Southern North Sea

The Southern North Sea Case Study is the largest MESMA case study. It includes nine MESMA partners from five countries (Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and part of the United Kingdom). The case study area is very complex: there is a high variety of biotopes, human activities and regulations. Different countries are involved which all have their own regulations, and in most cases these are not adjusted to one another.
The shallow southern North Sea is a highly productive sea because of the input of nutrients from the Atlantic, the Channel and several rivers that mouth into the North Sea, the North Sea. Fisheries is therefore an important economic sector, but other activities in the area include shipping and mineral extraction (sand, gas and oil mining). Wind farms and marine protected areas cover increasing areas of the sea. All these activities can compete for space, common resource or lead to changes in functions in such a way that their value for others decrease.

Aim of Case Study
We will test the performance of the developed MESMA framework to monitor and evaluate spatial management in the Southern North Sea. Four subareas (Wadden Sea, Belgium EEZ, Dogger Bank and Skagerrak) are selected so an in depth analysis can be performed when there are gaps in knowledge or problems in testing on the entire Southern North Sea scale. The results will be integrated to draw conclusions at the higher Southern North Sea scale again. This so called ‘nested approach’ ensures detailed insights in the spatial management process. We will focus on the comparison of spatial management of marine activities in various marine biotopes at different scales (subareas versus the entire Southern North Sea area) and for the different governance institutions in the selected subareas.