Israel’s Mediterranean Seacoast Severely Threatened by People

Ceasarea port in israel

Why have dolphins and other types of marine life almost disappeared from Israel’s shores? And why are projects such as deep water energy drilling and desalination threatening to make the eastern Mediterranean an area increasingly devoid of most marine life?
The answer appears obvious, as well as foreboding, in a recent comprehensive report on the state of the marine environment in Israel’s section of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The report, written by Aviad Scheinin, a researcher for the National Program for Ecosystem Assessment,  was prepared in cooperation with the Environmental Ministry and the Jewish National Fund, responsible for many reforestation and other nature projects in Israel.

The findings of the reported published by Haaretz, covered a range of human sponsored activities that included over-development of the country’s Mediterranean coastline, over fishing by both commercial and sports fishermen, undersea energy exploration and extraction; and the dramatic increase of desalination activity.

Within the framework of the report, marine environmental damage caused by these factors were analyzed according to the scope of the activities and the resulting environmental damage caused. Each human caused activity was found to result in significant damage to both the undersea environment as well as to the coastline itself.

While some projects were said to have been  done  for the good of the coastal environment, such as building breakwaters to prevent further erosion of coastal cliffs, building these structures will prevent natural accumulation of sand and also be detrimental to marine life such as sea turtles, says Scheinin.

Desalination, which has sometimes been referred to a “a necessary evil” , comes from an increasing need for fresh water supplies.  The damage it does to aquatic marine life is enormous, however; often resulting in the disappearance of entire marine species.

“In light of forecasts that 750 million cubic meters of seawater will be desalinized by the end of the decade, and given the relative crowding of facilities, it would be fair to assume that it will become impossible to avoid the environmental ramifications of this activity,” the report states.

Over fishing, especially by use of what are known as “drag nets” is depleting fish from the eastern Mediterranean at an alarming rate as well.  Even sport fishing was not given given a very good write up in the report as certain fish species, like grouper, are being fast depleted by divers using spear guns.

Over all, the future the Mediterranean along Israel’s coastline does not look very promising. The report ends by stating that the only improvement found was the reduction of raw sewage being allowed to flow directly into the sea; as in contrast perhaps to neighboring countries like Lebanon.

With only 0.25 percent of Israel’s coastal waters protected by nature reserves, a lot more needs to be done to protect the Mediterranean and its marine life before it is too late to do so.

Read more on environmental issues threatening the Eastern Mediterranean:
Why Dolphins Have Disappeared from Israel’s Shores
Noble Energy May be Pushing its Luck by Drilling for deep Oil in the Med
Lebanon: Green Peace Investigation Reveals toxic Coast Pollution
Scales, Impingmen and Entrainment; Know Desalination’s Negative Side

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One thought on “Israel’s Mediterranean Seacoast Severely Threatened by People”

  1. JTR says:

    Most people are good, but too much of any good thing turns it bad, like destroying the biosphere.

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