Welcome to SWIMWAY Wadden Sea

Wadden Sea World Heritage

The Wadden Sea is the largest tidal flats system in the world, where natural processes proceed largely undisturbed. The UNESCO World Heritage property extends along the coasts of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. In the framework of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation (TWSC), Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands take on the responsibility of preserving this irreplaceable ecosystem for the benefit of present and future generations.

The Wadden Sea ecosystem holds important habitats for fish species - at least at some parts of their life stages. Yet, populations of many fish species in the Wadden Sea have declined in recent decades.


Fish conservation

Already in 2010, Danish, Dutch and German fish experts developed conservation objectives for fish - the so-called Trilateral Fish Targets in the Wadden Sea Plan.

Fish experts conduct a regular assessment of the trilateral targets in the Wadden Sea Quality Status Report (QSR). An overarching target for fish conservation in the Wadden Sea was described by authors of the 2017 QSR thematic report on fish:

There should be no human-induced bottlenecks in the Wadden Sea for fish populations or their ecosystem functions (Tulp et al, 2017)


A trilateral Expert Group Swimway (EG-Swimway, former Working Group, WG-Swimway) is working on improving the situation for fish in the Wadden Sea (see organisational structure of Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation). This goal is to be achieved by fostering trilateral collaboration on the implementation of the trilateral fish targets and to provide an overarching SWIMWAY approach as umbrella for initiatives related to achieving the targets according to the Swimway Vision Action Programme.


SWIMWAY Wadden Sea

SWIMWAY Wadden Sea is an overarching approach - an umbrella – for a wide variety of initiatives related to achieving these targets. In 2019, a Trilateral Wadden Sea Swimway Vision Action Programme was published. This Action Programme involves steps to operationalize the Fish Targets by deriving concrete courses of action.


SWIMWAY Wadden Sea is connected to the World Fish Migration Foundation and Global Swimways.



News – latest Swimway stories

10 fish monitoring programmes
in the Wadden Sea were selected as candidates for the Trilateral Monitoring and Assessment Programme (TMAP), which serves as a basis for regular assessments of the trilateral fish targets.