North Sea

Towards an ecologically healthy North Sea

All human activities impact on the ecosystem of seas and oceans. Examples include the construction of wind turbines, shipping, fishing and the presence of plastics and oil rigs. The Netherlands borders on the North Sea and carries out research into the ecology, the use and the load-bearing capacity of this area.

Picture of the North Sea
Image: ©Fred Hoogervorst / Hollandse Hoogte

Various knowledge institutes and organisations have jointly drawn up a knowledge agenda, listing ten themes:

  • Long-term developments: monitoring acidification, rising sea levels and temperature increases using the ten-year measurement series.
  • Underwater noise: what influence does underwater noise have on marine organisms?
  • Litter and microplastics: what are the harmful effects on organisms and the safety of food from the sea?
  • Protected areas: developing criteria for the evaluation of a network of protected areas in the North Sea.
  • Cumulative effects of human activities: to what extent do human effects reinforce one another? This is being researched in OSPAR, a joint undertaking of fifteen countries and the European Union.
  • Marine ecosystems and pressure factors: research into nature, biodiversity and fisheries policy, and monitoring it.
  • Building with nature: how can degraded ecosystems recover?
  • Recovery of shellfish banks: how can disappeared species return to the ecosystem of the North Sea?
  • Generating renewable energy: where do we find opportunities for generating energy at sea?
  • Shipping and safety: The North Sea is becoming an increasingly busier place. What are the consequences for safety and the environment?

If you would like to know more about the North Sea, please feel free to contact Ronald Rense.