Map of the Week – Marine sediment extraction | Central Portal

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Map of the Week – Marine sediment extraction

Map of the Week – Marine sediment extraction

Did you ever wonder where the sand on the beach comes from? It is the result of the continuous weathering and disintegration of mountains and rocks over millions of years. As larger pieces of rocks are transported from the hinterland by rivers and streams, they gradually get broken down to gravel, sand and subsequently even finer types of sediment like silt and clay. Eventually, this material makes its way to the seas and ocean, where it is deposited at the seafloor together with shells, skeletal fragments and other detritus of biological origin to form marine sediments.

These sediments, commonly called aggregates, provide a crucial natural resource for a variety of industrial, and wider societal, applications. Sand and gravel are the main ingredients to make concrete, the most used construction material to date, required for the construction of roads, housing and other infrastructure. Sand is also important to restore and protect beaches from coastal erosion caused by storms and flooding, a process called beach nourishment. And, with increasing global urbanisation together with increasing coastal erosion due in part to rising sea levels, it is no surprise that aggregate demand has increased three-fold (up to 40-50 billion tonnes per year) over the last two decades[1]. Unfortunately, as this growing demand is depleting existing aggregate resources, there is an increase in illegal and unsustainable sand extraction in the marine environment with potentially far-reaching environmental and social consequences[1].

In Europe, the ICES Working Group on the Effects of Extraction of Marine Sediments on the Marine Ecosystem (WGEXT) is researching the effects of marine sand and gravel extraction to ensure these resources are sustainably managed and mitigation measures are adopted, where required. The map of the week shows the locations in European waters where marine sediments are extracted as well as the end-use of the extracted material.

Access the map

The data in this map are provided by EMODnet Human Activities.



European Maritime Day Conference

European Maritime Day this year is going virtual from Den Helder, The Netherlands on 20 and 21 May 2021. European Maritime Day is a 2-day conference. High-level plenary sessions including inspirational speakers, leadership exchanges and stakeholders’ workshops attract experts and stakeholders from across Europe and beyond. EMODnet Secretariat will host a stakeholder workshop on “Ocean Observation and Marine Data for the Blue Economy”.

20 May 2021 to 21 May 2021

EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree - Pre-registration now open for this online event!

The second EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree will take place from 14 until 18 June 2021 fully online. Pre-register now!

14 Jun 2021 to 18 Jun 2021
Online event

Online ocean literacy workshop on the European Atlas of the Seas

Join us for the ocean literacy workshop on the European Atlas of the Seas organised by the EMODnet Secretariat in the framework of the EMODnet Open Conference to learn about the many different aspects of the Atlas!
16 Jun 2021