Abstract: Already for almost 25 years, The Netherlands has been talking about the creation of Marine Protected Areas in the open North Sea, but so far no real protective measures have been taken. What are the plans, what needs protection, what will be the effects and why is nothing happening? A major problem seems to be the discrepancies between ecological necessities, legal possibilities and political priorities. What can we learn from Australia? And now the Dutch and their neighbours started to build large Offshore Wind Farms in the North Sea. Our research has shown that OWFs do change the local environment. Importantly, these changes are across all ecosystem components and some can be regarded as (potentially) negative, e.g. avoidance and collisions of birds and some (potentially) positive, e.g. increased biodiversity and local fish populations. But what are the cumulative effects and can OWFs be combined with MPAs?
Biography: Han Lindeboom is Director of Science of the Dutch Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies (IMARES) and professor in Marine Ecology at Wageningen University. He is coordinator of the research programme in a large Dutch offshore wind farm and involved in the long-term debate on MPAs.