Science of The Total Environment
The paper reviews the main accomplishments of the North Sea Task Force. The scientific information in the 1993 North Sea Quality Status Report is briefly described, with an emphasis on hazardous substances. The overall scientific conclusions are highlighted, and questions related to hazardous substances (metals, organic contaminants and petroleum hydrocarbons) are elaborated. The particular problem of inputs to the marine environment of hazardous substances via complex effluents, primarily from certain industrial sectors, is briefly outlined. The Swedish experiences of using a set of biological laboratory tests on such complex effluents are briefly described. Finally, the protection of species and habitats is highlighted in relation to the need for an integrated ecosystem approach to the protection of ecological networks.