SEEA Ocean Ecosystem Accounting for the Dutch North Sea: towards a first full implementation

Patrick Bogaart, Karen M. Brandenburg, Corine Driessen, Bjorn Lous, Redbad Mosterd, G.J. Piet, M.J.M. Poot, Marieke Rensman, Sjoerd Schenau, Leo Soldaat, Marnix de Zeeuw

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


At the request of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Statistics Netherlands has collected and organized information on the interaction between nature and society in the Dutch part of the North Sea. These data have been compiled according to the international statistical standard SEEA-EA (System of Environmental-economic accounts – ecosystem accounts), making the result the first implementation of Natural Capital Accounts for the North Sea.

The report provides a detailed overview of the available data and how they can be integrated into the SEEA-EA framework. The initial chapters focus on categorizing the North Sea into distinct ecosystems and assessing their quality, drawing on various European data sources and policy frameworks such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. It appears that data availability often depends on reporting obligations stemming from these directives, which may not always suffice for a (spatially) comprehensive analysis.

To assess the quality of the natural environment, diverse biodiversity indicators have been developed, offering an integrated view of changes in population sizes of various species like birds, fish, and shellfish. The methodology of the "Living Planet Index" is employed, as also utilized for terrestrial ecosystems.
Subsequent chapters specifically examine the pressures on the North Sea arising from human activities, both external (e.g., on land) and directly related to the utilization of the natural environment, such as fisheries, wind energy, and recreation. Analysis of these pressure factors aligns with reporting for European habitat and bird directives and the classification of economic sectors as delineated in environmental accounts.

Human activity exploits the natural resources of the North Sea, including fisheries, water purification, and recreation. Additionally, abiotic natural resources like wind energy and sand are utilized, along with transportation purposes. Data on the actual usage and the economic value of these ecosystem services, expressed in euros, have been gathered.

By systematically compiling this diverse information, a more comprehensive information provision is achieved, which can be valuable in shaping policy concerning the North Sea, particularly in achieving a balance between conservation and economic development.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationThe Hague
PublisherStatistics Netherlands
Number of pages220
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'SEEA Ocean Ecosystem Accounting for the Dutch North Sea: towards a first full implementation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this