, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 4–17

The Growing Need for Sustainable Ecological Management of Marine Communities of the Persian Gulf


    • Institute for Water, Environment and HealthUnited Nations University
  • David A. Feary
    • URS Corporation—Abu Dhabi
  • John A. Burt
    • Faculty of Science (Biology)New York University—Abu Dhabi
  • Andrew G. Bauman
    • School of Marine and Tropical BiologyJames Cook University
  • Geórgenes H. Cavalcante
    • URS Qatar LLC
  • Kenneth G. Drouillard
    • Great Lakes Institute for Environmental ResearchUniversity of Windsor
  • Björn Kjerfve
    • World Maritime University
    • Department of GeographyTexas A&M University
    • Department of OceanographyTexas A&M University
  • Elise Marquis
    • Institute of OceanographyNational Taiwan University
  • Charles G. Trick
    • Department of BiologyUniversity of Western Ontario
    • Department of Microbiology & ImmunologyUniversity of Western Ontario
  • Paolo Usseglio
    • Hawaii Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Department of ZoologyUniversity of Hawaii
  • Hanneke Van Lavieren
    • Institute for Water, Environment and HealthUnited Nations University
Review Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s13280-010-0092-6

Cite this article as:
Sale, P.F., Feary, D.A., Burt, J.A. et al. AMBIO (2011) 40: 4. doi:10.1007/s13280-010-0092-6


The Persian Gulf is a semi-enclosed marine system surrounded by eight countries, many of which are experiencing substantial development. It is also a major center for the oil industry. The increasing array of anthropogenic disturbances may have substantial negative impacts on marine ecosystems, but this has received little attention until recently. We review the available literature on the Gulf’s marine environment and detail our recent experience in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) to evaluate the role of anthropogenic disturbance in this marine ecosystem. Extensive coastal development may now be the single most important anthropogenic stressor. We offer suggestions for how to build awareness of environmental risks of current practices, enhance regional capacity for coastal management, and build cooperative management of this important, shared marine system. An excellent opportunity exists for one or more of the bordering countries to initiate a bold and effective, long-term, international collaboration in environmental management for the Gulf.


Persian GulfArabian GulfCoastal developmentEnvironmental qualityEnvironmental degradation

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2010