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Fish monitoring in the Wadden Sea


Clupea near Helgoland (c) Thünen-Institut/Thomas Neudecker
The scientific research vessel "Clupea" is designed for surveys in coastal waters. (© Thünen-Institut/Thomas Neudecker)

Analysis and evaluation of fish data from coastal areas of the North Sea

The Wadden Sea is an important and sensitive ecosystem. Long-term monitoring of the different ecosystem components is essential in order to understand the processes and their dynamics in this unique habitat. The main goal of this project is to assess the development and status of the fish fauna in the German Wadden Sea area by means of analysing updated monitoring data.

Background and Objective

The aim of this project is to analyse fish monitoring data from the German Wadden Sea area and to assess the status and recent development of the fish fauna in this area. To achieve this goal, time series of different fish monitoring programmes will be updated and analysed in a harmonised way. Trends in abundance, distribution and species composition will be investigated. The Quality Status Report of the Trilateral Monitoring and Assessment Programme (TMAP) forms the basis of this work and will be updated accordingly. The results can be used to inform relevant descriptors of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

Target Group

Science and politics


For this project, data from stow net monitoring along the Schleswig-Holstein coast and from the Weser and Ems estuaries are available and also data from the Demersal Young Fish Survey (DYFS) conducted by the Thünen Institute of Sea Fisheries. This allows to analyse pelagic as well as demersal fish species in order to obtain a comprehensive overview of the fish fauna in the area of the German Wadden Sea. Especially trends in abundance and distribution patterns of priority species which are important for the system will be investigated, but also the occurrence of rare species and the species composition as such.

Our Research Questions

  • What are the trends in abundance by year and area?
  • How does the species diversity and composition change over time?
  • Which factors determine the variability in abundance, distribution and species richness?


Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • Bundesland Schleswig-Holstein
    (national, öffentlich)


7.2014 - 9.2015

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: finished