TIP 13: Effects of oil pollution on the marine environment

19 May 2014

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Oil spills can seriously affect the marine environment both as a result of physical smothering and toxic effects. The severity of impact typically depends on the quantity and type of oil spilt, the ambient conditions and the sensitivity of the affected organisms and their habitats to the oil.

This paper describes the effects of ship-source oil spills and resultant clean-up activities on marine flora and fauna, and their habitats. Particular attention is devoted to discussing the complex interactions between oil and biological systems, which have been the subject of diverse studies over many years. Separate ITOPF papers consider the specific effects of oil on fisheries and mariculture and on wider human activity.

Categories: Technical Information Paper (TIPS) , Environmental effects