In 2008, the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality notified four proposed Sites of Community Interest (pSCIs) to the European Commission (for protection as Special Conservation Areas (SCAs) under the Habitats Directive). These areas are the Dogger Bank, Cleaver Bank, the Coastal Zone and the Vlakte van de Raan. The areas have been chosen for their specific habitats and ecological values (Bos et al., 2008). In addition, the Frisian Front will be designated as SPA (Special Protection Area) under the Bird Directive. Based on this decision a process has been executed during the last four years for the development of the provisions of this Directive in Dutch legislation and policy, namely the North Sea Natura 2000 project. LEI facilitated this process by making an initial inventory of the fishing activities of both Dutch and foreign fleets in these areas (Van Oostenbrugge et al., 2010). The current status is that for the areas in the coastal zone, management measures have been finalised and implemented. In the Dutch exclusive economic zone the state of play is that for the Dogger Bank, Cleaver Bank and the Frisian Front management proposals are being prepared for decision making in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) context. Designating these areas under national law requires the Nature Protection Act to enter into force in the Dutch EEZ. This has been discussed in parliament (on 13 June 2012). Some questions remain on the importance of these areas for the Dutch fisheries and the economic consequences of management measures. The consequences of the management regime for the Dogger Bank are estimated by the ICES in the international process of the Dogger Bank Steering Group. The ministry of Economic Affairs has asked LEI to update the report from 2010 for the Frisian Front and the Cleaver Bank. Because a large part of the Belgian, UK and German flagged vessels are owned by Dutch companies, those fishing fleets are also taken into account in the current study.
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