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 In this section
 
Introduction
 
North Sea Facts
 
The Belgian part of the North Sea
 
Fishing
 
Harmful substances
   
 Related links
 
Management of the marine environment
 
Mathematical models
 

Monitoring of the North Sea

 
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The North Sea in brief

The North Sea may be a small, shallow pool compared with the oceans, but nevertheless it is teeming with life. The water and sediment are home to a wide variety of plants and animals. The North Sea is also a sensitive ecosystem that is under a great deal of pressure from intense human activities such as fishing, sand and gravel extraction, shipping, oil and gas extraction, tourism and industry. The entire North Sea is surrounded by densely populated, highly industrialised countries. The section along the Belgian coast is no exception to this. On the contrary.

The OSPAR Convention is an international agreement for the protection of the North East Atlantic Ocean, signed in Paris in 1992 by 15 countries and the European Union. The OSPAR Commission supervises the implementation of this agreement and produced the Quality Status Report in the year 2000. This report describes the current state of health of various areas of the North East Atlantic.

According to the report, the consequences of fishing, the inflow of harmful substances and the excessive quantities of nutrients in the sea (eutrophication) cause the main problems in the North Sea.

Some of the busiest shipping routes in the world cross the North Sea. As a result, the ecosystem is threatened by oil pollution which may range from small, occasional oil stains to huge oil spills caused, for instance, by shipping accidents.

In addition to the wealth of living organisms found along the Belgian coast, there are also the minerals. Sand and gravel are extracted for the construction industry. And the dredging activities should not be forgotten. Although this simply involves moving material from one place to another, we should not underestimate the physical effects and the possible contamination caused by the dumping of dredged material from the ports.

In addition to the industries in the coastal area and the economic activities carried out at sea, tourism and recreation also form an important social and economic activity. The Belgian coast is a great tourist attraction for both Belgian and foreign visitors. About 30 million people visit this coast every year, of whom about 17 million stay overnight. Of course, this also affects the dunes, the beaches and the water.

Given that it is not possible to ignore human activities when managing the North Sea ecosystem, we have to find and maintain the right balance between both aspects.

 Facts

 The Belgian part of the North Sea

 Fishing

 Harmful substances





Coastal forecast

TIDES
OSTEND
[TAW]
 
Time
Elev.
 Low
7:30
0.29 m
 High
13:20
4.76 m
 Table Graph North Sea animation Belgian coastal zone animation

Harmonic prediction 
Ostend 1980–2020:
  *to
Enter as YYYY-MM-DD
  
WIND
WESTHINDER
 Speed 5.97 m/s 
 Sector 343° , NNW 
 Table Graph Line plot North Sea animation
  
WAVES
AKKAERT
 Height 1.11 m
 Table Graph North Sea animation
  
CURRENTS
WESTHINDER
 Graph ploar plot Line plot North Sea animation Belgian coastal zone animation
  
TEMPERATURE
OSTEND
 Graph Daily maps
  
SALINITY
OSTEND
 Graph Daily maps
  
TRANSPORT
  Daily maps
  


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