Publication | Statement Analyses of fishing activities in the Belgian part of the North Sea, Flemish Banks and proposed management areas for seafloor integrity


In the framework of the Belgian measures program of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Belgian Government is submitting a proposal with 3 new management areas where bottom disturbing fishery will be forbidden to protect special benthic habitats: submerged sandbanks, gravel beds and biogenic reefs. For the EU negotiation procedure, a background document investigating the economic activities in the newly defined management areas was needed. Therefore, this report describes the fishing activities in the BPNS, in the Natura2000 area ‘Flemish Banks’ and in the 3 management areas.

Vessel Monitoring by Satellite (VMS) and catch data from logbooks were used to analyse fishing activities in the BPNS and in the proposed management areas. A data call was sent out in April 2023 to the countries with fishing activities in the BPNS. All countries replied within 4 months. VMS data were made available for Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Denmark for the period 2007-2022 and for Germany and the United Kingdom for 2009-2022. As France uses a different data format system, not all requested information was provided, and French data could not be integrated in all representations. To safeguard confidentiality, data concerning less than 5 vessels were not represented. For this reason, data from Denmark, Germany and the UK were frequently combined. The analysis includes estimates of effort in fishing hours, landed weight and value of landings. The value of landings was corrected for inflation.


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Katrien Verlé

ILVO researcher