The effects of shoreface nourishments on Spisula and scoters in The Netherlands

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The coast of The Netherlands is protected by nourishing sand. Generally, two different techniques are used, beach nourishment and shoreface nourishment. The latter technique supplies sand at a water depth of about 5¿8 m in the surf zone, and has been used on a regular basis since 1997 with increasing volumes since 2001. Observations on the bivalve mollusc Spisula subtruncata that was abundant before 1997 and a key food species for wintering seaduck show a decline since 2001. This coincided with a decrease in the abundance of the Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, the most numerous wintering seaduck off the Dutch coast. These observations raised concern about shoreface nourishments. This study analyses the timing and locations of shoreface nourishments in combination with S. subtruncata abundance and spatial distribution. Against the expectation, no causal relationship was found between the decline of S. subtruncata and shoreface nourishments. Other causes, such as climate change, fisheries, unsuccessful settlement or predation of spatfall are more likely behind the decline of Spisula along the Dutch coast.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • southern north-sea
  • wadden sea
  • macoma-balthica
  • severe winter
  • recruitment
  • subtruncata
  • macrofauna
  • fisheries
  • growth


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