Waarnemingen.be - Fish occurrences in Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region, Belgium

Latest version published by Natuurpunt on Apr 30, 2021 Natuurpunt
Publication date:
30 April 2021
Published by:
CC0 1.0

Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 16,742 records in English (571 KB) - Update frequency: annually
Metadata as an EML file download in English (15 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (13 KB)


Waarnemingen.be - Fish occurrences in Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region, Belgium is a species occurrence dataset published by Natuurpunt. The dataset contains over 16,000 fish (Actinopterygii, Cephalaspidomorphi, Chondrichthyes, Leptocardii) occurrences of 132 naturally occurring species (native, vagrant or migrant species), recorded by volunteers (citizen scientists), mainly since 2008. The occurrences are derived from the database http://www.waarnemingen.be, hosted at the nature conservation NGO Natuurpunt in collaboration with Stichting Natuurinformatie. Standardized information regarding the occurrence's sex, lifeStage, behavior, occurrenceRemarks, and samplingProtocol is included as well.

Generalized and/or withheld information: location information is generalized to 5 x 5 km² Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) grid cells. Observer name, exact XY-coordinates, toponyms, and photographs are not included in the published dataset, but are known in the source database.

To allow anyone to use this dataset, we have released the data to the public domain under a Creative Commons Zero waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/). We would appreciate however, if you read and follow these norms for data use (http://www.natuurpunt.be/normen-voor-datagebruik) and provide a link to the original dataset (https://doi.org/10.15468/7reil0) whenever possible. If you use these data for a scientific paper, please cite the dataset following the applicable citation norms and/or consider us for co-authorship. We are always interested to provide more information or know how you have used the data, so please contact us via the contact information provided in the metadata or natuurdata@natuurpunt.be.

The publication of this dataset is supported by INBO and funded by Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) as part of the Belgian contribution to LifeWatch.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 16,742 records.

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Vanreusel W, Gielen K, Van den Neucker T, Jooris R, Desmet P, all fish observers (2021): Waarnemingen.be - Fish occurrences in Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region, Belgium. v1.7. Natuurpunt. Dataset/Occurrence. https://doi.org/10.15468/7reil0


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Natuurpunt. To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 8124cd73-ac84-43d2-ab39-1d80dc346525.  Natuurpunt publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Belgian Biodiversity Platform.


Occurrence; Observation; fish; marine; freshwater; fishermen; distribution; observations; citizen science; Natuurpunt; waarnemingen.be; observation.org; Occurrence


Wouter Vanreusel
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
Natuurpunt Studie
Karin Gielen
  • Originator
Natuurpunt Studie
Tom Van den Neucker
  • Originator
University of Antwerp, Department of Biology, Ecosystem Management Research Group
Robert Jooris
  • Originator
Natuurpunt Studie
Peter Desmet
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)
all fish observers
Marc Herremans
  • Point Of Contact
Natuurpunt Studie

Geographic Coverage

Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region. These regions are situated in the north of Belgium and cover an area of 13,522 km² and 162 km² respectively (13,684 km² in total or 45% of the Belgian territory). Flanders is largely covered by agricultural land and urban areas while the Brussels Capital Region is mainly urban. All occurrence data are generalized to grid cells of 5 x 5 km² of the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinate system, with the grid codes indicated in the field verbatimCoordinates. The WGS84 centroids of these grid cells are calculated in decimalLatitude/Longitude with a coordinateUncertaintyInMeters of 3,536 meters using Wieczorek et al. (2004).

Bounding Coordinates South West [50.67, 2.53], North East [51.51, 5.94]

Taxonomic Coverage

The dataset contains 132 naturally occurring fish (Actinopterygii, Cephalaspidomorphi, Elasmobranchii, Leptocardii) species (as well as a number of subspecies, formas and multispecies) recorded in Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region. This includes species that are native, vagrant or migrant. The class Actinopterygii is best represented in this dataset (113 species), in addition to 15 Elasmobranchii (Amblyraja hyperborea, Cetorhinus maximus, Dasyatis pastinaca, Lamna nasus, Leucoraja naevus, Mustelus asterias, Mustelus mustelus, Raja brachyura, Raja clavata, Raja microocellata, Raja montagui, Raja radiata, Raja undulata, Scyliorhinus canicula, Scyliorhinus stellaris), three Cephalaspidomorphi (Lampetra fluviatilis, Lampetra planeri, Petromyzon marinus) and one Leptocardii (Branchiostoma lanceolatum).

Kingdom Animalia (animals)
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes), Elasmobranchii (sharks, rays, skates & sawfish), Cephalaspidomorphi (Lampreys), Leptocardii

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 1927-03-24 / 2018-12-30

Sampling Methods

The observations (species, date, location, observer) were recorded by volunteers (citizen scientists) at http://www.waarnemingen.be. These consist of a mixture of casual observations of living and dead fish, and catches by different methods.

Study Extent See geographic coverage.
Quality Control Recorded data are constantly verified by fish experts taking the observer’s species knowledge, added photographs and known species list of locations into account. The validation procedure from waarnemingen.be consists of an interactive procedure in which observers can be asked for additional information by a team of validators, after which the validator manually adds a validation status. Records that are not manually validated are additionally checked by an automated validation procedure that takes into account the number of manually validated observations within a specified date and distance range. 16% of the observations in this dataset are supported by a photograph on waarnemingen.be. The validation status is indicated in the field identificationVerificationStatus, the link to the original record in references.

Method step description:

  1. Not provided.

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Wieczorek J, Guo QG, Hijmans RJ (2004) The point-radius method for georeferencing locality descriptions and calculating associated uncertainty. International Journal of Geographical Information Science 18: 745–767. https://doi.org/10.1080/13658810412331280211

Additional Metadata

Alternative Identifiers 8124cd73-ac84-43d2-ab39-1d80dc346525