Action: Designate a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) to regulate impactful maritime activities
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- We found no studies that evaluated the effects of designating a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area on subtidal benthic invertebrate populations.
‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this intervention during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore, we have no evidence to indicate whether or not the intervention has any desirable or harmful effects.
Shipping, fishing, and other anthropogenic activities can impact subtidal benthic invertebrates through species removal or habitat damage. Specific areas of recognised scientific, ecological, or socio-economic significance can be designated as Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) because of their vulnerability and sensitivity to international maritime activities (IMO Resolution A.982(24); Kachel 2008; Lefebvre-Chalain 2007). Specific management measures can be taken within PSSAs to control for impactful maritime activities, such as ship routeing measures, the strict application of pollution legislation and waste or ballast discharge regulations, or the requirements for specific equipment on ships (Kachel 2008).
Inside PSSAs, the threat to subtidal benthic invertebrates from specific maritime activities is potentially removed or regulated, and previously impacted populations are, in theory, able to recover over time.
Related evidence linked with shipping regulations and interventions has been summarised under “Threat: Transportation and service corridors – Shipping lanes”.
Collie J.S., Hall S.J., Kaiser M.J. & Poiner I.R. (2000) A quantitative analysis of fishing impacts on shelf‐sea benthos. Journal of Animal Ecology, 69, 785–798.
IMO Assembly Resolution 24/982 (2005) Revised guidelines for the identification and designation of Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas.
Kachel M.J. (2008) Particularly sensitive sea areas. Pages 1-184 in: The IMO's Role in Protecting Vulnerable Marine Areas. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.
Lefebvre-Chalain H. (2007) Fifteen years of particularly sensitive sea areas: a concept in development. Ocean & Coastal Law Journal, 13, 47.