Westerschelde & Saeftinghe


Westerschelde & Saeftinghe

  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    43,647 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    51°23'N 03°56'E
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


Westerschelde & Saeftinghe. 04/09/95; Zeeland; 43,647 ha; 051°22’N 003°48’E; Natura 2000 (SPA, SAC). The boundary of the ‘Westerschelde en Verdronken Land van Saeftinge’ Ramsar Site was aligned with the Natura 2000 site in 2014 and renamed to reflect the Natura 2000 site name. Westerschelde & Saeftinghe covers the entire estuary of the River Scheldestretching stretching 60 km from the border with Belgium to the North Sea. The Site is one of the largest and most intact examples of Atlantic salt marshes in Europe. The extensive mudflats and sandbanks regularly support more than 20,000 wintering waterbirds and more than 1% of the respective biogeographic populations of 18 bird species, as well as many other endangered breeding birds such as the Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) and Sandwich tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis). In addition, the mudflats support endangered molluscs, and the tidal waters are important spawning grounds for migratory fish including sea lamprey and twaite shad (Alosa fallax). The harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) regularly uses the Site. Land use is dedicated to farming, birdwatching, tourism, commercial fisheries, shipping, conservation and research. The main threats to the ecological character of the Site are posed by aquaculture, industrialization, urbanization, the extension of harbours, dredging and canalization, the construction of wind farms, pollution and eutrophication. Ramsar site no. 748. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Administrative region: 

  • National legal designation: 
    • Special Area of Conservation - Westerschelde & Saeftinghe
    • Special Protection Area - Westerschelde & Saeftinghe
  • Regional (international) legal designations: 
    • EU Natura 2000
  • Last publication date: 


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