Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas

Special areas are those which are subject of stricter measures under the 1973 Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL, as amended in 1978).

Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs) are areas which need ‘special protection through action by IMO because of [their] significance for recognised ecological or socio- economic or scientific reasons and which may be vulnerable to environmental damage by maritime activities’ (IMO Guidelines, point 3.1.2).

In addition to the Great Barrier Reef, Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas have been designated to a Cuban archipelago, a sea area off Colombia, the Florida Keys, the Wadden Sea, the Peruvian coast, western European waters, the Torres Strait, the Canary Islands, the Galapagos and the Baltic Sea.

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