German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)

Mainmenu



Odra Bank SAC


Transcript of the Odra Bank video

The Odra Bank is the central morphological structure in the Pomeranian Bay. Enclosing some 1,101 km², the protected area covers almost the entire portion of the Odra Bank that is within the German EEZ, with depths of 7 m to 20 m. The Odra Bank is a textbook large flat sandbank of outstanding ecological value. The bank mostly consists of medium to fine sands. The sandbank communities are comparatively poor in numbers of species but rich in numbers of individuals and are dominated by bivalves – notably soft-shell clam, Baltic tellin, common cockle and blue mussel. The crest of the bank is colonised by species that prefer especially fine sands, including amphipods of the genus Bathyporeia. These and the numerous juvenile fish found here (see below) are an important food source for many bird species, including red-throated and black-throated divers, long-tailed duck and velvet and common scoter which spent the winter and in some cases have their moulting grounds around the Odra Bank.


Fact sheet for Odra Bank SAC
(In German)
Pomeranian Bay with Odra Bank
EU-Code: DE 1652-301
(In German)
Coordinate of Centroid:
14°20'00" E 54°20'00" N
Habitat type Sandbank ca. 480 km²
Species/Population Schweinswal
(Phocoena phocoena)    
251-500
Twait shad
(Alosa fallax)
Recorded; currently no population statistics
Sturgeon thought to be extinct, reintroduction possible.

Spawning and rearing area for turbot and plaice

Typical sandbank surface. Photo: Hübner/Krause (BfN)
Photo: Typical sandbank surface. Photo: Hübner/Krause (BfN)

The protected area is especially important as a spawning and rearing area for turbot and plaice. Many flatfish species find a superabundance of food here. Inexperienced juvenile fish can quickly bury themselves in the fine sand with a flick of their fins. Many species perfect their camouflage by adapting their pigmentation to the colouring and patterns of the sea floor.

The Odra Bank is particularly important as a marine foraging and wintering area for houting and twait shad. It is also considered an important potential migration and foraging area for sturgeon reintroduced to the Odra Region.


Harbour porpoise subpopulation in the eastern Baltic Sea. Photo: T. Rosenberger
Photo: Harbour porpoise subpopulation in the eastern Baltic Sea. Photo: T. Rosenberger

As regards marine mammals, harbour porpoise have been recorded on the Odra Bank, in some cases with seasonal hot spot concentrations. They are presumably part of the eastern Baltic Sea subpopulation, which is down to an estimated 600 individuals and is classified as severely endangered.

The boundaries of the Odra Bank protected area are defined according to the prevalence of the sandbank habitat type and the episodic centre of distribution of harbour porpoise. Other Habitats Directive Annex II species covered by the conservation objectives are twait shad and sturgeon.

Conservation objectives

General conservation objectives have been set as follows for the habitat types and species by which the site is defined:

  • Maintenance and restoration of the site’s specific ecological functions, biological diversity and natural morphodynamics and hydrodynamics
  • Maintenance and restoration at favourable conservation status of habitat type 1110 (sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time) Code 1110 together with its characteristic and endangered ecological communities and species
  • Maintenance and restoration at favourable conservation status of the following Habitats Directive species and their natural habitats: Harbour porpoise (among other things under the ASCOBANS Recovery Plan for Harbour Porpoise in the Central Baltic) and twait shad
  • Appropriate habitat management for reintroduction of sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus, formerly A. sturio), a priority species under the Habitats Directive.

Potential foraging and reintroduction area for sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus). Foto: K. Wollny-Goerke
Potential foraging and reintroduction area for sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus). Foto: K. Wollny-Goerke

Natura 2000 sites in the German Baltic Sea EEZ:

 

Baltic Sea

Fehmarn Belt

Kadet Trench

Adler Ground

Western Rønne Bank

Odra Bank

Pomeranian Bay

 Print