Protection and restoration of marine nature reserves

To mitigate the decline of marine nature and biodiversity, research on protected nature reserves is essential. What effect does human interference have on marine wildlife, and how can protective measures contribute to the conservation of species and ecosystems? What measures are effective, and what steps require improvement? Wageningen Marine Research supports the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (ministry of LNV) through monitoring and expertise.

  • Bescherming en herstel van mariene natuur

In the Dutch part of the North Sea, important nature is protected under policies such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSDF) and by assigning regions such as Voordelta, Friese Front and Doggersbank as Natura 2000-areas. Wageningen Marine Research supports the Ministry of LNV with policy-substantiating expertise, monitoring species and models that allow the effect of measures for the fisheries industry to be calculated. For the period between now and 2030, the North Sea Agreement is relevant, as it contains agreements on new protected areas and nature restoration.    

The Wadden Sea has been declared UNESCO World Heritage. Wageningen Marine Research contributes through research on seals, mussel farming, seabirds, salt marshes, fish populations and (shrimp) fishing.


Many ecosystems in the Dutch Caribbean are under serious threat. Coral reefs as well as mangroves, seagrass beds and cloud forests. The different ecosystems are threatened by invasive non-indigenous species, overfishing, cattle and climate change. Wageningen Marine Research and the Department of Environmental Sciences joined forces to study the Conservation Status of the biodiversity in the Dutch Caribbean. They advised the ministry of LNV to take measures to mitigate the concerning situation.

Arctic and Antarctic

Wageningen Marine Research experts regularly participate in expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic regions to study, for example, the food web below the sea ice, the consequences of climate change, whales, bird populations and invasive non-indigenous species. In the South Pole region, Wageningen University & Research conducts research as part of its Statutory Research Task (SRT) for the ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. This statutory task stems from the Dutch voting membership of the Antarctic Treaty.

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