In the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the marine natural habitats
(NATURA 2000 code 1170) and
sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time
(1110) are found throughout the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. They serve several important functions, such as offering protection for rare and threatened species, as well as hosting important and threatened biotopes. Both habitat types occur in nearshore coastal waters as well as in offshore waters. Calculations show that with around 79% of all German North Sea sandbank habitats and with ca. 61% of those in the Baltic Sea, the majority of this habitat is situated in offshore waters of the German EEZ and the minority in the coastal waters of the Territorial Sea. The same situation applies for reefs in the North Sea (ca. 53% in the EEZ), whereas the majority of Baltic Sea reefs is situated closer to the coast (73% in the Territorial Sea). A great portion of the German EEZ sandbank habitats (64% North Sea, 99% Baltic Sea) and reef habitats (73% North Sea, 57% Baltic Sea) are included in the German offshore NATURA 2000 site nominations.