Tucked between the Jutland mainland and the island of Fyn lies Denmark’s Little Belt: a marine strait composed of lagoons and common eelgrass beds that’s home to a diverse array of marine life. The southern part of Little Belt is protected under Europe’s Natura 2000 network—a network of protected areas that form the backbone of marine protection in the European Union—but a northern region remains unprotected and exposed to pollution, mussel dredging, and fisheries bycatch.
Earlier this year, Oceana in Europe submitted a proposal to protect a wider area in both the south and north of Little Belt. The proposal—one of thirteen areas that Oceana in Europe proposed to list as a Marine Protected Area around the Baltic Sea and the Kattegat—encompasses a number of protected areas, including Natura 2000 sites and wildlife reserves. Take a look below at some of the beautiful marine creatures that will be protected by this proposal. You can view more photos of Little Belt on Oceana in Europe’s Flickr page.
Green crab (Carcinus maenas) among algae, pictured in a 2013 Baltic Coastal expedition. (Photo: Oceana in Europe / Carlos Minguell / Flickr)
Two hermit crabs rest on top of each other, pictured from a 2013 Baltic Coastal expedition. (Photo: Oceana in Europe / Carlos Suarez / Flickr)
A Butterfish seeks shelter, pictured during a 2013 Baltic Coastal expedition. (Photo: Oceana in Europe / Carlos Suarez / Flickr)
A starfish is pictured during a 2013 Baltic Coastal Expedition. (Photo: Oceana in Europe / Carlos Minguell / Flickr)
A plumose anemone (Metridium senile) in Ammoniak Havn, Little Belt, Denmark pictured during an Oceana Baltic Sea Expedition II onboard the Hanse Explorer in June 2012. (Photo: Oceana in Europe / Carlos Suárez / Flickr)