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D Evangelinos, Matthias Baeye, S Betrand, Dries Van den Eynde and Vera Van Lancker (2015)

Dispersion and deposition of sediment plumes, resulting from intensive marine aggregate extraction

In: Proceedings of 11th Panhellenic Symposium on Oceanography and Fisheries, Mytilene, Lesvos island, Greece.

Marine aggregate extraction activities, using small (2.500m3) to large (> 10.000m3) trailer suction hopper dredgers, pressurize quasi-continuous the marine ecosystem of the Belgian part of the North Sea. Since the concession zones are within a Habitat Directive Area, or nearby, potential near- and far-field impacts need investigation. Results indicated that, after 2-yrs of intensive extraction along the far offshore coarse-grained sandbanks, some fining trend was observed in the upper seabed. In the Habitat Directive area, mud enrichment has been observed over 3 consecutive years. Hitherto, no direct link can be made with the extraction activities, though the area is further monitored to assess changes in seafloor integrity.
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