Oceana welcomes proposal to stop sand dredging in the Sound

Press Release Date: May 25, 2016

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

Oceana welcomes a proposal to protect the Sound from sand dredging from 1 September 2016, which was presented yesterday by Mette Abildgaard (K), Maria Gjerding (Ø), and Martin Lidegaard (R). In the Sound, sand dredging has taken place on shallow sandbanks along the entire Danish coast. This activity is not permitted in Swedish waters of the strait but has been only poorly regulated in Denmark, despite the fact that these areas overlap with vital nursery and foraging areas for important commercial fish species such as cod and plaice.

“Dredging for sand is one of the most destructive activities taking place in the Sound – removing millions of cubic metres of sand and gravel causes absolute damage to the seabed. An end to dredging is a key step towards safeguarding the Sound’s rich marine life and fish stocks, and the local economy that depends on them,” said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “We call on the Danish parliament to put long-term development ahead of short-term economic interests, by approving this important proposal.”

In April this year, Oceana was the first NGO to systematically survey the dredged areas in the Sound with an underwater robot (ROV). The survey revealed holes of up to 10 metres depth in the sea floor. The pits left behind from this industrial activity can fill with organic debris and become oxygen-depleted. These effects can be long-lasting, such as in Lomma Bay, which was last dredged during the 1950s and has not yet recovered.