Trends biodiversity benthos Voordelta, 2004-2018

Shrimp fishing boat
© Hollandse Hoogte / Bert Spiertz
This report presents trends in biodiversity of benthic animals in the Voordelta for the period 2004-2018, to evaluate the nature compensation, by establishing a bottom protection area by excluding beam trawl fisheries, for the construction of the Second Maasvlakte.

In the Natura2000 area Voordelta, the shallow coastal zone in the SW-Netherlands, the Second Maasvlakte (MV2) has been constructed, an extension of the port of Rotterdam. In 2008, part of the Voordelta was set up as a bottom protection area (BPA) to compensate for this. A 10% improvement in the benthic biomass would compensate for the loss of soil area due to MV2. The aim was to exclude beam trawl fishery (260-300 hp) in the BPA. Shrimp fishing continued to be allowed.

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has analyzed the trends in benthic animals with the aim of examining whether quality improvements have occurred. CBS has done this with the help of Multi-Species Indicators, a method that has been refined by Statistics Netherlands and is widely used both nationally and internationally, such as the Living Planet Index. When interpreting the trends, we looked at relationships with fishing intensity, for example on the basis of AIS (Automatic Identification System) in combination with ecological characteristics of the species such as sensitivity to bottom disturbance.

A partnership of Statistics Netherlands, Greenstat and Ecosub carried out this project on behalf of Rijkswaterstaat WVL.