Marine policy instruments and legislation for the Belgian part of the North Sea 2018


The handbook and digital portal provide an overview of the most relevant policy and regulatory instruments in the marine or maritime context, that apply in full or in part to the Belgian part of the North Sea, to the coastal area or to the Scheldt estuary; this means across the different policy levels (i.e. international, European, federal and Flemish) .

Sea Basin(s): 
Application in MSP: 
Applied in an MSP process
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Economic aspects
Environment aspects
Land-sea interactions
Safety aspects
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Coherence with other processes: 
Common Fisheries Policy
Habitats and Birds Directive
Integrated Coastal Zone Management
Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Renewable Energy Directive
Water Framework Directive

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • What are the most most relevant policy and regulatory instruments in the marine or maritime context for the Belgian part of the North Sea.
  • What is the essence of the different policy instruments?

Implementation Context:

The Compendium for Coast and Sea is an initiative of the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ). The mission, goals and end products are guided by an expert group with members from the research community, government and civil society organisations. The expert group is supported by the Compendium secretariat (VLIZ) for the daily tasks and collaborates intensively with the VLIZ Scientific Board, a network of coauthors and reviewers and international experts for the realisation of the Compendium.

The Compendium focuses on the Belgian part of the North Sea (BNS), the adjacent estuaries and the coastal area. The integrated and multidisciplinary character of the Compendium aims to increase the communication within the broad network of marine scientists and experts (from industry, policy, etc.) who are professionally involved with the coast and the sea. Furthermore, it increases the visibility and accessibility of marine research.

The following publications are part of the Compendium for Coast and Sea and are disclosed in written, as well as in an interactive way on the website.

This practice description deals specifically with the last report, Marine Policy - Policy instruments and legislation 2018.

Aspects / Objectives:

Provide a clear, but non-exhaustive overview of the most relevant policy and regulatory instruments in the marine or maritime context for the Belgian part of the North Sea.


In the first pages, the policy instruments are thematically visualized (dredging, research, energy, integrated legislation, agriculture, marine aquaculture, heritage, transport/shipping, nature/environment, Scheldt, tourism, safety against flooding and fisheries)
After this, this publication is organised based on the policy level (international, European, federal and Flemish). Within each policy level, the authors provide the legislation for each type of instrument.
An additional Knowledge Guide Coast and Sea has been developed, which sets the regulating instruments in their wider context. 

Main Outputs / Results:

There are two main outputs:

  • The overview in a PDF format, describing the most relevant policy and regulatory instruments
  • The digital portal. It provides the option to search on a specific policy level ((international, European, federal and Flemish) as well as a specific topic.


 The International and European legislation is also applicable for other EU member states. The portal therefore is an interesting source of information for marine scientists and experts (including Marine Spatial Planners) from other countries. It can also serve as an example for other Member States about how to take stock of relevant legislation that should be considered in an MSP process.

Responsible Entity:

Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee 

Costs / Funding Source:


Contact person:

Dr. Thomas Verleye 

Senior Science Officer Policy Information (VLIZ)