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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

The oceans

The oceans are the world’s biggest ecosystems and are home to a wide range of different habitats for untold numbers of animal and plant species. Healthy marine ecosystems perform functions which are vital to the survival of marine biodiversity and of human beings. They represent the largest natural carbon sink and thus form a great buffer against climate change.

Ongoing and ever-more intensive use of the oceans is an increasing threat to marine biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Marine nature conservation faces the challenge of protecting marine biodiversity and with it the climate, while promoting sustainable, ecosystem-compatible use of the oceans. Marine nature conservation responsibilities are allocated in Germany along federal lines. With regard to the German sections of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, THE Federal Government is responsible for international cooperation, legislation and enforcing federal legislation in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and on the continental shelf beyond the 12 nautical mile limit. BfN has served as the responsible nature conservation authority for these areas since 2010. The Länder (the German states) are responsible for German coastal waters.

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