Review Paper


, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 4-17

First online:

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

  • Peter F. SaleAffiliated withInstitute for Water, Environment and Health, United Nations University Email author 
  • , David A. FearyAffiliated withURS Corporation—Abu Dhabi
  • , John A. BurtAffiliated withFaculty of Science (Biology), New York University—Abu Dhabi
  • , Andrew G. BaumanAffiliated withSchool of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University
  • , Geórgenes H. CavalcanteAffiliated withURS Qatar LLC
  • , Kenneth G. DrouillardAffiliated withGreat Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor
  • , Björn KjerfveAffiliated withWorld Maritime UniversityDepartment of Geography, Texas A&M UniversityDepartment of Oceanography, Texas A&M University
  • , Elise MarquisAffiliated withInstitute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University
  • , Charles G. TrickAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of Western OntarioDepartment of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Western Ontario
    • , Paolo UsseglioAffiliated withHawaii Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Hawaii
    • , Hanneke Van LavierenAffiliated withInstitute for Water, Environment and Health, United Nations University

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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 Gulf Arabian Gulf Coastal development Environmental quality Environmental degradation