The Belgian part of the North Sea is not only home of a rich biological diversity, it is also a space where man is very active. For example, the southern North Sea together with the Channel includes some of the busiest sea routes of the world.

Activities on/at sea
• Fisheries and mariculture
• Shipping and ports
• Offshore energy production
• Sand and gravel extraction
• Tourism and leisure
• Military activities
• Scientific research

Environmental problems due to activities on/at sea

All these activities provide us with many benefits, but also result in environmental problems in the North Sea. Together with the impact of activities on land (for example, discharge of pollutants), these human activities directly or indirectly endanger the marine environment and marine biodiversity.

The marine environmental policy

In order to lead all these activities in the right direction with respect to the marine environment, there are international, European and national legislation and agreements.

The marine environmental policy endeavours to find a sustainable equilibrium between the conservation and protection of biodiversity on the one hand and the human activities on the other, thus between ecology and socio-economy.