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Innovative methods for climate change adaptation through coastal protection - Focus area Bay of Kiel

The construction of artificial reefs has the ability not only to stabilise beaches but also to create attractive diving grounds, thereby generating new opportunities for the tourism industry.

Schleswig-Holstein, located between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, represents a unique tourist destination within Germany. The sandy beaches on the Baltic Sea coast have long constituted a particularly popular attraction for tourists. While the local tourism industry used to focus heavily on traditional beach and spa tourism, it has recently started emphasising other marine recreational activities. Due to increasing competition among holiday resorts, it is vital to incorporate the needs of visitors who have other interests. Surfing, kite-surfing, fishing, etc. are already well-established.

Water-skiing and “Banana-Boat” riding cause a lot of environmental stress and are therefore very limited. However, leisure diving could be an option for the tourism industry that holds a great deal of potential since it is presently only a niche market and is largely limited to “wreck diving”: Due to extensive “stone fishery” (the extraction of large stones from the sea floor) until the mid 60s, the seabed and its natural habitat were greatly damaged and thus lost its attractiveness for divers. However, surveys within the diving community confirmed that diving activities have a high commercial potential.

The Bay of Kiel represents a suitable location for diving activities due to its good infrastructure on land and excellent water conditions. Adequate underwater structures will have to be constructed to enable natural recolonisation, which could in turn lead to the establishment of a unique diving ground. Through specially designed artificial reefs, multiple ecosystems can be re-established within a relatively small area.

Coastal protection can also be increased by measures in the nearshore area. Artificial structures can be built to reduce the impact of wave action and thus reduce sediment transport. Equalising the wave energy distribution in the nearshore area can reduce longitudinal coastal transportation and thus help to stabilise beaches. These efforts, combined with shoreface nourishment and the establishment of reef-like structures, are appropriate beach management strategies. Different combinations of diving grounds and coastal protection measures could be realised along individual beach sections of the Kiel Fjord for the medium and long term, with the emphasis (i.e. whether on diving or coastal protection) determined by local priorities.

Company for Environment and Coast
Straße, Nr.: 
Steinstraße 25
PLZ, Ort: 
24118 Kiel
+49 431 8805200
+49 431 8804658
Contact person: 
Contact person: 
Dr. Kai Ahrendt