Human use of the European marine environment is increasing and diversifying. This is creating new mechanisms for human induced-changes in marine life which need to be understood and quantified as well as the impact of these changes on ecosystems, their structures (e.g. biodiversity) and functioning (e.g. productivity), and the social and economic consequences that arise. The current and emerging pressures are multiple and interacting, arising, for example, from transport, platforms for renewable and nonrenewable energy, exploitation of living and non-living resources, agricultural and industrial discharges, together with wider environmental changes (including climate change). Anticipating the future consequences of these pressures and vectors of change for marine life and of adaptation and mitigation measures (such as the introduction of new technologies and structures, new ballast water practices, ocean and offshore wind energy devices and new fishing strategies) is a prerequisite to the development and implementation of strategies, policies and regulations to manage the marine environment, such as the IMO Convention on ballast water management and the EU Maritime Policy and Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
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