A brief review is presented of the current status of eutrophication signals from the sedimentary records of dinoflagellate cysts in coastal waters, particularly of NW Europe. There is a dearth of the multi-decadal time series data from plankton needed to document eutrophication, and the cysts may provide an alternative source of information. Two different eutrophication signals have been described so far from cyst records: 1) from the Oslofjord, comprising a marked increase in total cyst concentrations (interpreted as probably reflecting increased phytoplankton productivity), with Lingulodinium polyedrum cysts accounting for most of the increase (interpreted as a species particularly benefiting from added nutrients from cultural eutrophication in late summer when nutrients otherwise may be limiting); and 2) the heterotroph signal, from several other Norwegian fjords and Tokyo Bay, Japan, involving both cases of increased cyst concentrations and others with no particular increase, but with a marked proportional increase in cysts of heterotrophic species (interpreted as reflecting increased diatoms and possibly other prey for the heterotrophic dinoflagellates and/or more unfavourable conditions for autotrophs, e.g. from shading). These signals should be used critically, and there is a particular need to distinguish between eutrophication signals and climate signals that may be co-occurring at a given time. Work by various authors has generally supported the concept of these cyst-based signals since they were first published, including both further records from cored sediments from other parts of the world and studies relating cyst distributions in surface sediments to gradients of pollution and nutrients from sewage discharge. Recent, unpublished work by Dale and Sætre, linked cyst signals in cored sediments to the timing of collapse of local fisheries at different times within the past fifty years in four fjord systems along the Norwegian Skagerrak coast (supporting earlier postulations by fisheries biologists that eutrophication was a possible cause). They also link these local eutrophication events to regional variation in the NAO, thought to have caused pulses of nutrient loading within the Skagerrak from increased transport of relatively nutrient rich North Sea water into the system. This may represent a major breakthrough in understanding the relationship between climatic variation and coastal eutrophication. Some concluding remarks are added in an attempt to show how these cyst signals: 1) suggest interesting comparisons with the ecological classification of bloom dinoflagellates by Smayda and Reynolds [Smayda, T.J., Reynolds, C.S., 2003. Strategies of marine dinoflagellate survival and some rules of assembly. J. Sea Res. 49, 95-106.]; and 2) have helped to identify important questions regarding the extent to which climate variation influences coastal eutrophication. Addressing these questions represents an urgent challenge to marine science.