Sand, dredging, and wind
Material that originates from dredging to maintain the maritime access routes and ports, is dumped into the sea (when not reusable for beach nourishment) at five designated sites (S1, S2, Zeebrugge Oost, Oostende and Nieuwpoort). This amounts to 12 million tonnes of dry matter that is yearly dumped.
These pilots cover environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for human activities (renewable energy, aquaculture and aggregate dredging) and environmental monitoring for e.g. non-indigenous species (NIS) in the framework of EU directives (MSFD and Natura2000).
Sediment fining results from a combination of sand mining, bottom (trawl) fishing, dumping (dredging) and the introduction of hard substrates.
ILVO works for the following sectors:
Horticulture and ornamental growers Arable farmingPig farmingPoultry and rabbit farmingDairy farmingBeef cattle farmingFisheriesAquacultureProcessing and retailing (marine)Sand extraction, dredging, and wind Blue biotechNature preservation (marine)Feed productionOrganic agricultureFood productionTechnology, equipment
There are wind farms, dredging activities, sand mining and, of course, fishing, to name a few. Marine spatial planners try to coordinate these activities, taking into account the natural ecosystem.
Many activities and functions converge in this small area:
FisheriesMariculture (growing food at sea)Renewable energy production (wind farms)DredgingExtraction of sandShipping trafficProtected natureRecreation and tourism
The Marine Spatial Plan 2020-2026 provides an overview of the various human activities in the Belgian part of the North Sea (MRP
Beam trawling, sand extraction, dredging, offshore wind farms and other human constructions and recreation are some of the main activities (see dossier 'Space at sea'). All of this obviously affects biodiversity in and on the seabed. Climate change also plays a significant role by changing the natural range of species.
In Flanders, dredging companies, windmill operators, textile manufacturers, shipowners and wholesalers are already involved in the development of aquaculture in our North Sea today. Not only are they making some of the financial resources available, they are also pooling the knowledge and experience from their own fields.
Other activities such as sand extractions, dredging, recreational fishing activities, military exercises, etc. can also affect the marine ecosystem. These impacts can be direct but also indirect and cascade through the ecosystem.