Agreement was concluded in response to a dramatic decline
in the Common seal population in the Wadden Sea in 1988,
which was caused by an infection of the phocine distemper
virus. Since then, the population has recovered significantly.
In 2002 however, the same virus caused the death of
a substantial portion of the common sea seal population
in the Kattegat/Skagerrak area, the Wadden Sea and the
Events like the outbreak of the phocine distemper
virus are natural in wild populations and cannot be
prevented or cured. However, the environmental conditions
of seals are still not satisfactory. The present and
short-term conservation status of the seals in the
area is primarily determined by pollution and disturbance
as results of various human activities. The mitigation
of threats created by disturbance (for example tourism
activities) and habitat destruction (through dredging,
the construction of dikes and dams) can however only
be achieved through international cooperation.
The trilateral Agreement was concluded between Denmark,
Germany and the Netherlands on 16 October 1990 in
Bonn, Germany, and entered into force one year later.
The Secretariat is located in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
trilateral conservation area is situated within the
Wadden Sea, and consists of certain areas in the Netherlands,
Germany and Denmark. The geographical range of the
Wadden Sea Plan is the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation
Area (or Wadden Sea Area), which is an offshore zone
three nautical miles from the baseline as fixed nationally
including all islands.
The aim of the Agreement is to promote close cooperation
amongst the Parties in order to achieve and maintain
a favourable conservation status for the Common seal
population, which is an irreplaceable component of
the Wadden Sea and an important indicator of its environmental
The Seal Management Plan (2002 – 2006)
Management Plan (2002-2006) builds on
the obligations of the Seal Agreement and contains
objectives and action points on habitat protection,
research and monitoring, pollution and wardening,
taking and public information.
The plan covers the Wadden Sea stock of the Common
seal (Phoca vitulina vitulina) and is also extended
to cover the two breeding stocks of the Grey seal
(Helichoerus grypus) in the Wadden Sea, the latter
one not covered by the Wadden Sea Seal Agreement.
The overall aim is restore and maintain viable stocks
and a natural reproduction capacity, including juvenile
surviving of the Common and Grey seal.
It is an essential instrument that seeks a balance
between conservation and management of the area, and
contributes to achieving viable stocks. The Parties
continuously amend the plan in order to meet the challenge
of protecting this flagship species of the Wadden