In part of the Dutch part of the North Sea, stricter rules will soon apply to protect nature. The area is located north of the Wadden Islands. From now on, fishermen will have to leave the bottom alone; for example, fishing with trawl nets is no longer allowed.
According to the North Sea Foundation, 5 percent of the North Sea floor has been protected by the measures that will come into force shortly. “An area as large as the province of Drenthe”, according to the foundation.
A publication by the European Union shows that so-called bottom-disturbing fishing is no longer allowed in nature reserves such as the Cleaver Bank, Frisian Front and the Central Oyster Grounds, Omrop Fryslân reports. Similar restrictions have been imposed in parts of the German North Sea, such as around the Dogger Bank. They start in three weeks.
The Dutch areas have had a protected status for some time, but the rules are therefore being tightened. According to the North Sea Foundation, up to now 0.3 percent was really protected against seabed disturbance by fishing. “This 5 percent is an important, first hurdle on the way to a truly healthy North Sea,” says director Wytske Postma in a statement.
In the so-called North Sea Agreement, the parties agreed in 2020 that 15 percent of the North Sea must be protected against seabed disturbance by fisheries by 2030. The fishing industry has not signed that agreement. Fishermen believe that they have too little space left, partly because the North Sea will be filled with wind farms in the coming years.
According to the Vissersbond, the agreement “closes too many vital fishing grounds” and offers too little perspective for fishermen. Earlier this month, the union said that the plan to protect 15 percent of the North Sea will have a major impact on fisheries.
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