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Management research and budgeting of aggregates in shelf seas related to end-users (MAREBASSE)

Research project EV/18 (Research action ev)

Persons :

  • Dhr.  MONBALIU Jaak - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/2/2002-30/4/2006
  • Prof. dr.  PICHOT Georges - Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/2/2002-30/4/2006
  • Dhr.  DE BATIST Marc - Universiteit Gent (UGent)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/2/2002-30/4/2006

Description :


The research project frames into the strategic research on marine ecosystems and the sustainable management of the North Sea with priority towards the theme ‘Evaluation of sedimentary systems and the development of new evaluation technologies within the view of a sustainable management of the Belgian exclusive economic zone (EEZ)’. An evaluation of sedimentary systems calls for the development of appropriate tools and strategies that are efficient and flexible enough to meet future needs regarding the exploitation of the EEZ. Within the concept of a ‘sustainable management’, the research proposal is relevant towards different uses of the sea such as marine aggregate extraction, dredging/dumping operations and the implantation of windmill farms, however, with the main emphasis on the sediments themselves.

Project description


The Marebasse project is essentially meant to set up an integrated assessment framework for marine sediments. This framework is regarded necessary to be able to answer management/policy questions on how a sustainable exploitation of marine resources should be viewed and what approaches should be envisaged. This implies that essentially an increase of knowledge is necessary on the level of the sediments themselves and their distribution, but also on the dynamical environment. Ideally, this calls for a holistic approach, but it is clear that time and resources impose constraints. Still, nowadays instrumentation and techniques in combination with the necessary ‘know-how’ can largely overcome this discrepancy.

The project is structured around a three-tiered approach encompassing three spatial scales: broad-based, regional and site-specific. Fieldwork programmes will be the focal point of the regional and site-specific research, however with a coupling towards the broad-based approach.

Link with international programmes

On an international level, the project is complementary to the Fifth Framework Research Training Network EUMARSAND (European Marine Sand and Gravel Resources). The project is set-up to address, on a European level, the urgent need for integrated and coherent approaches regarding marine aggregates. However, the main objective of the programme is to train young European researchers, to a high level, in the individual research approaches needed and to provide them with an integrated and balanced view of the diverse and difficult issues involved.

Partnership: Fundacion AZTI, Spain; University of Southampton, United Kingdom; Ghent University, Belgium, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece; University of the Aegean, Greece; Maritime Institute in Gdansk, Poland; Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale, France; Universiteit Twente, The Netherlands and Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel, Germany.

Expected results and/or products

As the integration and the valorisation/exploitation of the research results are an inherent component of the Marebasse project, high-quality end products and strategies are aimed at. The main deliverables can be summarised as follows:

- Review of existing knowledge on marine sediments taking into account the marine aggregate needs, dredging issues and a European review on environmental (impact) assessments.
- 2D sediment transport model of the Belgian continental shelf (BCS) as an evaluation tool for the sustainable management of the EEZ.
- Definition of optimised environmental assessments.
- Development of environmental assessment evaluation tools and strategies (the definition of unambiguous acoustical seabed classes for the range of sediment types found on the Belgian continental shelf; the set-up of a reference manual of the acoustic facies on a BCS level including their eco-morphological interpretation; 3D sediment transport model).
- Definition of optimised environmental impact assessments.
- Set-up of an integrated assessment framework for marine aggregates including a mapping of the distribution of the surficial sediments of the Belgian continental shelf.
- Targeted resource mapping according to end-users’ needs together with a multi-user GIS of Belgian marine aggregates.
- Development of targeted environmental assessments tools and strategies.
- Monitoring and Research protocols and guidelines.



Ghent University, Renard Centre of Marine Geology (RCMG)
Research team specialised in the use and validation of geo-acoustical techniques (a.o. for the prospecting of marine aggregates and habitat mapping). For Marebasse, RCMG has subcontracted the consultancy firm Magelas and the section Marine Biology of Ghent University.

Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences, Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM)
MUMM follows a Management-Monitoring-Modelling strategy. Management because of the impact of human activities. Modelling for operational forecasts and research. Monitoring as a basis of a good Management and for calibration and validation of models

Catholic University of Leuven, Hydraulics Laboratory
Research team in the domain of hydrodynamics and mechanics of sediments. Applications related to wave and current modelling in coastal seas and estuaries, to erosion and sedimentation of (non-)cohesive sediments, to urban hydrology and river modelling.

Contact Information

Vera Van Lancker and Geert Moerkerke
Universiteit Gent (RUG)
Renard Centre of Marine Geology
Krijgslaan 281, S8, B-9000 Gent
Tel: +32 (0)9 264 45 89; Fax: +32 (0)9 264 49 67 /

Georges Pichot, Dries Van den Eynde and Michael Fettweis
Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM)
Gulledelle 100, B-1200 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 773 21 32; Fax: +32 (0)2 770 69 72 / /

Jaak Monbaliu
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KULeuven)
Laboratorium voor Hydraulica
Kasteelpark Arenberg 40, B-3001 Heverlee
Tel: +32 (0)16 32 16 61; Fax: +32 (0)16 32 19 89

Users Committee

An External Advisory Group is established to provide recommendations and guidance over the practicality of all project aspects. A balance was sought between governmental organisations, industrial groups and SME’s and towards the main users of the EEZ.

Bernard Gonsette - Ministry of Economic Affairs - Marine Sand Fund
René Desaever - Zeegra
Bernard De Putter - Ministry of the Flemish Community - Waterways Coast Division
Frederik Mink - European Dredging Association
Geert Palmers - 3E nv.
Jan Mees - Flanders Marine Institute

Documentation :

Management research and budgeting of aggregates in shelf seas related to end-users (MAREBASSE) : final report + DVD  Van Lancker, Vera - De Batist, Marc - Fettweis, Michael ... et al.  Brussels : Belgian Science Policy, 2008 (SP1890)
[To download]  [Exhausted] 

Bibliografic references :

Management, Research and Budgeting of Aggregates in Shelf Seas related tEnd-users - MAREBASSE  VAN LANCKER, V., S. DELEU, S. LE BOT, B. VAN NIEUWENHOVE, M. FETTWEIS, F. FRANCKEN, V. PISON, D. VAN DEN EYNDE, J. MONBALIU, J. LANCKNEUS, G. MOERKERKE and S. DEGRAER Scientific Report Year 1 (01/04/2002 - 31/03/2003). Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs (OSTC), 2003 

Modelling of fine-grained sediment transport and dredged material on the Belgian Continental Shelf  VAN DEN EYNDE, D. and M. FETTWEIS Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue 39, ICS 2004 (Proceedings), Brazil, ISSN 0749-0208, 2003 

SPM Dynamics in the Southern North Sea using Satellite Images, In situ Measurements and Numerical Model Results  FETTWEIS, M., B. NECHAD, F. FRANCKEN and D. VAN DEN EYNDE The 7th International Conference on Nearshore and Estuarine Cohesive Sediment Transport Processess,Virginia Institute of Marine Science, 2003/Oct 

Suspended Particulate Matter at the Belgian coastal waters, derived from in situ measurements, satellite images and numerical modelling  VAN DEN EYNDE, D., B. NECHAD, M. FETTWEIS and F. FRANCKEN Poster presented at the 7th International Conference on Nearshore and Estuarine Cohesive Sediment Processes, INTERCOH 2003, Virginia, USA, Oct 2003 

The mud deposits and the high turbidity in the Belgian-Dutch coastal zone, Southern bight of the North Sea  FETTWEIS, M. and D. VAN DEN EYNDE  Continental Shelf Research 23, 2003 

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