Verslag 11th International Scientific Wadden Sea Symposium

Monitoring and Assessment in the Wadden Sea -Foundations and Perspectives-.

The 11th International Scientific Wadden Sea Symposium

4-8 April 2005, Esbjerg, Denmark

The International Scientific Wadden Sea Symposia have been important opportunities for scientists, NGOs and policy makers to gather and cooperate in the protection of the Wadden Sea matters. This forum has been the impetus for developing the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation between the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark to jointly protect the Wadden Sea since 1978.

An important element of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation is the Trilateral Monitoring and Assessment Program (TMAP) which aims to provide a scientific assessment of the status and change in the ecosystem and to assess the effectiveness of implementing the Targets set by the conditions of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Plan.

The Scientific Wadden Sea Symposia are arranged every 3-4 years, and this year’s symposium was organised by the national Environmental Research Institute (NERI) in Denmark.

Objective of the Symposium
Evaluation and revision of the current Trilateral Monitoring and Assessment Program is one of the main tasks for the Wadden Sea Cooperation. Therefore the focus of the conference was upon "Monitoring - Foundations and Perspectives".

Participants and presentations
159 persons participated in the symposium, of these 72 came from the Netherlands, 45 from Germany, 39 from Denmark and 3 from UK, Canada and Korea.

There was a great interest to present results from research of monitoring at the symposium. In total 66 talks were given together with 26 poster presentations. To cover selected items (e.g. EU directives) or to give overviews of a larger context (e.g. TMAP parameter groups) 17 keynote speakers were invited.

The Symposium was opened by director H.H.Christensen, the Forest and Nature Agency in Denmark together with director H.R. Oosterveld, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Region North, the Netherlands. Both are responsible for the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation in their countries and at the same time H. R. Oosterveld is currently chairman of the Senior Officials of the Cooperation.

To improve the effectiveness of the TMAP to meet the requirements, in particular, with regard to the Targets, the EU Birds, Habitats and Water Framework Directives was an important issue. Therefore the first day was used to summarise the results obtained in the TMAP and to present aspects of the EU Directives in relation to the TMAP and the conservation of the Wadden Sea ecosystem.

Over the following three days results from the TMAP and the recently published Quality Status Report 2004 were presented and discussed. The parameters were: Contaminants and Nutrients, Dunes, Salt marsh, Benthos, Fish, Birds, and Marine mammals. The presentations of the parameter groups were closed by a session on future monitoring techniques.

Four workshops were arranged on aspects, which were considered to give special attention:

  • Monitoring strategies and EU Directives
  • Sea level rise and climate change
  • Effects of shellfish fishery
  • Invasive species

Prize for the longest time series
A forward was offered to the speaker that could present the longest time series. In biological monitoring work 40-50 years are impressive. However, Prof. Dr. Karl-Ernst Behre from Niedersächsisches Institut für historische Küstenforschung presented a time series of 8,000 years, analysing sea level changes in the southern North Sea. With this study, he was the obvious candidate for the reward.

Recommendations and proceedings
During the symposium, recommendations were formulated by the participants which will be forwarded to the Ministerial Conference held on Schiermonnikoog in November this year. The recommendations are finally edited by the Scientific Committee and will be distributed later this spring.

Proceedings of the 11th Scientific Wadden Sea Symposium will be published in the journal 'Technical Reports from NERI'. It is the intention to do this within a year after the symposium.

Karsten Laursen (NERI) & Harald Marencic (CWSS)

Further information about the Symposium and the Quality Status Report 2004 can be found on the website of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS):