, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 4-17
Date: 06 Oct 2010

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

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Abstract

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.