Wadden Sea Newsletter No.33


Wadden Sea Day 2013

2nd announcement on the Wadden Sea Day 2013, which highlights the importance of salt marshes for the Wadden Sea ecosystem and addresses challenges concerning preservation of biodiversity and salt marsh restoration:



Salt Marshes: Our Heritage between Land and Sea
Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Management

To view the details about the event please visit the CWSS website.

The draft programme will be available soon.

As a concomitant feature for the Wadden Sea Day 2013, which this year has Salt Marshes as its theme, the CWSS website will publish short articles to arouse interest and to increase understanding of the indispensable role of the salt marshes in the Wadden Sea. The first one is available here.

Progress in the Sustainable Tourism Strategy

The consultation version of the strategy on "Sustainable Tourism in the Wadden Sea World Heritage Destination" is now open for comments by local and regional stakeholders in the period from June to September 2013. In addition, a proposal for an action plan was prepared as a result of the regional workshops, conducted in 2012, and from the commitment to realise the strategy.

The stakeholders are invited to comment on the action plan during the consultation phase and cooperate actively in its implementation. The action plan will be the rolling work plan of the Task Group for the period 2014-2017 and onwards. It will be evaluated annually and, if necessary, amended accordingly.
The consultation of the strategy and action plan is organized by the members of the TG-STS within the existing regional networks and boards or in separate workshops.

The results of the consultation will be discussed at the next TG-STS meeting (24 September 2013). The final version will be presented at the 12th Trilateral Governmental Conference on 4 – 6 February 2014 in Tønder (Denmark).

Download the English version, German, Dutch and Danish versions are in preparation.

South Korean delegation visits the Wadden Sea World Heritage

Three countries, 20 visitor centres in 16 days – this was a very intensive programme of the South Korean delegation that travelled along the Wadden Sea coastline from May, 21 to June, 5 the delegation made a stopover in Wilhelmshaven. Seven representatives from South Korean environmental organisations and the Shinan Visitor Center were guests at the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park Administration and the Wadden Sea World Heritage Visitor Centre.
The goal of this visit was to observe various scales and types of operation and management of the visitor centres in the Wadden Sea area and to explore the programme for environmental education. The inventory results will be used for building long-term relationships between similar Getbol (the Korean name for tidal flats) and Wadden Sea Centres. The previous workshop on this topic was held in November 2012 in Suncheon Bay, Korea, where Wadden Sea representatives were invited to present the education programmes and visitor centres management schemes.

Similar to the Wadden Sea, the Korean tidal flats belong to the largest and most important tidal flat ecosystems worldwide. This was the ninth event within the framework of the “Memorandum of Understanding” signed by the Wadden Sea countries Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark in March 2009. The Memorandum comprises cooperation in particular with regard to exchange of scientific knowledge and exchange of experience in the field of protection and management of the Wadden Sea.

“We acknowledge the global responsibility that came to us with the inscription of the German-Dutch Wadden Sea into the World Heritage List. The visit of the Korean colleagues to the Wadden Sea demonstrates our earnest shared efforts aimed at conservation of tidal flats worldwide”, - said Jens Enemark, the Head of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat.

“The Wadden Sea cooperation is a great example of successful nature protection on the ecosystem level and its conservation efforts serve as a great example for Korean tidal flats. I believe that together with the Wadden Sea we can raise awareness about indispensability of the tidal flats to the global biodiversity,” – added Dr. Je Jong-geel from the Korean environmental organization “it nature”. The next day the delegation departed to Schiermonnikoog, the Netherlands, to visit other visitor centres in the Wadden Sea World Heritage.

Wadden Sea Research Danish Wadden Sea

At the University of South Denmark in Esbjerg, a conference on the Wadden Sea research in the Danish part of the Wadden Sea was held on 23 May. The conference was organized as a follow up of the meeting, held with the Dutch Wadden Academy and the Danish Research Council in Copenhagen in November 2011. The aims were to take stock of Danish Wadden Sea research on a number of topical issues and to discuss the establishment of a Danish forum for inter-disciplinary research and the establishment of cooperation with research institutes in the other countries. The conference was organized by Mette Guldberg (the Fisheries and Maritime Museum), Karsten Laursen (University of Aarhus) and Morten Pejrup (University of Copenhagen). Around 50 researchers, policy makers and managers participated in the conference.

The programme encompassed three theme blocks: geomorphology and geology, cultural landscape and history, and tourism and valuation, and can be viewed at http://www.danmarksnationalparker.dk/Vadehavet/Laer/Forskning/. In particular, the presentations on geomorphology confirmed that Danish research in this regard is of high standard. In the nomination document for the inscription of the Danish Wadden Sea into the World Heritage List, it is explicitly indicated that “the Danish Wadden Sea is probably now the best investigated area in the Wadden Sea with respect to natural morphodynamics, sedimentation rates and origin of deposited material. …Research in the Danish Wadden Sea has certainly contributed more to the general understanding of the Wadden Sea nature area than its areal share …would imply”. Also the landscape and history has a prominent place in Danish research.

The establishment of a Danish forum for inter-disciplinary research and the establishment of cooperation with research institutes in the other countries were discussed at the end of the conference. Generally, a high interest in the establishment of an interdisciplinary platform was expressed by the participants. However, it was also acknowledged that this has to link closely to the overall trilateral Wadden Sea research agenda and should provide added value to the already existing activities and initiatives. In this context a doubt was expressed, whether the Danish research council granting money for research would be able and willing to take account of such an initiative. The platform could be linked closely to the Danish Wadden Sea National Park which has a function with regard to coordination of relevant research.

Photo: John Frikke

UNESCO work meeting for strengthening conservation and management capacities for Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (Philippines)

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre invited Harald Marencic (CWSS) to a five-day expert meeting for strengthening conservation and management capacities for the Tubbataha Reefs Marine Park (Philippines) from 20 to 24 May 2013.

The purpose of the meeting was to assist the World Heritage site with the establishment of a PSSA designation, stronger management skills and capacity in the field of monitoring and tourism planning, and a more sustainable financing.

The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park was established in 1987 and inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993. It protects an area of about 100,000 ha and lies at the heart of the Coral Triangle. It is recognized as having the highest coral diversity in the world and is home to a high diversity of marine life, key species are whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles and napoleon wrasses. It supports 600 species of fish and 360 species of corals. The key management issues are illegal fishing, increased shipping, marine litter and tourism which were also addressed in various State of Conservation reports to the UNESCO.

The group of invited international experts consisted of Prof David Johnson (Southampton, UK) who presented the PSSA Wadden Sea as a best practice example, Mr. Fergus Molloy (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australia) who presented the recent Outlook Report and strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef, Mr. Chris Briggs (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australia) who presented cooperation with tourism operators and tourism management, and Prof Alan White (Hawaii, USA) who analysed sustainable financing possibilities for Tubbataha.

The CWSS presented the experience with the development of a transboundary strategy for sustainable tourism building upon the Outstanding Universal Value of the Wadden Sea and the developments towards a Wadden Sea World Heritage brand and communication.

The working meeting included a one-day boat trip to the Tubbataha reef which is located about 120 km offshore in the Sulu Sea and a visit of a ranger station at the reef.

Photo: Visit of the Tubbataha Reef ranger station by the international experts (Photo: Chris Briggs).

“Tijwisselaar” – Changing the Tide

A village and a salt marsh as a stage for a Wadden Sea Conference? This is what the Dutch Wadden Academy and the programme Rich Wadden Sea did on 30 May when they held their conference “Tijwisselaar” (changing the tide) in the picturesque village of Marrum in the province of Fryslan, the Netherlands, with participation of 250 scientists, policy makers, managers, business persons and citizens.

