sea countries.


The Black Sea Medal Awards

Presented by the Black Sea Commission, this award aims to emphasize the importance of individual efforts in organizing and undertaking activities to protect the Black Seas unique environment.

NGOs in each country nominated 3 5 individuals for the Black Sea heroes this year. The emphasis was on selecting people from a range of sectors: education, science, media, NGOs, government, private sector etc. The final individual recipients reflected a wide range of people in terms of age, gender and areas of expertise.

Final selection panel included: Executive Director of the Permanent Secretariat of the Black Sea Commission, GEF UNDP Regional Program Director for Danube / Black Sea, GEF UNDP Black Sea Ecosystem Recovery Project PIU Manager, UNDP / Coca-Cola Every Drop Matters Project Manager, International Black Sea Action Day Regional Coordinator.

The Regional Event

Black Sea Day Celebrations

In addition to many local and national activities carried out throughout the Black Sea region, a regional event was held in Istanbul. The event was organized by the BSC and BSERP, in cooperation with the Turkish Confederation of Black Sea Region NGOs.

The regional event started with a reception at the Bostanci Performance Hall in Istanbul, where over five hundred people attended. At this reception, the guests had the chance to watch the BBC documentary on the Black Sea, The Sea That Nearly Died, while tasting examples of traditional cuisine from Turkeys Black Sea region.

The reception was followed by opening remarks from Mr. Ahmet Kideys, the Executive Director of the Permanent Secretariat of the Black Sea Commission; Mr. Ahmet Burak, Turkey Business Unit President of The Coca-Cola Company; Ms. Ulrika Richardson, UNDP Turkey Deputy Resident Representative; Mr. Hasan Eksi, Chairman of Confederation of the Black Sea Region NGOs in Turkey; and Mr. Hasan Zuhuri Sarikaya, Turkeys Black Sea Commissioner and Undersecretary of Environment and Forestry. A welcoming address by Mr. Svyatoslav Kurulenko, the President of the Black Sea Commission and Ukrainian Undersecretary for Environment, was read out, since he was unable to attend the celebrations in person.

After the opening remarks, the Black Sea Medal Awards were presented. Ms. Tsvetelina Atanassova from Bulgaria, Ms. Sophiko Akhobadze from Georgia, Mr. Lucian Ionescu, Ms. Ekaterina Antonidze from the Russian Federation, Prof. Dr. Kasim Cemal Guven from Turkey and Mr. Zinoviy Petrovich from Ukraine were the recipients of this years award.

Black Sea Honorary Award

The first Black Sea Honorary Award was presented to Turkeys Black Sea Commissioner and Undersecretary of Environment and Forest Mr. Hasan Z. Sarikaya.

Some of the highest ranking officials from the Turkish Government, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Speaker of Parliament Koksal Toptan, Minister of Environment Veysel Eroglu and other Ministers and Parliament Members celebrated Black Sea Day and congratulated the award winners through telegrams, which were also read out to the audience.

After the award ceremony, the celebrations continued with a traditional dance performance from Turkeys Black Sea region. Following this, poems for/about the Black Sea were recited and two opera singers performed in Georgian, Russian, Turkish and Ukrainian languages.

This was followed by a ceremony in which more than fifteen individuals, including Turkish celebrities and journalists, were presented with certificates for taking the Black Sea Pledge at, and becoming Friends of the Black Sea.

Finally, the celebrations ended with a concert.

National Summaries


More than 10,000 people were directly involved in 30 separate events and media coverage reached an estimated audience of over 620,000 people. Events were supported by the Black Sea Basin Directorate and all members of the basin council, heads of maritime and environmental agencies, maritime businesses, mayors of 8 coastal municipalities, NGO activists, school teachers, scientists etc.


In Georgia about 10,000 people were directly involved in about 20 events and
media coverage included more than 30 items reaching an estimated audience of
more than 400,000 people. The coverage included few programs on three TV channels broadcasted national wide (two of the regional Adjarian). BS NGOs, media representatives, the local Regional Department of Environment Protection and other key stakeholders were actively involved in the events.


More than 600 people directly participated in 14 events and almost 60 separate media items reached an estimated audience of more than 2000 people. Romanian Water Management Authority, Local School Inspectorate, Local County Library, mass media, Local Council, and National Institute for Marine Research and Development were involved in the key activities.

Russian Federation

In Russia more than 15,700 people directly participated in 38 Black Sea Day events and media items reached an estimated audience of 5,700,000 people. The activities were carried out in cooperation with Gelendjik Enviro nmental Education Center Erudit, Tuapse NGO Clean city, Kuban State University, Shochi University of Tourism and resort Management, Association of Resort Organization, citizen groups, scientists, experts from the Black Sea Basin Directorate and municipal authorities.


In Turkey more than 2500 people were directly involved in 19 events and media coverage included more than 40 items reaching an estimated audience of 3 million people. Key events were supported by Undersecretary for Environment and Forest, Mr. Hasan Z. Sarıkaya and municipal leaders from coastal authorities.


In Ukraine more than 2200 people directly participated in 35 successful activities and mass media coverage reached an estimated audience of 700,000 people.


Nilufer Akpinar

IBSAD Regional Coordinator,

UNDP-GEF Black Sea Ecosystem Recovery Project






Photo by: Aleksander Vershinin




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