Port of Antwerp-Bruges – Species Protection Program

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges is home to approximately 90 protected plant and animal species. In partnership with Natuurpunt (NGO nature conservation), a dedicated species protection program has been developed to preserve these populations while allowing industrial growth. This program, established in 2022, focuses on ten of the protected species every five years, ensuring that by 2027, targeted conservation efforts have been applied to a rotating group of species.

Historically, obtaining permits for new infrastructure in areas inhabited by protected species was challenging, often leading to delays or rejections by nature preservation organizations. To address this, the Port Authority has established ecological corridors between nature reserves. Measures in both ecological corridors and core areas ensure that while companies can proceed with necessary developments, the protected species have sufficient habitats to thrive.

Key measures include the creation of a network of ecological infrastructure that functions as green corridors, connecting natural areas within the port. This network helps facilitate the movement and survival of species such as the Argus butterfly, Bluethroat, and various bats, ensuring they have the space and resources they need. Examples of measures are: habitat creation for the natterjack toad, establishment of fish spawning areas, and provision of nesting sites for sand martins, among other species-specific actions. These key measures ensures that conservation and industrial development can coexist.

Some of the focal species include the Green-winged orchid, Natterjack toad, Common tern, wild orchid, and the black-headed gull. By implementing this comprehensive conservation strategy, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges demonstrates a commitment to balancing industrial activity with the preservation of its unique biodiversity. This approach not only safeguards the environment but also supports sustainable development within the port area.