SeaWatch-B | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research


The citizen science initiative SeaWatch-B collects long-term data on the state of the Belgian North Sea, through observations from the beach. The beach observation network consists of a group of enthusiastic volunteers, supervised by experts from VLIZ and beyond.

The North Sea is constantly changing, caused by natural phenomena and human influences. Strange as it may sound, little or no reliable long-term data is available to allow for trend statements in our surf zone water and beaches. For example, we are not fully able to answer questions like “Are there more or fewer jellyfish now than fifty years ago?”. The beach observation network SeaWatch-B wants to solve this shortcoming with the help of citizen scientists. A feasible and scientifically sound measuring program has been developed for this purpose.

The group of enthusiastic volunteers is trained by VLIZ experts and provided with the necessary equipment to measure a series of parameters from the beach on a regular (seasonal) basis and according to a standard protocol. They measure temperature and salinity in the beach water. They use a shrimp trawling net to collect data on the species of fish, shrimp and crabs that live in the surf zone. On the beach, they count washed up jellyfish, lugworms, limpets and litter, as well as human activities.

The citizen science initiative SeaWatch-B is supported by the VLIZ philanthropy project and the Flemish contribution of the European LifeWatch project, which facilitates research on biodiversity and ecosystems.

For more information: surf to the website of SeaWatch-B (in Dutch only)