Developing water quality standards for coastal dolphins

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The EU Habitats Directive requires Member States to consider the potential impact of sewage discharges on protected wildlife populations, but efforts to reduce these threats are constrained by the lack of appropriate water quality guidelines for wildlife. In Scotland, recommendations for higher discharge standards in areas frequented by bottlenose dolphins have been criticised on the basis of scientific uncertainty. This Viewpoint article outlines the background to this issue, and discusses whether the scientific frameworks used for assessing water quality standards for human bathers can realistically be used to develop water quality standards for coastal dolphins. Importantly, it highlights that widely accepted EU standards for human bathers are based on extremely limited scientific data, and argues that unrealistic demands for empirical data from wildlife populations should not prevent more precautionary measures being introduced to reduce disease risks to these species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-127
Number of pages5
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number2
Early online date18 Jan 2007
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


  • sewage
  • dolphins
  • habitats directive
  • bathing water
  • disease
  • Sewage
  • Dolphins
  • Habitats directive
  • Bathing water
  • Disease


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