On 9 November 2022, RBINS and FPS Environment signed a fixed term two-year contract that falls under the framework of a specific cooperation agreement on a Time Zero (T0) monitoring as a starting point for the evaluation of the effectiveness of bottom fisheries measures in Belgian waters.
Pursuant to those decrees and the Royal Decree of 9 September 2003 on the rules on environmental impact assessment in application of the Law of 20 January 1999 on the protection of the marine environment in marine areas under Belgium's jurisdiction, monitoring programmes and permanent environmental impact studies are carried out by, or on behalf of, MUMM, at the expense of the holder of the permits or authorisations. This shall include monitoring of the effects of authorised and licensed activities on the macrobenthos.
The objectives of this monitoring are (1) to determine the status of the macrobenthic endofauna (macrobenthos) of soft substrates within and outside management area N° 3, providing a T0 monitoring report. (2) to design a monitoring plan to monitor the effectiveness of fisheries management measures in Area N° 3 based on the T0 monitoring.
Within this part of the monitoring, attention will be paid to:
- The coastal management area (Area N°3). Here, the focus is on the soft sediment macrobenthic communities Abra alba and associated Lanice conchilega aggregations
- Designing (i.e., finetuning based on RBINS propositions), the spatial distribution of the sampling effort based on best available habitat knowledge (i.e., spatial data).
- The sampling effort entails n = 20 Van Veen grab samples. 10 samples to be acquired inside the management area and 10 outside.
- The ecological status for this T0 monitoring must be reported in terms of the Conservation Objectives (COs; Belgian State 2018; 2022).