Summary TheNorth Sea is a resource-rich ocean constantly exploited by the seven – namely Netherlands,Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom – economically-advancedcountries that surround it. Some of the economic and non-economic activities onthe sea include fishing, oil and gas extraction, harbours, industry,recreation, wind energy farms, sediment extraction, military training and theconstruction of cables and pipelines. Over the centuries, the Netherlands hasbeen very active on this sea, putting it to all of the uses mentioned. One ofthe uses is food production which the country is presently seeking to augment.
However, before that can be possible, there is the need for adoption of strategiesto ensure sustainable use of this ocean. It is in this sense that experts have recommendedmarine spatial planning (MSP) as a potential strategy to help put this sea tojudicious use. The Netherlands has developed some domestic policies includingthe National Water Plan 2016 – 2021, the Policy Document on the North Sea 2016– 2021 and the North Sea 2050 Spatial Agenda. The findings of this review showthat the country is presently not performing well, especially with regard tothe production of traditional fish, aquaculture and macro-algae and thereforemust make effective use of the MSP strategy. Keywords:Dutch North Sea, marine spatial planning, sustainable management of marineresources, seafood production.IntroductionThisliterature review focuses on how the Netherlands can achieve her aim ofsustainable food production from her part of the North Sea in the face of otherequally important marine ecosystem uses of this same sea.
Food production,through traditional fisheries has come under pressure due to limitations inspace and over-fishing. The question that arises is how the country could planeffectively to take advantage of the rich resources of this oceans Andreas (2012);Eline and Hilde (2011); Christie et al (2014). This is particularly importantbecause other marine food production modes such as macro-algae and shell fishcultures which can serve as alternatives require adapted spatial planningaccording to Guillermo and Laurence (2008); Ricardo and John (2015); Brijeshand Declan (2015). Asstated above, the Netherlands put the North Sea to several uses besides foodproduction.
Some of these include oil and gas extraction, shipping, sandwinning, energy generation, construction of cables and pipelines and militarytraining. This current situation has created competition for marine space withsome of the activities sometimes crisscrossing and creating conflict as statedby Christie et al. (2014); Katherine et al. (2015). It is for this reason thatexperts have proposed the use of marine spatial planning (MSP) as a way of designingmultiple-use of marine space Giacomo et al (2017).
In this review, therefore,an effort would be made to assess how the country could use (MSP) as a strategyto sustainably manage the North Sea and thus maintain a sustainable foodproduction. BackgroundSixcountries namely Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway and the UnitedKingdom share boundaries with the Netherlands around the North Sea. This sea isquite shallow with depths ranging from 30 to 200 meters, with an average depthof 90 meters and stretching over an area of 572,000 km2 Emilie (2008).Socioeconomically, the North Sea passes as one of the busiest seas in world.
Some of the major activities on the sea include fishing, oil and gasextraction, harbours, industry, recreation, wind energy, sediment extraction,military training and the construction of cables and pipelines Svein and Maaike(2014); Emilie (2008). Onthe Dutch side, the North Sea covers an area of about 58,000 km2.Over the years, the Netherlands has exploited the resources of the sea for itssocio-economic benefit. Some of the benefits which have accrued to the countryhave basically emanated from fisheries production, oil and gas extraction, sandwinning and renewable energy production Emilie (2008). Inview of the above, the country has developed a number of domestic policies forthe management of the Dutch North Sea.
Some of these policies include theNational Water Plan 2016 – 2021, the Policy Document on the North Sea 2016 –2021 (which focuses on sustainable exploitation of resources within the Dutch ExclusiveEconomic Zone (EEZ)) and the North Sea 2050 Spatial Agenda which is the longterm blueprint for MSP. This review will therefore take into consideration howthese policies provide the opportunity for sustainability in offshore foodproduction for the country. Methodologyof ReviewSelectedpublications for this literature review were retrieved from databases thatincluded Science Direct, Elsevier and Springer. Twenty-three (23) high qualitypeer-reviewed journal articles were retrieved and sorted for relevance. Thekeywords and phrases used in the searches included Dutch North Sea, marinespatial planning, sustainable management of marine resources, and seafoodproduction. In addition, some websites were consulted for scientificinformation on the subject. Particularly, websites of the EU were consulted forrelevant information on continental frameworks regarding MSP. These frameworksincluded the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), Natura 2000, the European Blue Growth strategy as wellas some national policies including the National Water Plan,Policy Document on the North Sea 2016 – 2021 and the North Sea 2050 SpatialAgenda.
