In this paper we discuss how a Decision Support System (DSS) for managing the marine environment can be set up. We use the Driving force-Pressure-State-Impact-Respond (DPSIR) framework to analyze which are the major driving forces impacting upon the marine environment in the North Sea. Moreover, a number of potential responses are identified. Furthermore, a preliminary and simplified optimization model has been set up and can be used in a DSS to decide on the best location of marine reserves for the protection of species. The model is based on a bio-economic metapopulation model that can be used to decide which parts of the sea should be opened for fisheries and which should be protected as marine reserve. It accounts for the dispersal of fish and considers both the economic returns from fisheries and the ecological value of marine biodiversity. A number of suggestions are given on how to extend and improve the DSS.