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Fact

140 species

Many of the species of fish recorded in the Wadden Sea are visiting species from the North Sea. Others use the Wadden Sea as a passage during their migration from the sea to the rivers, as an important nursery area for juveniles, or as a spawning area in the North Sea. These fish stay as adults in the Wadden Sea as adults. About 20 species are resident in the Wadden Sea and leave the tidal area only during exceptionally cold winters.

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10 million

The Wadden Sea World Heritage Destination attracts 10 million people, about 50 million overnight stays and 30-40 million day-trippers every year.

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Biomass production

The Wadden Sea is one of the highest in the world compared to other similar coastal areas, most significantly demonstrated by the numbers of fish, shellfish and birds supported by the area. Its ecosystems sustain wildlife populations well beyond its borders

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43 people

The island of Neuwerk, which is part of the National Park Hamburg Wadden Sea, is the only inhabited area in the Wadden Sea World Heritage property, with only 43 people living there.

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2,300 species

Salt marshes are hot spots of flora, fauna and biodiversity in the Wadden Sea. They host an incredible richness of insects and spiders, which are dependent on the specific salt marsh vegetation.

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2,000g per m²

Mængden af biomasse, som er registreret på muslingebanker er 2,000 g pr. m2, sammenlignet med omkring 65 g pr. m2 på vaderne. 

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3,7 million

Around 3.75 million people live on the mainland along the Wadden Sea. A further 75,000 people live on the islands.

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2 new islands

have formed in the last decades, the Kachelotplate (170 ha) near the Lower Saxon island of Memmert and Juist, and a new island of about 14 ha at Norderoogsand in Schleswig-Holstein. The islands evolved from growing sandbanks which are no longer flooded during high tides so that vegetation has grown. But losses have also occurred and sandbanks have disappeared, which illustrates the highly dynamic nature of natural processes.

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3 - 1

Since 1978, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands have been cooperating to ensure transboundary protection and management of the Wadden Sea as a shared natural area. Almost the entire Wadden Sea is protected by national parks and nature reserves.

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469,000 pairs

A regular census of 31 breeding bird species found 469,000 breeding pairs. This indicates favourable food availability and natural breeding success. Six species have over 25% of their north-western European population breeding in the Wadden Sea.

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10,000 species

The Wadden Sea demonstrates high faunal diversity compared to other coastal wetlands, with over 10,000 species found. The availability of food and the low level of disturbance are essential factors supporting survival of migratory species. Biodiversity on a worldwide scale is reliant on the Wadden Sea.

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26,000 harbour seals

were counted in summer 2013 on the sandbanks of the Wadden Sea, which is the greatest number of harbour seals seen since the beginning of the Wadden Sea-wide seal counts in 1975. Hence, the total population is estimated to be almost 50,000 individuals.

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6 million

The Wadden Sea is one of the most important areas for migratory birds in the world. Around 6 million migratory birds can be present in the Wadden Sea at one time, and an average of 10-12 million pass through it in autumn and spring every year.

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8,000 years

Since the end of the last ice age, the Wadden Sea has evolved over the last 8,000 years. It is a very young ecosystem in geomorphological and evolutionary terms.