CurrentOutlook of Offshore Food ProductionFisheriesStatisticsfrom the European Union Maritime and Fisheries Report on the Netherlands, 2013,indicate that currently the fisheries sector in the Netherlands accounts forless than 0.1% of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The fish stock inthe Dutch North Sea captured by the Food and Agricultural Organization Reporton fish supply for the Netherlands also states that it is dominated by demersaland pelagic species. Other types include freshwater and diadromous fish,crustaceans and molluscs (see Chart 1).Source:Food and Agricultural Organization (Fisheries and Aquaculture Department)Chart 1: showing composition ofper capital fish supply for Netherlands Accordingto data from the European Commission, the Dutch fishing fleet in 2013 comprised741 registered vessels, with a combined gross tonnage of 129000 GT, a totalpower of 275000 KW and an average of 30 years. For the same year, the number offishing businesses in the Dutch fleet totalled 456 with the vast majority(about 70%) owning a single vessel. The total landings for 2012 were 165 tonnesand first sale value was €384 million.
The main types of species that werelanded included plaice, sole, mackerel, sardine and shrimp, whereas offshoreaquaculture farms basically produced mussels, eels and oysters. TheNetherlands, thus, is not a major global player in the fishing industry. Forthe country to ensure sustainability in its offshore food production, it wouldhave to invest more in areas such as aquaculture as an alternative source.
According to Poul et al. (2017)global production of aquaculture now accounts for 50% of the world edibleseafood supply. This has come at a time when the traditional means of fishinghas come under severe constraints.
In Netherlands available data shows that,over the years, aquaculture production levels have been shrinking. Startingfrom the 1980s, the production levels have been fluctuating and actuallydeclined since the 2000s (see Chart 2). The country must therefore step upefforts to boost up production levels. Source:Food and Agricultural Organization (Fisheries and Aquaculture Department)Chart2: showing major aquaculture species produced in the Netherlands MacroAlgae (Seaweeds)Sanderet al. (2016) have noted that macro-algae (seaweeds) are strongly emerging as alternativesto land-grown products in food and feed applications. In the temperate watersacross Europe, there is growing interest in the production of seaweeds,especially, in combination with offshore wind energy generation. However, usingeconomic modelling to analyse the profitability of commercial offshoreproduction, the authors came to the conclusion that based on current costs andbenefits, offshore seaweed production in the North Sea is not commerciallyviable.
According to the sensitivity analysis, revenues would have to increaseby about 300%, all things being equal, before profits can be made. Theabove study, however, identified a number of opportunities that can be utilisedto improve the economic feasibility of seaweed production. These opportunitiesincluded, firstly, adopting technical innovations in the production systemsthat will enable multiple harvests per year and secondly, the marketing ofseaweed as human food has to be intensified in an innovative manner since the Dutchculturally, are not used to having seaweeds in their menu.Anotherfeasibility study by Henrice et al. (2016) using a spatial distribution modelestablished that offshore mussel production can be profitable. However,commercial interest for offshore development of mussel culture is lacking.According to the findings of that study, an analysis of technical, economic andtechnological boundaries show that the potential of fish culture is not thatpromising.
