Shellfish, Wadden Sea, The Netherlands

Resource System
Coastal marine ecosystem
Resource Units

The Wadden Sea is a network of tidal channels, sandbars, mudflats, salt marshes and dune islands covering approximately 9000 km2 located at the northwest corner of the Netherlands along the North Sea and extending east along the coast of Germany and then north to Esbjerg in Denmark. The Wadden Sea is considered Europe’s largest wetland ecosystem and is also one of the largest in the world, providing high biomass production and habitat for birds, sea mammals, fish species and shellfish. The Dutch part of the Wadden Sea has been protected and designated as a wetland of international importance under a number of national and international conservation policies. The Wadden Sea is also an important economic driver with a role in shipping, fishing, mineral and gas extraction, recreation and military defense. The case study focuses on the role of the commercial shellfish industry in a multi-party co-management framework aimed at the integration of shellfish fisheries, other sectoral objectives, and nature values which began with an amendment to the Wadden Sea Memorandum in 1994. The case study has subsequently been used in comparative analyses regarding Ostrom's Design Principles (see bibliography).