Fisheries measures at protected sites

Special measures are required to prevent fisheries activity harming the nature value of the North Sea conservation sites due for designation.

Research shows that some fisheries activities can put the nature in the North Sea at risk. Fishing that disturbs the seabed is a particularly high-risk activity, such as fishing with a beam trawl, shrimp fishing and any other form of fishing that involves dragging a net over the seabed. For this reason, the first step is to find out which fisheries activities pose a threat to which nature values. The next step is to investigate which fisheries measures will protect the nature value of the various protected sites. At the same time, a study will be made of the economic effects of these measures.
Fisheries measures will need to apply to both Dutch and foreign fishermen. To achieve this, measures must be issued by the European Union. Only the EU is authorised to impose conditions or restrictions on all fisheries activity in the North Sea.

Within or outside the 12-mile zone

Within the 12-mile zone – i.e. Dutch territorial sea, the North Sea Coastal Zone and the Vlakte van de Raan – the procedure to arrive at fisheries measures is different from the procedure outside the 12-mile zone. The Netherlands will propose fisheries measures within the 12-mile zone at the end of 2010. Then the European Commission will be asked to approve them. It is expected that the Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation will put concrete proposals to the European Commission for the sites in the coastal zone during the summer of 2010.
Fisheries measures for conservation sites in the Dutch North Sea outside the 12-mile zone – Dogger Bank, Cleaver Bank and the Frisian Front – are also prepared by the Netherlands. However, these measures have to be then formally proposed, processed  and adopted by the European Commission.


The aim of the FIMPAS project (Fisheries Measures in Protected Areas) is to make proposals for fisheries measures within the Natura 2000 sites in the Dutch North Sea. The Minister will read the proposals and pass them on to the European Commission. She will request that they be converted into regulations within European law. ICES stands for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. ICES is responsible for the content of the FIMPAS project being run by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. At the end of 2010 ICES will propose fisheries measures to be taken in the North Sea. These measures will be consistent with the conservation objectives for habitats and animal species that have already been drawn up by the Dutch and European governments.
The FIMPAS project is writing its own North Sea blog. You will find all the latest information, project updates and access to all available information here.