Marine geohazards: Safeguarding society and the Blue Economy from a hidden threat | European Marine Board

Marine geohazards: Safeguarding society and the Blue Economy from a hidden threat

A safe Ocean where life and livelihoods are protected from Ocean-related hazards is one of the societal outcomes that the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development strives towards. Commonly known marine geohazards, such as tsunamis and earthquakes, and lesser-known hazards, such as migrating bedforms and submarine mass movements, pose threats to society and Blue Economy sectors. Those threats include harm to people and their property, the devastation and disappearance of valuable land near the shoreline, harm to fisheries, the decrease of tourism in the area, and the destruction of seafloor installations, such as pipelines for oil and gas, communication cables and windfarms. Moreover, as coastal human populations and the economic activities conducted in the marine and coastal environments are increasing, society will be more exposed and vulnerable to marine geohazards.

Despite the significant threats that marine geohazards pose, there is limited awareness and knowledge on vulnerability and exposure to these events, especially in a European context. Considering that marine geohazards are unavoidable and will certainly continue to occur in the future, it is crucial to improve and expand our knowledge of their processes, trigger mechanisms and precursors. This knowledge is necessary to raise general awareness and to develop risk mitigation strategies, e.g. early warning mechanisms that reduce risks and enhance resilience of the marine- and coastal areas.   

The publication presents an overview of the type, distribution and impact of marine geohazards in European coastal regions and on several Blue Economy sectors. It highlights novel scientific approaches that broaden our understanding of these hazards. The document points towards relevant actions that would ensure the development of effective risk-mitigation and science-based management practices and policies, such as mapping of the seabed and including geohazards in maritime spatial planning policies, thereby contributing to protect coastal population and economic activities at sea.

You can find the fact sheet for this publication here, see the news item about it launch here, and find out more about our work on geohazards here.