Aquatic Environment and Quality

When striving for sustainable exploitation of marine resources, it is very important to have a well-supported evaluation of the environmental quality as well as the quality of the biological marine products. ILVO uses an integrated approach for evaluation. Using biological, toxicological and chemical tests, we study the human effect on the marine environment (sand and gravel extraction, dumping of dredging material, building windmills, fisheries, introduction of exotic species) and different types of pollution (pollutants, garbage) on marine life. We also study the genetic and (bio)chemical quality, freshness and authenticity by developing analyses and applying them to fish and shellfish. This research includes continual, long-term monitoring as well as specific research projects.

Animal trials consistent with ethics code

More details on the ILVO research portal

Bio-Environmental Research

WindmillsThe Belgian Part of the North Sea is used extensively by various actors. Commercial activities include energy (windmills), shipping, fisheries, sand and gravel extraction, and dregding and dumping of silt. At the same time, the creation of marine protected areas is becoming increasingly important. To assist with spatial planning, granting exploitation licences and implementation of European regulations, it is imperative to understand the individual and cumulative impacts of these various human activities on the marine ecosystems. Within ILVO these are measured based on data about various components of the ecosystem (macrobenthos, epibenthos, fish and plankton) in various habitats. To support these impact studies, we also perform research on (1) the general ecology of the various components of the ecosystem, (2) the natural processes happening in the Belgian Part of the North Sea and (3) the development of easy-to-use indicators.

More details on the ILVO research portal

Chemical Environmental Research

Glass tubesThis research group focuses on safety, quality and sustainability of the marine environment and its biological products. The ultimate goal is sustainable management of the natural marine resources. A multidisciplinary appraoch and integration of knowledge from various research areas are essential to realise our goals. Fisheries products are analysed for freshness, quality (hygiene, nutritional and commercial quality), as well as the biological condition of the fish using sensory and chromatographic methods. Authenticity of fisheries products, including fresh fish as well as processed food products, is tested using genetic methods based on a unique reference database.

More details on the ILVO research portal