Nature and environment | Compendium Coast and Sea

Nature and environment

With an average depth of 95 m, the North Sea is a rather shallow sea which is mainly located on the European continental shelf. The seabed is predominantly characterised by sandy habitats. In the North Sea, water of the North Atlantic Ocean is mixed with fresh water from rivers of the surrounding countries. The surface of the North Sea amounts to approximately 670,000 km², of which the Belgian part covers 3,454 km² in the Southern Bight of the North Sea. In the ‘Thematic chapter’, an overview is given of the scientific knowledge, socioeconomic data and legal aspects of the user function ‘Nature and environment’ for the Belgian part of the North Sea. The international, European, federal and Flemish legislation applicable to this activity is discussed in more detail under ‘Legislation’, while the figures and background data can be consulted in an interactive way by clicking ‘Interactive graphs’. More information about the available expertise regarding nature and environment within the Belgian marine research groups and their relevant research infrastructure can be consulted by clicking ‘Research groups’ and ‘Infrastructure’, respectively.