Discover our target regions: The Black Sea

Making waves for a ‘bluer’ Black Sea

In the heart of Eastern Europe, between Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and Turkey, stretches a region of some 4,000 km full of mystery and charm: the Black Sea region. With a rich history and remarkable geographical diversity, this corner of the world is a treasure trove for those keen to explore.

From the sun-kissed beaches of Romania to the rugged cliffs of Georgia, the Black Sea region offers a diverse tapestry of landscapes waiting to be explored.

Its climate, transitioning from temperate to subtropical, promises warm summers and mild winters, creating the perfect backdrop for adventure.

But it’s not just the stunning scenery that makes this region special – it’s the people.

With a rich heritage of cultures and languages, each community adds its own unique flavour to the region’s allure. Their stories and traditions paint a vivid picture of the region’s vibrant history. Beneath the sparkling waters of the Black Sea lies another world waiting to be discovered.

Rich marine ecosystems, coupled with pristine wetlands like the Danube Delta, provide sanctuary to a myriad of wildlife, turning the region into a paradise for nature enthusiasts.

What are the challenges?

However, this paradise faces its own set of challenges. Pollution, overfishing, and other human activities threaten to mar its beauty, highlighting the urgent need for conservation efforts.

  • Pollution:  The Black Sea is highly sensitive to pollution due to its weak water exchange and poor vertical circulation Studies have shown irregular seasonal and spatial distributions of pollutants such as phenol, anionic detergent, oil and grease, turbidity, and total suspended solids in the Black Sea, indicating significant impact from marine and terrestrial activities The Black Sea receives drainage from almost one-third of continental Europe, leading to hydrological inputs and influences from a huge area, making it susceptible to pollution from various sources1.
  • Climate change: Climate change has led to an increase in sea surface temperature and a decrease in ice cover, impacting the biodiversity and fish population in the Black Sea. The warming of the sea has influenced the amount of caught anchovies in the Black Sea, with a drastic decrease in the southern Black Sea due to increased sea surface temperature. This warming is projected to continue, reaching +5.1°C by 21002.
  • Shoreline erosion: Sea level rise will have a significant impact on Black Sea beaches. A rise of 0.5 m will cause 56% of beaches to retreat by 50% of their maximum width. At a rise of 0.82 m (IPCC estimate for 2100), about 41% of beaches will retreat completely, and at a rise of 1 m, about 51% of beaches will be completely retreated or displaced inland3. The erosion is driven by different mechanisms and processes, including river sediment loads, anthropogenic effects, and entrapment of coastal sediments4.
  • Overfishing: Currently, 85.7% of commercial fish and shellfish stocks in the Black Sea are overexploited5.
  • Invasive species: Invasive species sneaking into the Black Sea are throwing ecosystems for a loop. Invasive species have been shown to manipulate the structure, function, and composition of recipient ecosystems, causing both positive and negative impacts, with the majority of cases resulting in adverse effects on native ecosystems and natural resources6. The incursion of the jellyfish Mnemiopsis leidyi has led to a drastic decrease in fish production, e.g. by 4-5 times for sea bream (Alosa spp.) and more than 10 times for European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus)7.


What are the solutions?

But the good news is that there are solutions! And hope for ensuring that the Black Sea region remains a treasure trove for generations to come.

With 81 certified Blue Schools, the Black Sea region rocks the charts as Europe’s second-biggest hub for ocean literacy. These schools aren’t just buildings—they’re like blue-superheroes, shaping kids into sea-loving champions. From diving into the sea’s mysteries to learning how to protect it, Blue Schools are all about making waves for a cleaner, ‘bluer’ future.

The amazing thing is that some of these schools are miles away from the salty breeze, yet they’re still diving headfirst into ocean conservation. It just shows how passionate they are about the cause, proving that distance is not a problem when bringing the beach vibes right into the classroom.

  • A special place in the spotlight of on-going initiatives goes to the Ocean Literacy Network of the DOORS Horizon project. From stakeholders to young people, they’re creating a buzz through dynamic events, building connections and sharing knowledge. It’s the most active ‘club’ for ocean enthusiasts and professionals.

  • Let’s zoom out to the big picture—the Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea. It could be called a ‘master plan for all things maritime’, bringing together ministries and stakeholders all around the Black Sea. From boosting blue economy to protecting marine ecosystems, they’re on a mission to sail towards a brighter future for the Black Sea region.

SHORE’s Country Hubs

In a nutshell, the SHORE project in Romania, through its national Country Hub, is making a splash by ramping up ocean knowledge and protection know-how among students and teachers. It’s not just about hitting the books—it’s about shaping a future where economic growth and environmental stewardship sail hand in hand, with every sea enthusiast on board for the journey!

Just like the Black Sea region boasts a vibrant hub for ocean literacy, Türkiye, through its national Country Hub, is making its own impressive waves. SHORE is empowering educators and students with the tools they need to become ocean advocates. It’s not just about memorizing facts, it’s about igniting a passion for protecting this vital resource. With a network of passionate educators and innovative programs, the country is fostering a generation of ocean stewards. These champions aren’t limited to coastal schools. From bustling city centers to inland towns, students across Türkiye are diving deep into the wonders of the ocean. Through interactive learning experiences and creative projects, they’re not just acquiring knowledge, they’re building a connection with the sea and understanding its importance. By working hand-in-hand with scientists and environmental organizations, these young champions are ensuring a healthy future for Türkiye’s stunning coastlines and marine ecosystems.

Do you want to find out more about SHORE and the Black Sea?

Contact our Romanian or Turkish Country Hubs!


1. Novac, V., Moraru, L., Gasparotti, C., & Rusu, E. (2020). Black sea marine litter pollution related to naval operations. E3S Web of Conferences (Vol. 180, p. 04018). EDP Sciences.

2. Sakalli, A., & Başusta, N. (2018). Sea surface temperature change in the Black Sea under climate change: A simulation of the sea surface temperature up to 2100. International Journal of Climatology, 38(13), 4687-4698.

3. K. Allenbach, I. Garonna, C. Herold, I. Monioudi, G. Giuliani, A. Lehmann, A.F. Velegrakis. (2015). Black Sea beaches vulnerability to sea level rise. Environmental Science & Policy (Volume 46, p.95-109)

4. Görmüş, T., Ayat, B., Aydoğan, B., & Tătui, F. (2021). Basin scale spatiotemporal analysis of shoreline change in the Black Sea. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 252, 107247.

5. European Environment Agency. (2019). The European environment — state and outlook 2020. Knowledge for transition to a sustainable Europe.

6. Rai, R. K., Shrestha, L., Joshi, S., & Clements, D. R. (2022). Biotic and economic impacts of plant invasions. Global plant invasions (pp. 301-315). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

7. Öztürk, B. (2021). Non-indigenous species in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Studies and Reviews No. 87 (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean). Rome, FAO.