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Gaufre report

Increasing pressure from activities and limited space on land and at sea demands that society anticipates how the sea can be used in a sustainable way. The North Sea is one of the most exploited areas of water in the world. The Belgian part of the North Sea (BPNS) – with its small size and its central location – lies in the hub of these activities.

The GAUFRE project and the resulting report is the first attempt to deal with the high level of use in the BPNS in a structural manner. The project was made up of an interdisciplinary team of experts, representing legal sciences, socio-economic sciences, as well as experts in marine biology and marine geology, who worked together for two years. Although the information baseline was kept as scientific as possible, this team was further extended to incorporate experts from the spatial planning realm. This rendered the borderline between science and policy both more vague and challenging. New scientific data was collected and existing data was updated. This data was then transferred to GIS maps, which were then used to prepare maps that enabled the data to be interpreted in different ways. The collation of the scientific data on GIS maps and the use of interpretative maps provided a solid starting point for structural planning.

Click on the report to go to the download site

A flood of space


In the GAUFRE project (2003-2005) four partners worked together (three research teams of the University Gent and Ecolas nv) to gather scientific knowledge about the use of the Belgian part of the North Sea and its possible effects. Additionally, they tried to work out a vision for an optimal spatial planning of the Belgian part of the North Sea.

This book reflects the spatial-analytical and the design aspects of the GAUFRE project. Major emphasis is on the development of a specific methodology for
spatial planning at sea.The GAUFRE project fits within the framework of the Second Scientific Support Plan for a Sustainable Development Policy (SPSD II) funded by the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO).

Three different versions are available (copyright Belgian Science Policy):


Reference should be made to

MAES, F. SCHRIJVERS, J. & VANHULLE, A. (red.), Een zee van ruimte, Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid, Brussel, 2005, 204 p.
MAES, F. SCHRIJVERS, J. & VANHULLE, A. (red.), A Flood of Space, Belgian Science Policy, Brussels, 204 p.
MAES, F. SCHRIJVERS, J. & VANHULLE, A. (red.), Un Ocean d'espace, Politique Scientifique Fédérale, Bruxelles, 2005, 204 p.

A paper version can be obtained by contacting the Belgian Science Policy

Gaufre workshop report
  • Anon. (2004). Report of the Workshop on Marine Spatial Planning, Gent, January 16-17, 2004. Universiteit Gent: Gent, Belgium. - download