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About Vanessa Winship. Black Sea. It was not the Land of Green Ginger, nor the pier at New Holland, but it was familiar, and represented a point of departure. A small child with a face like an angel came from a country where in legend gold was found. It demanded a sacrifice. Let someone come who is willing to be sacrificed in the piers of the bridge, the bards sang. The monk, sure that no one would volunteer, was aghast to learn that Murrash Zenebisha, an average local worker had been immured into the bridge's first arch in the night, his face still visible, staring out from the bridge, where his corpse could be made out beneath a veneer of plaster.

It was something that violated everything we knew about the borders of life and death. The man remained poised between the two like a bridge, without moving in one direction or the other. The man had sunk into non-existence, leaving his shape behind him, like a forgotten garment. A choreographer of the states greatest dance company, the world at his feet, had gone on tour with his wife, a young and beautiful dancer. One night after a show the group had gone out to celebrate. There was a fight, and in the fray a terrible and fatal accident happened.

He had fallen into a deep an impenetrable depression. No one knew what to do or how to console him. The girl, older than her years, The girl, older than her years, scrambled through the ruins of the castle. The coastal hake, sole, and red mullet fisheries have been seriously overexploited. Rocky coasts once provided a valuable harvest of crabs, shrimps, prawns, and other shellfish, but coastal pollution and overfishing have largely depleted natural fisheries.

Aquaculture has become increasingly important, especially in the eastern Mediterranean. In Egypt, coastal lagoons have been impounded to raise fish. About half of the Mediterranean catches are of pelagic species those caught in the upper layers of the sea. Sardines constitute the main catch in the western and northeastern parts of the Mediterranean.

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Occasionally sardines also appear in relatively small quantities in the southeastern part. Closely related fishes Sardinella aurita and S. The sprat is taken in some quantities in the most northern parts, such as in the northern Adriatic. Anchovy fishing is important in most regions of the Mediterranean. The bluefin tuna is one of the high-value large fishes. It moves into the Mediterranean from the Atlantic and disperses in several directions: toward the southern and eastern coasts of Spain, the coasts of the Balearic Islands , the northern coast of Morocco, and the coasts of Sardinia, Sicily, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.

Related commercially valuable species are the bonitos and mackerels. Varying quantities are caught by nearly all Mediterranean countries. Important nonedible marine products include the corals of Naples and the sponges of the Dodecanese islands , the Gulf of Gabes, and the western coasts of Egypt.

Sea salt has been produced by evaporation in coastal pans along the eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere for millennia. In addition to its use as a seasoning, salt is now utilized by the chemical industry. Since the early s, interest has grown in petroleum and natural gas exploration and production in the Mediterranean. Offshore wells produce a significant proportion of the oil and gas output of bordering countries. Italy, Libya, Egypt, and Algeria are the largest producers. Bouri, in Libyan waters, is the most active Mediterranean offshore oil field. While Mediterranean oil and natural gas production is only a small fraction of world production, a significant proportion of total world oil refining takes place in the Mediterranean region.

Refineries and petrochemical works in a number of major Mediterranean ports process crude oil from Persian Gulf countries shipped through the Suez Canal, as well as oil from Mediterranean countries. In addition, petrochemicals and other petroleum derivatives are produced for domestic consumption and export.

Trade and communication flourished and declined with the fortunes of the Mediterranean civilizations. Following the Middle Ages, Constantinople Istanbul , Barcelona , and the Italian commercial states assumed the role of trade intermediaries between the Orient and northwestern Europe. In the 15th century, however, the rise of the Ottoman Turks was followed by a rule of oppression and exploitation, and piracy made traffic on the sea hazardous. Moreover, the discovery at the end of the 15th century of the route to Asia around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa created a safer and easier sea route connecting northwestern Europe directly with the Orient.

Mediterranean lands lost their commercial function as intermediaries between Europe and Asia, and, for more than two and a half centuries, the Mediterranean Sea remained a backwater of world ocean trade and traffic. The opening of the Suez Canal in , together with the advent of the steamship, continued industrialization in northwestern and central Europe, and French colonization in North Africa made the Mediterranean again one of the busiest sea-lanes of the world. Much of the traffic, however, passed through the sea en route between Asia and northwestern Europe.

Countries in the Mediterranean basin had not been able to industrialize and had retained their agricultural and artisan economies, which limited their purchasing power and reduced their ability to trade. The growth of the Mediterranean oil and gas industries has been paralleled by an increase in trade and transportation of the diverse consumer and industrial goods needed by expanding cities on both the northern and southern Mediterranean coasts.

Increased economic consolidation of Europe, however, has stimulated new trading patterns. Tourism is now a major source of income for those coastal countries, where a significant portion of world income from tourism is generated annually. Growing industrialization, shoreline populations, and tourism since the midth century have resulted in severely polluted waters in many Mediterranean coastal areas. Pollution in the Mediterranean tends to remain near its source of discharge because of relatively weak tidal and current movements. Despite the absence of significant transborder effects, the countries of the region have agreed to cooperate to control the threat of marine pollution.

The Med Plan comprises four elements: legal measures, institutional and financial support, integrated planning to prevent environmental degradation , and coordinated pollution monitoring and research. The two most important legal measures are the Barcelona Convention , which calls for protective action against all forms of pollution, and the Athens Protocol , which requires state parties to adopt programs to prevent and control pollution from land-based sources.

The Med Plan has been widely regarded for successfully raising awareness of pollution in the Mediterranean; however, improvements in environmental quality under the plan have been limited. The reduced flow of fresh water from those rivers has been replaced by increased flows of saltier water from the Atlantic and the Red Sea. The saltier and thus denser seawater has modified circulation patterns, as evidenced by observed elevated flows from the Aegean Sea into the deeper parts of the Mediterranean.

The impact of such changes, including the potential effects on Atlantic currents influenced by high-salinity Mediterranean waters exiting the Strait of Gibraltar, has been the focus of much research.

"White Owl" by Josh Garrels

Although well known to the geographers of antiquity and the Middle Ages, the Mediterranean Sea was scarcely subjected to any thorough modern study until the 20th century. As early as the 17th century, however, the Italian nobleman Luigi Masili had speculated about countercurrents in the Sea of Marmara. Systematic investigation was first undertaken by the Danish expedition in the Thor in —10, which covered as much of the Mediterranean Sea as possible with regard to pelagic open-sea animal life and its dependence on hydrographic flow conditions; the seasonal circulation between the western and eastern basins and between the Balearic and Tyrrhenian seas also was studied.

The Aral Sea Crisis

Major scientific surveys were made in —48 in the western basin. More-systematic studies there were carried out by French researchers from to The eastern basin received less attention during that period, although there were investigations into the sources of the formation of deep water in the eastern basin , studies of vertical circulation of the Mediterranean as a whole , , and studies of summertime bottom-water hydrographic conditions using the observations of the French vessel Calypso — Cooperative research efforts in the Mediterranean were initiated in the early s with the hydrographic investigations and countercurrent measurements conducted by an expedition under the auspices of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO.

Since the late s a number of organizations—including the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the International Commission for the Scientific Exploration of the Mediterranean Sea, and the General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean—also have sponsored multinational exploration of the sea.

Oceanographic research in the Mediterranean subsequently has intensified, with studies in both the eastern and western basins. Of particular interest has been the effort to learn more about such processes in the Mediterranean as air-sea interactions, sediment deposition, deepwater formation, and circulation notably as it is affected by increased salinity ; there has been general agreement that greater knowledge of these processes increases the understanding of global climatic change.

System Requirements

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