Acting on a request from the Dutch government, the European Commission has adopted a Decision to implement fisheries measures to support the compensation of habitat loss caused by enlarging the Rotterdam harbour and improve the environmental quality of the area. The Commission Decision establishes 5 rest areas for seals and birds within which most fishing activities will be prohibited, and bans vessels of more than 191 kW with tickler chains in this seabed protection area. This is the first time a Member State has sought the Commission’s assistance in protecting marine habitats and species within their own 12 nautical miles by using Article 9 of the Basic Regulation of the Common Fisheries Policy (Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002). The measures in question all fall within 3 nautical miles of the coast, and the only other Member State that will be affected by them is Belgium. Before notifying the Commission of its proposal, the Dutch authorities consulted with the Commission, the concerned Member state and with the North Sea Regional Advisory Council. In February 2008, the Netherlands designated the Voordelta area as a special area of conservation and informed the Commission of its intention to take measures to restrict fishery activities. The Voordelta is an extensive area of coastal waters remarkable for the abundance and variety of its flora and fauna, which extends from Rotterdam in the north as far as the Westerschelde estuary in the south. The European Commission is committed to encouraging the extension of the Natura 2000 network into marine areas, and to promoting the use of measures under the Common Fisheries Policy to protect such habitats while they are pending final designation.