The Belgian part of the North Sea is 3,454 km2 and is therefore often called our 11th province.
More than 1/3 of our North Sea is marine protected nature area. There are five areas: the 'Vlaamse Banken' and the 'Vlakte van de Raan' are designated for the protection of the shallow sandbanks and reefs (gravel beds and banks of sand mason worms). The other three areas are bird protection areas. Several animal species are also protected: the porpoise, the common and the grey seal and the seabirds.
More than 300 shipwrecks are scattered all over the seabed. When cleaning up the light ship the ‘West-Hinder’ in 2019, 4.5 tons of waste was collected.
A marine spatial plan coordinates the activities at sea (shipping, fishing, sand extraction, tourism, energy production, etc.) with respect for each activity and for marine life.
Belgium has the largest percentage of offshore renewable space in the world. 800,000 families are supplied with electricity produced on our North Sea.
In our North Sea, two to three million m³ of sand is extracted every year. Sand is the most used natural resource after fresh water.