Sector | Marine sector Nature conservation
Government authorities and scientific institutes involved in the protection of natural marine ecosystems will find here the answer to “what can ILVO do for me?”. You’ll get a brief overview of relevant expertise, analyses, infrastructure, and the professional approach that characterizes ILVO. You can contact the Marine Living Lab for specific services and questions regarding possible collaborations.
What does ILVO do?
ILVO measures and evaluates the individual and cumulative impact of the various human activities at sea: fishing, aquaculture, dredging and sand extraction, wind farms, etc. This is done at the level of the companies and the activities, based on data on macrobenthos, epibenthos, fish, and plankton in various habitats. ILVO always uses the best available technologies according to accredited procedures for this. It ranges from morphological and genetic identification of species to detection and quantification of chemicals and microplastics.
In order to support impact monitoring, ILVO itself develops new, cost-effective techniques for biochemical and genetic analyses. This is done in close cooperation with European partners to ensure comparability of results.
ILVO researches the general ecology of different ecosystem components, the natural processes operating in the Belgian part of the North Sea, and the development of easy-to-implement indicators.
In addition to the impact of human activities at sea, ILVO evaluates the (potential) effects of mitigating measures, such as closed fishing zones and alterations to vessels. The possibilities for ecological recovery are also being researched.
The marine space must be shared by a growing number of users. ILVO detects possible conflicts and investigates possibilities for shared use of space. This knowledge is translated into tools and advice that can be consulted at the local and European level.
The collected data and knowledge from the impact monitoring will be made available for environmental policy through the development of useful indicators for environmental quality. Moreover, the accumulated knowledge about marine ecosystems forms the basis of the ecosystems approach within the Common Fisheries Policy.
How does ILVO work?
ILVO strives for optimal use of the resources of the sea, with maximum added value, and far-reaching sustainability in the chain. Spatial planning and monitoring of the marine environment is important here.
Your point of contact: Marine Living Lab
ILVO’s Marine Living Lab strives for accelerated and sustainable innovation in the blue sectors, according to the principle of co-creation. ILVO listens to you, analyzes your question or challenge, and – together with you – searches for a (high-tech) solution and a concrete project, as well as suitable partners and funding. ILVO scientifically follows up on the implementation of the joint project.
Your ILVO guarantee
- Scientifically substantiated solutions
- Individual and/or co-creative supervision of innovation trajectories
- Confidential handling of your question
- Clearly interpretable results that can be used in daily practice
- Technological support for various business processes
Specialized research infrastructure
- Accredited lab for the analysis of fauna living in the soil (macrobenthos)
- Lab for analysis of fish and fauna on the seabed (epibenthos)
- Accredited lab for chromatographic analyses
- Space and expertise for the development of methods, measuring devices, and experimental trial tanks tailored to specific research projects
- Access to research vessels: ILVO cooperates closely with VLIZ and the Operational Direction for the Natural Environment (OD Natuur) for sampling at sea, using the research vessels Simon Stevin and Belgica, respectively.
ILVO is an active member of The Blue Cluster and of the Covenant for a Sustainable Fishing Industry (NL). On an international level, ILVO works closely with ICES, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.
All ILVO expertises at your service
ILVO works in an interdisciplinary fashion and has a network of living labs that work closely together. A problem or question is therefore examined from many different angles by ILVO experts from different disciplines. This is guaranteed by ILVO's broad and systematic approach, together with the typical openness of the ILVO culture.