GAUFRE stands for "Towards a Spatial Structure Plan for Sustainable Management of the Sea". It brings together four partners to introduce a first proposal for optimal space use planning for the Belgian part of the North Sea. The project involved three research teams of the University of Gent (the Maritime Institute, the Center for Marine Geology and the Section of Marine Biology) that cooperated during 2003 and 2004, together with the private company Ecolas nv. The GAUFRE-project fits within the framework of the Mixed Actions of the SPSD-II research action of the Belgian Science Policy.
The scope of the project goes beyond the mere result of a framework for optimal space use planning. It is also aiming at a specific methodology in which both interdisciplinarity, multifunctionality as well as public participation are dealt with. The first proposal for a space use plan is meant to be discussed within a societal debate with scientists, users, policy makers, and the public.