Effects of the Prestige oil spill on the surrounding biota: five years of learning
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Editor/sSims, D.W. (David W.)
KeywordsPrestige oil spill
IUCN red list
On 19 November 2002, the oil tanker Prestige broke into two and sank in the Atlantic Ocean 260 km off the north-western coast of Spain, releasing about 63,000 tonnes of Bunker C oil. The accident represented one of the largest environmental catastrophes in the history of European navigation. More than 1000 km of coastline and a huge variety of habitats were affected, ranging from supralittoral, intertidal and sublittoral levels to oceanic and bathyal environments. In this chapter, we review published results regarding the impact of the Prestige oil spill on marine organisms, at levels of biological organisation ranging from the molecular to the ecosystem. Although some research is still in progress, all results indicate a strong initial impact during the first year after the spill, mainly on intertidal communities and fishing resources, with recovery by 2004.