Beach wrack symposium at the German Baltic Sea

Washed up beach wrack poses a financial and organizational challenge to the coastal communities at the German Baltic Sea coast.

The German Baltic Sea coast along Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is highly diversified, reaching from steep cliffs to white beaches or forests covering the shore. The region is an attractive destination and tourism is the driving economic factor especially in coastal resorts. The tourist numbers have almost doubled within the last 10 years. But not only the tourist numbers are increasing, their expectations are rising as well, esp. in regard to beach quality. This refers to marine litter, but also to beach wrack, which mainly consists of seaweed and algae. Therefore, the coastal municipalities remove the beach wrack from their beaches in the high season, which adds high costs to the municipality’s bill.

Other issues with beach wrack in touristic coastal municipalities include uncertainties concerning the legal framework for beach wrack removal and possibilities for further utilization of the natural resource. These problems could be exacerbated in the course of climate change and with increasing tourist numbers. Thus, EUCC – The Coastal Union Germany wants to support the coastal municipalities and other stakeholders involved by tackling the issue. The first step was a symposium on the topic of beach wrack including all relevant stakeholders as part of the lighthouse project “KliWaKom” (Communication of climate change in coastal communities).

The beach wrack symposium took place on the 17th of October 2016. Around 50 stakeholders and interested parties gathered in the coastal municipality of Boltenhagen to discuss the current status and potential solutions for the beach wrack problem in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. The beach wrack symposium focused specifically on the extraction, disposal and potential future utilization of the natural resource, as well as the legal background.

In general, the stakeholders would like to see more awareness-raising measures for tourists, better cooperation and coordination between municipalities and involved authorities, a better overview of responsibilities and an optimized value-added chain.

For more information on the project visit  eucc-d.de

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