The purpose of the conference was to discuss the challenges to the Wadden Sea (region), how to further sustainable development and the opportunities of being a natural World Heritage property. In the morning, participants in groups passed a number of excellent and very instigating presentations held at different locations in the village. The presentations were devoted to e.g. the use of wind power, which is a much debated issue in the Dutch region, making fishery sustainable, the prospects related to the Wadden Sea World Heritage and the Wadden Sea as the central fuel station for migratory birds – incidentally held in a local garage! The morning session was concluded by a speech by Teunis Piersma, who vividly made clear how important the Wadden Sea is globally through the migratory birds and what responsibility rests on us all for maintaining this function for the global community. In the afternoon participants were organized in groups to discuss the outcome of the morning session and to develop ideas for sustainable development. These ideas will now feed into the work of the Academy and the Rich Wadden Sea.

The programme was enlightened by several intermezzos with art performances, music and storytelling. It was a very inspiring conference with a clear World Heritage dimension. Read more here.

Meeresumwelt-Symposium 2013

The 23rd marine environment symposium (Meeresumwelt-Symposium 2013) was held on June, 11 and 12, in Hamburg. More than 300 participants represented a wide range of professional backgrounds and organizations such as international conventions and agreements, policy makers, conservation managers, scientists and inter and non-governmental organizations. The event focused on environmental issues concerning the German marine areas and considered international perspectives. The Federal Maritime Agency (Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie), the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt), the German Federal Nature Conservation Agency (Bundesamt für Naturschutz) together with the Federal Environment Ministry (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit) invited speakers with interesting presentations on a broad range of topics, which were also closely related to the Wadden Sea as the coastal area of the German North Sea.

Recent EU directives like the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive aim for an improvement of the marine environment and speakers presented recent developments and results concerning the implementation status of these directives in German marine waters from management, scientist and economic analysts’ perspective.

Marine and coastal nature conservation was discussed with information on technical developments on the reduction of noise, emitted during wind farm constructions, birds being influenced by off-shore installations or long-term developments of salt marshes in the Wadden Sea.

The improvements of environmental standards related to shipping activities in the area were presented and their efficiency was intensely discussed by representatives from the port authorities, NGOs and federal organizations.

The discharge of nutrients and, as a more recently discovered threat, pathogenic germs are problematic to the North Sea and the Baltic environment with partly unknown consequences for the ecosystem in the future, also in respect to climate change.

Fishery policy and management issues on European level were presented and analysed. The efficiency of recent EU regulations on bycatch treatment led to intense discussions.

The massively expanding amount of litter in the oceans has been discovered as one of the major threads to the environment over the last years. Speakers presented developments on technical, policy and environmental protection level.

The symposium clearly demonstrated that activities around the German marine environment are manifold and driven by various factors. This motivating event was a very convenient platform for the intense exchange of information and raised fruitful discussions around the marine environment.

Further information is available here.

New publication by Waddenacademie: "A natural history of the Wadden Sea - Riddled by contingencies"

Download "A natural history of the Wadden Sea - Riddled by contingencies".Karsten Reise delivered a keynote lecture entitled ‘Turning tides: A natural history of the Wadden Sea’ at the 13th International Scientific Wadden Sea Symposium, held in Leeuwarden on 21 November 2012. This publication gives a brief summary of the knowledge Reise has acquired during his scientific career. The preface was written by Jens Enemark, Secretary of the CWSS.

Download "A natural history of the Wadden Sea - Riddled by contingencies".

Book: The Art of the Wadden Sea, Jürgen Wettke

Die Kunst des Wattenmeeres - The Art of the Wadden Sea by Jürgen Wettke, Amrumer Nehrungshaken/Amrum spit, published by teNeues,www.teneues.com. Photo © 2013 Prof. Dr. Jürgen Wettke

The Wadden Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2009, presents landscapes of irresistible beauty. In the heart of the Wadden Sea lies the National Park Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea, which is the biggest national park in Germany. This region with its great variety of forms and colours was captured by Jürgen Wettke from the bird view distance. The photos display the Wadden Sea area around Amrum, Föhr and Sylt in a way what has never been done before. The images show structures and forms are being formed every day by waves and wind. This is the art of the Wadden Sea.   

Exhibition from 30.03.2013 to 20.04.2013, Kaamp-Hüs, Kampen, Sylt