Sand and gravel are amongst the most extracted resources worldwide, exceeding fossil fuels and biomass. Large-scale marine sand extraction leads to important ecosystem effects through changes in flows and sediments, and physical disturbance of benthic habitats. Changes in connectivity between pawning and nursery areas in combination with changes in nearshore food availability due to large-scale extractions may influence fish population dynamics.
The project will study, for the first time in unison between stakeholders, the governance linkages between the fisheries sector and sand extraction with the goal to optimise large-scale sand extraction designs to benefit ecology and economy. With the aid of a Sand Extraction Serious Game we will develop operational recommendations for future ecological large-scale sand extraction that support policymakers, the dredging industry, nature organisations, scientists and the fisheries sector on ecosystem-based sustainable sand extraction, to be applied in the Netherlands and abroad.
The NSAC supported this project proposal. If and when the project is approved, the NSAC members of the Ecosystem Working Group will monitor its progress.