North Sea Coastal Area
The North Sea Coastal Area Site (Noordzeekustzone in Dutch) is an extensive area of coastal shallow waters with sandbanks, mudflats, salt meadows and embryonic shifting dunes. It was formerly part of the Waddeneilanden, Noordzeekustzone, Breebaart Ramsar Site, which was divided in 2014 into six smaller Sites which follow Natura 2000 boundaries. The high food productivity of the Site supports healthy populations of endangered mammals such as harbour porpoise and grey seal, as well as more than 20,000 wintering waterbirds and more than 1% of the individuals of the biogeographic populations of six waterbird species. In addition, the site is an important spawning and nursery ground for fish such as sea lamprey and twaite shad. The main human activities include angling, boating, commercial fisheries, shipping traffic and military training. Potential threats to the site’s ecological character derive from aquaculture and shellfish industry, gas exploration, pollution and bird disturbance caused by air force military training, recreation activities and tourism.