The marine environment and the marine biodiversity are precious heritage that must be protected, conserved and where possible, restored. This, taking into consideration that in the Belgian part of the North Sea several human activities take place and that the pressures on the marine environment are very high.

Many causes for the loss of quality of the marine environment

The loss of biodiversity is a result of different environmental problems caused directly or indirectly by the human activities on land and on sea:

• Eutrophication
• Ocean acidification
• Pollution
• Climate change
• Overfishing & bycatch
• Habitat loss
 Invasive species
• Disturbance

Our approach: the positive marine environment policy

Because of these environmental problems, not only the marine biodiversity is being endangered, but also the many ecosystem services are being jeopardised. The marine environmental policy has the ultimate goal of ensuring that we have a clean, healthy and productive sea with a rich biodiversity. In short, a sea that also in the future can continue to provide the ecosystem services.

The policy of the Marine Environment service of the FOD public health is therefore aimed towards addressing these environmental problems. Preparing the measures to achieve the "good environmental status" by 2020 in consultation with other concerned departments and sectors has now become the priority.