Final document – It looks nice on the surface, but the sea around Denmark is not doing well

November 3, 2020

After a long weekend of expert presentation, debates and discussions, the outcome of the Consensus Conference on the Marine Environment is now clear!


The very serious condition of the sea has seriously dawned on the 14 participants of the citizens’ panel and they will share their concerns and recommendations to politicians, on which politicians should act immediately. These are some very specific areas that  the citizens believe should be addressed.


  • The discharge of nutrients into the sea must be reduced. A maximum of 40,000 ton of nitrogen must be discharged. The government needs to think long-term and whole.
  • Plastic pollution is a serious problem, also in the Danish waters. There should be more effort to ensure that consumption and reduction of plastics are reduced. A ban on single-use plastics and an increased focus on recycling are called for. In addition, micro-plastics should be banned in cosmetics and groceries.
  • Environmentally hazardous substances must be reduced. Denmark is not living up to its obligations and generally has an unambitious attitude in this area. The focus must be to protect the sea from pollution, rather than leaving it to consumers.
  • Bottom sludge from ports should be treated as contaminated soil and the collected material should be used on land. The tankers of ships at sea should be prohibited.
  • The marine environment must be involved in the climate debate and active work should be done to improve the ability of the sea to absorb CO2.
  • In the case of experts, fish stocks have fallen by 90% since the 1950s. Both problematic fishing methods and the size of quotas need to be changed, as this can only be done in cooperation with the EU, Denmark must bring up the issue in EU. The Citizens’ Panel recommends that private individuals, companies and stakeholders can buy quotas, in order to protect the fish for a period of time, just as you can buy land in rainforests.
  • Denmark must work under the auspices of the EU for gentle fishing and a ban on bottom trawls and other destructive methods.
  • Marking of fishing gear and any mortgage to encourage the collection of abandoned fishing gear.
  • The Animal Welfare Act needs to be amended to include specific wording that fish is not unnecessarily. This must be enforced by tighter controls on animal welfare on fishing boats.
  • The management of the sea is divided into several ministers and management. One minister should be responsible for the marine environment. It should be the Minister for the Environment. An person chosed by the Parliament should be appointed for the sea to act as an impartial and politically independent body.
  • The citizens of Denmark need to know where it is Denmark does not meet requirements for e.g. protected areas in the sea, nutrient emissions, as well as overfishing.
  • Marine areas under the Danish administration should be granted legal status so that legal proceedings can be brought on behalf of the sea in connection with the destruction and misuse of marine resources.
  • There is a lack of awareness and understanding of the importance of the sea for the livelihoods of all of us. We all need to become more knowledgeable about the sea to change our mindset so that everyone takes responsibility.

Publicity in the danish press:

Politiken 23/10 2020 – Der er en bombe under det danske havmiljø

Politken 24/10 2020 – Danmark har nogle af de værste iltsvind i 12 år

Politiken 27/10 2020 – 14 borgere har sat sig ind i havets problemer og kræver handling nu

DR P1 Orientering 24/102020 – interview med borgerpanel

DR P1 Orientering 26/102020 – Interview med borgerpanel og Ditte Degnbol

P4 Eftermiddag Syd & Esbjerg 27/10 2020 – Int. Allan Rosenlund, borgerpanel (ca. 00.42 min inde i udsendelsen)

Download the final document in danish with the recomantations

Download slutdokumentet med anbefalinger fra de 14 borgere til politikerne her: Slutdokument

from the 14 citizens to the danish politicans: Slutdokument