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STAP Releases Report on Dead Zones

November 2011: The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), which is administered by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and advises the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has released a report that stresses the need for the GEF to develop a faster response to the growing problem of dead zones in the world's coastal waters.

The STAP Advisory Document, titled "Hypoxia and Nutrient Reduction in the Coastal Zone: Advice for Prevention, Remediation and Research," was released at the Sixth GEF International Waters Conference, which took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and presented to the GEF Council in November 2011. The report reviews the current knowledge of coastal hypoxia, its causes, lessons learned from GEF investments and other cases, and develops recommendations on how to prevent and address the growing problem.

The report finds that scientific evidence shows that coastal hypoxia is human induced and results from over-enrichment of coastal waters, often compounded by local water body flow characteristics, climate and climate change. It further notes that the incidence, intensity, size and duration of coastal hypoxic areas are increasing, and that coastal hypoxia reduces fisheries production, kills and impairs fish and other marine life populations, threatens human health, reduces coastal amenities, and emits the most potent greenhouse gases (GHGs), especially nitrous oxide and methane. [UNEP Press Release] [Publication: Hypoxia and Nutrient Reduction in the Coastal Zone: Advice for Prevention, Remediation and Research]