The Arabian Gulf (also known as Persian Gulf and ROPME Sea) represents an extremely important economic, political and strategic aquatic resource. Although the Gulf region is known world wide for its oil-gas deposits and production, very little is known about its ecosystem health, food web dynamics, fisheries, biodiversity and sustainability. The present study reviews and highlights the major anthropogenic stressors which threaten the marine and coastal ecosystems of the Gulf. The Arabian Gulf environment lacks the holistic, ecosystem-based research and monitoring that have been conducted in other marine ecosystems. There is a need for multi-disciplinary, multi-trophic and multi-agency international investigations including the application of emerging technology. Such an integrated strategy is urgently needed to save the rapidly changing marine ecosystems from the impact of rapid and vigorous coastal development across the entire Gulf region. The necessity of developing and implementing ecosystem health agreements between the various riparian countries is emphasized for expeditious protection, conservation and management of this precious but threatened natural heritage.

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