Ecologically sound fisheries management in marine Natura 2000 areas of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea

PROJEKT DESCRIPTION: “Ecologically sound fisheries in marine protected areas”

Due to their central geographic location the North Sea and Baltic Sea account to the marine areas with the highest anthropogenic impact in the world. The German declaration of ten protected marine sites as part of the European network of Natura 2000 sites means that about 31% of the combined exclusive economic zone (EEZ, 12 to 200 nautical miles) of the North Sea and Baltic Sea has been placed under protection. Together with other anthropogenic influences, the fisheries industry is a human activity considered to have considerable strong effects on marine habitats and species. The project is financed by the Federal Agency of Nature Conservation. The aim of this research project is to develop, in consultation with relevant interest groups and close cooperation with fishing research institutes, proposals for ecologically sound and sustainable fisheries management measures in the marine Natura 2000 areas which can eventually be implemented by the responsible authorities.

Objectives and scope of the project

The Habitats Directive (HD) and the Birds Directive (BD) provide a Europe-wide basis for a coherent network of protected marine (Natura 2000) sites across all EU member states. With its declaration to the European Commission (2004) of ten protected marine sites in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, Germany sent out an important signal for European marine nature conservation. In 2007 these marine sites were formally recognised by the European Commission, resulting in the integration of the areas into the European network of marine Natura 2000 sites. The recognition of the sites was tied to the development of a management plan, which is to be submitted to the European Commission by the end of 2013. The aim of the management plan is the preservation, and if necessary the restoration, of a “favourable conservation status” for species and habitats that are protected under the HD and BD. Within the framework of the research project, proposals for management plans for ecologically sound fisheries in the ten marine sites are to be compiled in cooperation with the fishing research institutes of the German Federation. The project is based on an earlier Federal Agency for Nature Conservation research project, which identified the main conflicts between fishing activities and nature conservation objectives in the German marine Natura 2000 sites.

Project organisation

The project is coordinated by the Kiel Earth Institute, represented by the following experts:

Project finance and duration

This project was financed by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety as a research and development plan and was supervised by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. The project commenced in December 2009 and ended in November 2011.


Coordinator KIEL EARTH INSTITUTE // Ulrike Bernitt //