This publication by the European Commission provides an overview of the risk of collapse (degree of endangerment) of marine habitats in the European Union (EU28) and adjacent regions (EU28+). It provides an overview on the character, extent and status of benthic habitat types through assessments undertaken between 2013 and 2016 based on modifications of proposals for ecosystem risk assessment in the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Categories and Criteria.
The analysis of the collected data on habitat areas, current and future trends in quantity and quality, pressures and threats, and conservation measures, show the following results. A total of 257 benthic marine habitats were assessed. Overall 19% of the habitats assessed were in the three threatened categories: Critically Endangered (1%), Endangered (9%) and Vulnerable (9%). An additional 12% were in the Near Threatened category, while a large proportion of the habitats (49%) were Data Deficient. It is highlighted that the highest proportion of threatened habitats was found in the Mediterranean Sea (32%), followed by the North-East Atlantic (23%), the Black Sea (13%) and the Baltic Sea (8%).
Regarding pressures, it is stated that the most frequently cited ones were: pollution (eutrophication), biological resource use (mainly fishing but also aquaculture), natural system modifications, urbanisation and climate change.
The publication outlines the general values of the Red List for European environmental policy and the conclusions summarise the achievements and implications of the European Red List of Habitats and highlights some possible next steps.
Gubbay et al. (2016) European Red List of Habitats. Part 1. Marine Habitats. European Comission, Luxembourg