For seaweed cultivation, potential exists except that some of thecurrent challenges relating to processing have to be overcome. The study alsoestablished that in order for resources to be managed in a smart manner, itwould be useful to explore possible combinations of marine activities such aswind parks, fisheries and nature conservation. Thereforethe desire of the Netherlands to achieve sustainable food production from thetraditional fisheries, aquaculture and macro-algae production as stand-alonesectors, discussed above may not be enough to achieve this target of sustainablefood production. The country will haveseek additional strategies that such the marine spatial planning (MSP) frameworkas an integrative approach that can lead to harmonization of all foodproductions ways to achieve sustainable food production. Marine Spatial Planning as aStrategy DefiningMarine Spatial Planning Jasonand Lee (2015) define MSP as “a public process of analysing and allocatingmarine uses over space and time to achieve economic, ecological, and socialobjectives.
” This refers to the zoning of the ocean in a manner that ensuresthat different marine activities including fishing, oil and gas extraction,shipping, renewable energy production etc. are brought under control forsustainable management Hauke (2014); Wanfei and Peter (2014); Svein and Maaike(2014). This definition, is because the sea has no physical barriers. Themovement of fish, for example, is uninhibited by boundaries. Likewise, oilspillages flow freely across marine boundaries. Consequently, MSP is not a singlecountry’s activity. It requires co-operation from all affected countries Stevenet al.
(2016); Andreas (2012). One key indicator for sustainable food production form marineecosystem is its biodiversity. Over the last couple of years, there has been arapid decline in marine biodiversity owing to unsustainable uses Katherine(2015). To this extent, one of the core need for MSP is informedby the intentions of the European Union (EU) to ensure that the marineecosystem is well preserved and sustainably maintained Brice et al (2011); Christieet al (2014), Peter et al (2016). Giacomo et al. (2017) note that MSP is a keyframework for delivering conservation strategies in marine environment andreduce competitions among different uses of marine space. Thereare different approaches to MSP. Katherine et al.
(2015) identify three of suchapproaches to include multi-criterion analysis, systematic conservationplanning and trade-off analyses. Focusing on food production, trade-offanalyses appear to be a much more feasible option for the Netherlands. Kirsten(2015) notes that the decision support tools for trade-off analysis haveincreased rapidly in recent years except that their use in MSP is limited.There are also challenges with the availability of reliable data, lack ofdocumentation and the difficulty in the interpretation of results. Holgeret al. (2016) points out that appreciation of the relationship betweenfisheries and MSP is still not clear. Even though there have been severalscientific studies that highlight a strong relation between fisheries and MSP,the actual integration of the two is not very common.
They conclude that thespatial and temporal dynamics of fish and fisheries remain major challenges inspite of the fact that an integration of fisheries is already possible today.In this sense, the trade-off option is probably the most viable for theNetherlands. Food production could be optimised if some of the space currentlybeing used for other activities could be traded off for food production. 5.2 CurrentAllocations of Marine SpaceIn theNetherlands, as can be seen from Figure 1, there are currently differentallocations of space for the economic and non-economic uses of the Dutch partof the North Sea. Source: Integrated Management Plan for the North Sea 2015(NL)Figure1: showing space allocations of the Dutch part of the North Sea for varioususesTable1 below indicates that about 11,374 km2 is reserved for conservationpurposes. The reserved areas include Voordelta, Vlakte van de Raan, North SeaCoastal Zone, Dogger Bank, Frisian Front and Cleaver Bank.
For wind energy, thedesignated space is 743 km2 Cables and pipelines occupy 3,300 km2and 4,500 km2 respectively. Oil and gas, mineral extractionand dumping sites combined constitute a total of 253 km2. Quite significantly,the space reserved for military training is 4,200 km2. The areasreserved for fishing include the EEZ and the territorial waters (except areasreserved for energy production and conservation). Designated use Numbers Use of space Oil and gas extraction 161 platforms 126 km2 Cables & Pipelines (in use) 7,800 km2 Shipping routes 3600 km2 Military exercise zones 5 4200 km2 Wind energy Completed Under construction Planned 228 MW 730 MW 3500 MW 43 km2 125 km2 575 at 6MW/km2 Nature conservation areas 6 sites 11, 374 km2 Fishing EEZ and territorial waters minus areas closed for nature and energy Dutch part of the North Sea 58,000 km2(approx.) Source: Policy Document on theNorth Sea 2016-2021Table1: showing allocation of space in the Dutch part of the North Sea in numericalterms UtilizingMarine Spatial PlanningMSPis a recent development in Europe. It was officially accepted into Europeanlegislation in 2014.
