Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund)

The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme

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Fish spawning pond (“Vispaaiplaats”)

Measure description

This measure was a pilot project to create a suitable area where fish can breed, and larvae and juvenile fish can grow up safely.

Fish fauna is large in harbour docks and the freshwater-brackish water transition is important for migratory fish. However, a survey in the harbour docks revealed that few young fish were present. Fish spawn mainly in shallow, calm waters where water plants grow. Because of the depth of the docks, the steep quay walls and the intensive shipping movement, there are few good spawning places in the port area. A fish spawning pond has been excavated on the right bank in the port of Antwerp and connected to the docks (Kanaaldok B2). The connection consists of 4 cylindrical concrete pipes with a diameter of 600 mm and a length of 30 m. The water level (constant in the docks) is situated at 150 mm from the upper border of the pipes; thus the pipes are not completely submerged. The pond is shallow water (1.5 m at deepest parts). There is some wave-induced current through the pipes, which is probably important to attract the fish into the pipes. Aimed value of pond: absence of large predators, presence of water plants, fast warming by sun, absence of large waves/currents, presence of food.

In general, the fish spawning pond has the objective of improving the natural increase of the fish diversity and density. More specific, the new pond in the harbour area aims to create habitat for diverse fish fauna, migratory fish and spawning fish. Target fish are bream, ruffe, zander, roach and eel. In addition to fish, the pond can also contribute to the growth of aquatic plants.

This investment is part of the efforts the Antwerp Port Authority is making to encourage wildlife that is compatible with port activity. It was a project under New! Delta (Interreg 3B). This project fits in with objectives for nature infrastructure in port areas defined in the Regional (Flemish) spatial plan, and in the spatial plan for the port area (in development).

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Report: Management measures analysis and comparison