Conversion of a Nuisance to a Resource and Asset

Beach Wrack - How do we best protect the environment whilst also meeting the public’s demand for ‘clean’ beaches?

Beach wrack plays an important role for beach ecosystems and coastal protection. But, when it lands in great quantities on recreational beaches it is seen as a ‘dirty’ nuisance which is costly to remove. To find a balance between opposing interests, CONTRA is working at 6 case study sites to conduct a fair and sound evaluation of the environmental as well as economic and social aspects. Local authorities need this knowledge to enable them to safeguard our beaches, to reduce the economic burden on coastal communities and to ensure that disposal and recycling options are environmentally sound and worthwhile.

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  • Register now for the CONTRA Networking Event “Beach Wrack in the Bioeconomy”!

    We hope you will join us for the “Beach Wrack in the Bioeconomy” event, which we will hold on the 2 December 2020, 13:00-16:00 CET. Look at the agenda of the event for more details on the programme and register here.

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  • Beach Wrack Compost to Mitigate Methane Emissions?

    CONTRA project partner, the University of Southern Denmark has started a trial to test if compost made out of beach wrack can be used to mitigate methane emissions. This is a part of the CONTRA case study in Køge Municipality looking to see if beach wrack compost can be used as a ‘biocover’ on old […]

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  • The Effect of Mechanical Beach Cleaning on Wildlife

    The University of Rostock has been researching the impact that mechanical beach cleaning has on local wildlife, particularly coastal birds. Four different managed beaches along the German Baltic Sea coast (Zingst peninsula, Warnemünde, Poel Island and Scharbeutz) were compared with unmanaged areas and a reference area, the nature reserve Langenwerder Island. A general quantification of […]

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  • Contra logo.

    CONTRA and beach wrack in the media

    CONTRA project partners Linnaeus University in Sweden as well as University of Rostock and Hanseatic Environment CAM GmbH in Germany actively promotes CONTRA and the topic of turning beach wrack to a resource and asset in the national, regional and local media. Read the local newspaper article here: (in Swedish). The national newspaper article […]

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  • Institute of Oceanology of Russian Academy of Science logo.

    Beach wrack residence time successfully monitored by the Institute of Oceanology Russian Academy of Sciences

    Knowledge of the beach wrack residence time on the seashore is an important aspect when it comes to understanding its role in coastal ecosystems and the potential of its prosperous utilization. The research team of the Institute of Oceanology RAS carry out the periodical expeditions at the seashore of Kaliningrad Oblast (Russia). In doing so, […]

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  • Island of Poel provides fresh beach wrack for composting trials

    With the tourists’ return, the municipality Spa Administration on the Island of Poel in northern Germany, has also started to prepare the island’s beaches for the summer season. In the last few days, large quantities of fresh beach wrack have been collected by the building yard employees of the municipality. In parallel, Hanseatic Environment CAM […]

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  • On The Road to Recovery of Organic Waste into a Growth Substrate – Öland, Sweden

    Beach wrack refers to the piles of seagrass, reeds, and marine algae that are found alongside beaches worldwide and are most commonly associated with sandy beaches. As a natural phenomenon, in 2017 Macredie et al., defined the beach wrack as accumulated detritus of organic material that is washed up and laying on tidally, windy, and […]

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  • CONTRA partners held online meeting on soil improvement products

    German and Swedish CONTRA partners KS-VTCtech GmbH, Hanseatische Umwelt, Linnaeus University and Krinova Incubator and Sience Park met online to discuss ways of making soil improvement products from beach wrack. This is nothing new: spreading beach wrack on fields is a long-term practice that has been part of agriculture for hundreds of years. The aim […]

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  • CONTRA online partner meeting mastered

    Due to the current challenging situation, CONTRA has conducted its partner meeting on the 25th and 26th of March online via video-conferencing instead of meeting in person in Odense, Denmark as originally planned. For cooperation projects, such as CONTRA, COVID-19 means that all of a sudden undertakings planned and scheduled with great care and commitment […]

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  • Beach wrack as an inspiration for the development of subsequent water projects

    On the 12-13th of February, 2020, stakeholders from the Euroregion Baltic Water Core Group, Polish partners, as well as other partners from the CONTRA and Umbrella project convened for a joint event in Elblag (Poland). The focus of the two-day event, including a study visit, was on “water” and “water management”. Its aim was to […]

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  • CONTRA partners contribute to Coastline Reports

    The Coastline Reports is a journal that serves the dissemination of project and conference results with a focus on coastal management and coastal research. It has been published by EUCC-Germany (project partner of CONTRA) in concert with EUCC-International since 2004. The current Coastline Reports 26, from the German national project POSIMA,  focussed on  “Seagrass and […]

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  • Learn more about On-Site Treatment with Reed Beds Towards Fertilizer Amendments

    Project partner, Gdańsk University of Technology (Department Water and Waste-Water Technology, Faculty of Civil And Environmental Engineering) prepared a paper on “Solving the Beach Wrack Problems by On-Site Treatment with Reed Beds Towards Fertilizer Amendments” to present aspects of the complex problems of beach wrack as well as potential solutions to solve them in accordance […]

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  • Cane growing in a box with sand.

    “Fertiwrack case study” takes a leap forward

    As one of the major pillars of the CONTRA project a total of seven case studies are conducted to further develop existing reuse options and to explore new and innovative recycling possibilities. Against this background, on 26 October 2019 a pilot facility was built under case study 6b- FERTIWRACK. The case study is led by […]

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  • People ar conference hall.

    Beach wrack – a problem shared is a problem halved

    On 21 October 2019, stakeholders from the German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (M-V) and Schleswig-Holstein (S-H) came together in Lübeck-Travemünde for a joint symposium on beach wrack management. Results from the S-H project ‘Pilot Region Baltic Sea Coast Schleswig-Holstein: Initiation of a beach wrack value chain as a measure to adapt to climate change‘ (POSIMA) were […]

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  • Legal issues surrounding beach wrack management a topic for discussion

    On October 13, 2020, German CONTRA partners EUCC-D and Hanseatische Umwelt GmbH took part in a working visit to the Baltic Sea Island of Poel near Wismar to discuss, amongst other things, the work being done to address the legal challenges surrounding beach wrack management. Also joining the meeting were the MEP Mr. Niklas Nienaß […]

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Beach Wrack Management

Mechanical impact as well as disturbance of succession processes are altering managed beaches to an extent that raises concerns for long-term consequences. It is vital that we fully understand the impact of intensive mechanical cleaning on habitats and beach morphology.


Turning a problem into a resource

When beach wrack quantities are problematic, local authorities need realistic, cost effective and sustainable recycling options. A number of promising possibilities, ranging from energy conversion to support material for coastal protection measures are being tested to gain knowledge about their service and economic potential.



CONTRA provides a platform for discussion and exchange on all aspects of beach wrack. Main topics include:

  • Beach ecology
  • Beach cleaning techniques
  • Ecosystem services
  • Marine resource management
  • Eutrophication and nutrient remediation
  • Water pollution
  • Legislation and policy
  • Socio-Economics
  • Coastal protection
  • Climate change

Beach Wrack management is costly and recycling possibilities often fraught with challenges.

Start 01.01.2019
End 30.06.2021
Total Budget in €
Programme co-financing
(RU+ENI incl.)
All partners


The CONTRA partners are from Germany, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Estonia. The project runs from 2019 to 2021 and is supported financially by the European Regional Development Fund, ERDF.