This was when the European Parliament and the Counciladopted legislation to create a common framework for MSP in Europe Jason andLee (2015). Thus, besides the Netherlands other European countries are involvedin a similar exercise Andronikos (2017), making its implementation wholistic. MSPdeployment requires a lot careful scientific planning. There are severalinterests that have to be taken into consideration. It has political, economicand social implications Michelle (2016); Kira et al. (2017); Wanfei and Peter(2013). There is the need for theprocess to be well balanced using different approaches such as co-location andmulti-location Hauke et al.
(2014). Inthe Netherlands, MSP could be used to alter the current allocations of spacefor marine activities. There is no doubt that all the present economic andnon-economic activities are important. However, with careful planning some morespace could be made available to support food production. If the strategy of co-location is explored,for example, the wind farms for energy generation could also be used formacro-algae production after further research has proven that there are no adversehealth implications involved.
5.4 Why Marine Spatial Planning? It addresses the heterogeneity of marine ecosystems in a practical manner. MSP recognizes that some activities will only occur in the sea Crowder and Norse (2008), meaning that economic activity will (and can) only take place where the resources are located, as for example, oil and gas deposits, sand and gravel deposits, and areas of sustained winds or waves. It focuses on influencing the behaviour of humans and their activities in the sea. Although goals and objectives for a certain area are usually set for both ecosystem/natural processes and human activities, it is only the human component of human activities and resource use that can be managed (not the ecosystem itself), e.g., we are able to identify which fishing methods to use at any particular part of the North Sea to ensure sustainable harvest.
It highlights conflicts and compatibility issues among human uses present, and therefore makes them tangible. Through the hypothetical mapping of marine ecosystems using MSP, their characteristics, and human activities affecting it, we can see where conflicts and addressed as is the case with the North Sea at present. Finally MSP advocates a multi-sector management approach towards an integrative decision making on the use of the North Sea.
The development of marine spatial plans for an entire region visualizes alternative scenarios drawn from a specified set of sectoral objectives, which in turn can provide guidance to a range of decision makers, each responsible for only a particular sector or activity of the entire area (e.g. offshore developers of wind farms will see what conflicts and compatibilities their management plans will have with plans for the fisheries management) Conclusion and Recommendations Thisliterature review has looked at marine spatial planning as a strategy toincrease food production in the Dutch North Sea. It argued that the presentallocation of spatial spaces could be reviewed as an MSP strategy to make morespace available for food production. It identified the fact that seafoodproduction levels in the Netherlands are quite low and require boosting. Thisis because huge opportunities exist for aquaculture and macro-algae production.
The country must therefore take advantage of its domestic policies on MSP aswell as that of the EU. Firstly,there is the need for trade-off of spaces Klein, et al. (2013) so that some ofthe spaces currently being put to other uses can be converted into fishproduction. In compliance with EU frameworks the areas reserved for conservationmay not be touched Peter et al (2016). However, the other parts of the available space could be added to the foodproduction sites.
The areas for wind energy could also be zoned in such a waythat the subsea areas can be converted in to sites for the production ofmacro-algae. Secondly,there is the need for more investment in the production of macro-algae and thecreation of a value chain along the production lines. This is important becausepresently, the levels of seaweeds production are rather low. Thirdly,there is the need for more investment in the development of aquaculture. Asmentioned already, the production levels of aquaculture have been declining inthe last 20 years. In view of the high potential of this sector, there is theneed for more investments to scale up food production from the North Sea. Fourthly,there is the need for public engagement on MSP as it relates to food production(Jason and Lee 2015). Indeed, all stakeholders need education on the importanceof seafood and a possible co-location of its production with other uses of theNorth Sea.