BALANS stands for "Balancing impacts of human activities in the Belgian part of the North Sea". It brings together five partners in an attempt to develop a conceptual policy model for fisheries and sand and gravel extraction, in which ecological, economical and social indicators will be balanced in an integrated approach. Five research teams (the Maritime Institute, the Sea Fisheries Department, the Laboratory of Ecotoxicology, the Section of Marine Biology and the MUMM) have cooperated during the four year project (2002-2006) in order to work out the scope of the project. The research team joined forces with the private company Ecolas nv. The BALANS-project fits within the framework of the SPSD-II research action of the Belgian Science Policy.