Designing Measures to Reduce the Impact of Fisheries on Seabed Integrity

In the framework of the Habitat Directive, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, biodiversity and habitat conservation and restoration must be pursued also in Belgian waters. Accordingly, the Marine Spatial Planning 2020-2026 included an area of maximally 285 km² to be assigned for bottom fisheries exclusion. Within this project, the most biologically valuable zones in the Belgian part of the North Sea are identified and displayed in an updated Biological Valuation Map assessing the seafloor biotopes. Its comparison with present-day fisheries distribution will highlight areas to prioritize for seafloor habitat conservation and restoration promoting best ecological outcomes at least socio-economic costs.

Partners: Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (BE, co-coordinator)