The number of pollution detected by ships in the North Sea is lower than ever. This was reported this morning by North Sea Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open Vld). Fauna and flora flourish, including harbor porpoises, seals and oysters.
This is apparent from the measurement results of the “sniffer plane” with which the management unit of the scientific service of the mathematical model of the North Sea (MUMM) monitors our North Sea. It analyzes, among other things, hydrocarbon discharges and sulfur and nitrogen emissions from ships.
“The number of identified oil spills has been declining since measurements began in the early 1990s,” Van Quickenborne’s office said. “Last year, not even a single one was found. And the number of violators of sulfur emission standards is also falling. It was only last year that there was a slight increase, due to an increase in the number of minor infractions.The Minister wants to take this matter further by also imposing standards on nitrogen and tightening the rules in other areas.
Within the International Maritime Organization (IMO), it has been established that by 2030, emissions from shipping must be reduced by 40% compared to 2008 and by 70% by 2050. In accordance with the coalition agreement, our country is playing a pioneering role in an alliance of countries that realize this ambition, want to reach at least 55% by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050.
The decrease in pollution seems to contribute immediately to a strong development of flora and fauna in the North Sea. For example, the number of spotted porpoises and seals on flights by MUMM – which also monitors marine mammals – is higher than ever.
For example, during survey flights in 2021, more than twice as many harbor porpoises were spotted as the previous year. This trend is confirmed by the finding that the number doubled again during the first flight in 2022. It is estimated that there are currently around 2,700 harbor porpoises in Belgian waters.
In September last year, twenty seals were also peated during a survey flight. This is the highest number of seals ever recorded during a Belgian aerial survey. And recently, the European flat oyster was spotted in the Belgian North Sea for the first time in twenty years.
“We must cherish our North Sea,” said Minister Van Quickenborne. “It is the largest nature reserve in Belgium. The growing number of marine mammals and species such as the European flat oyster appearing in our North Sea for the first time in decades shows that progress is being made.
Great year for storks: more than 250 young born in Planckendael, Pairi Daiza and Zwin
Free and unlimited access to Showbytes? That can!
Log in or create an account and never miss a thing from the stars.
“Food expert. Unapologetic bacon maven. Beer enthusiast. Pop cultureaholic. General travel scholar. Total internet buff.”