Red List habitat classification > RL - Marine habitats > RLMED - Mediterranean > MEDA5.25x Communities of Mediterranean very shallow circalittoral fine sand

Communities of Mediterranean very shallow circalittoral fine sand

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code MEDA5.25x
Threat status
Europe Near Threatened
EU Near Threatened
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)

Summary

Clean fine sands either on the open coast or in tide-swept channels of marine inlets in depths of over 15-20m. The habitat may also extend offshore and is characterised by a wide range of cnidarians, echinoderms, polychaetes and bivalves as part of the infauna.This habitat is generally more stable than shallower infralittoral sands, as there is less fluctuation in temperature and salinity.

Indicators of quality: 

There are no commonly agreed indicators of quality for this habitat, thus both standard biotic and abiotic indicators have been used to describe marine habitat quality. In certain areas habitat can be under impact of fisheries activities, particularly trawling and dredging, thus the presence of characteristic commercially exploited species may indicate a quality of the habitat. 

Characteristic species
For full habitat description, please download the habitat factsheet.

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

This habitat has a widespread distribution in the Mediterranean. It is known to be impacted from coastal human activities which alter seabed structure and biodiversity. The use of towed gears (trawls, dredges etc,) has recently been prohibited within 3 nautical miles of the coast or within the 50 m isobath where that depth is reached at a shorter distance from the coast. Thus, major negative fishing effects should decline in shallow circallitoral areas where this habitat is present. Other pressures and threats, from pollution and aquaculture remain. Declines over the last 50 years cannot be quanitified but expert opinion is that this is likely to have been fairly substantial. This habitat has therefore been assessed as Near Threatened under criteria C/D for the EU 28 and EU 28+.
EU
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Near Threatened C/D1
Europe
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Near Threatened C/D1

Confidence in the assessment

low
Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Mining, extraction of materials and energy production
    • Mining and quarrying
    • Sand and gravel extraction
  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
    • Discharges
  • Biological resource use other than agriculture & forestry
    • Marine and Freshwater Aquaculture
    • Fishing and harvesting aquatic resources
  • Pollution
    • Marine water pollution
    • Soil pollution and solid waste (excluding discharges)
  • Natural System modifications
    • Human induced changes in hydraulic conditions
    • Modification of hydrographic functioning, general

Habitat restoration potential

The capacity of this habitat to recover after being severely damaged is unknown.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Unknown Unknown
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Decreasing Decreasing
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

In the past, this habitat was impacted by different coastal human activities such us dumping of solid wastes or other pollutants, but in many areas such situations are currently prohibited. The level of trawling and dredging as fishing activites causing highest negative effects has decreased significantly in this shallow zone all over the Mediterranean, as according to fishery regulations the use of towed gears (trawls, dredges etc,) is prohibited within 3 nautical miles of the coast or within the 50 m isobath where that depth is reached at a shorter distance from the coast. With such regulation, that is implemented in most of Mediterranean national legislations, major negative fishing effect stopped in many of shallow circallitoral areas.
Improving spatial and strategic planning of human activities, in particular aquaculture and sand mining, as well as regulation discharges to the marine environment and contining management of fishing activities would benefit this habitat.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Restoring/Improving water quality
  • Measures related to marine habitats
    • Restoring marine habitats
  • Measures related to spatial planning
    • Establish protected areas/sites
    • Legal protection of habitats and species
  • Measures related to hunting, taking and fishing and species management
    • Regulation/Management of fishery in marine and brackish systems

Distribution

For each habitat a distribution map was produced from a wide variety of sources indicating known and potential occurrences of the habitat in 10x10 km grids within Europe. Occurrences in grid cells were given in two classes: actual distribution from relatively reliable sources (surveys, expert knowledge), and potential distribution based on models or less reliable indicators. Please download the fact sheet to see the map.

Geographic occurrence and trends

Seas Present or presence uncertain Current area of habitat (Km2) Recent trend in quantity (last 50 years) Recent trend in quality (last 50 years)
Adriatic Sea Present Unknown Decreasing Unknown
Aegian-Levantine Sea
Ionian Sea and the Central Mediterranean Sea
Western Mediterranean Sea

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 1,050,357 1,411 Unknown EOO and AOO have been calculated on the available data. Although this data set is known to be incomplete the figures exceed the thresholds for threatened status.
EU28+ >1,411 Unknown EOO and AOO have been calculated on the available data. Although this data set is known to be incomplete the figures exceed the thresholds for threatened status.
AOO = the area occupied by a habitat measured in number of 10x10 km grid cells.
EOO = the area (km2) of the envelope around all occurrences of a habitat (calculated by a minimum convex polygon).

Characteristic species

Not available

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

Not available
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
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