Sunday, 2 December 2007

The Coastal Management Sector

  1. Defra's Flood Risk Management Division is responsible for flood and coastal erosion risk management policy, grant aid for capital works and strategic research.
  2. Defra's European Wildlife Division is also important because of the complexities of applying the Habitats Regulations to coastal risk management in internationally defined sites.
  3. The Environment Agency has operational responsibility for coastal flood risk management. The EA has a series of Flood Defence Committees and national, regional and local officers with executive powers and is also the lead agency in implementing the Water Framework Directive.
  4. District Councils and Unitary Authorities with a coastline have operational responsibilities for coastline protection and land use planning within their areas.
  5. The Marine Consents Environment Unit within Defra is responsible for issuing a variety of licences required for engineering projects below high water mark.
  6. The insurance industry is seeking to influence the amount of investment in flood risk management schemes.
  7. The Treasury is the agency that ultimately controls the Government investment in flood and coastal erosion risk management measures.

The Environment Agency

Joint Nature Conservation Committee - Habitats Regulations

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Seabed Dredging

Seabed dredging presents a conflict between economic and environmental interests. Does capital dredging result in increased coastal erosion?
A critique of dredging by a campaigning group.
Destruction of a village after the removal of beach sand
British Marine Aggregrate Producers Association, representing 8 out of 11 companies involved in the industry
Effects of offshore dredging in the Bristol Channel
Removal of beachsand

Possible Impacts - Loss of habitat, underwater noise affecting cetaceans, silting over a wide area, undermining coastal protection.

Benificiaries - Shareholders, developers, the Crown Estate.

Dredging Consents
Approvals required under following legislation:

Food and Environmental Protection Act 1985 - Deposits of dredged material
Local harbour authority byelaws - maintenance dredging & inshore extraction
Coast Protection Act 1949 - Beyond harbour limits

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

CZM and the Crown Estate

Foreshore - Intertidal area
Fundus - Inshore seabed (estuaries etc)
Seabed - Bottom out to limit of territorial waters

55% of the UK foreshore is owned by the Crown Estate, with the other 45% being owned by local authorities, Duchy of Cornwall, the National Trust etc. It also owns 100% of the seabed in territorial waters and all the mineral rights to the continental shelf limit.

Asset value of the Crown Estate - £7 billion
Income - £200 million per annum, of which £38 million comes from marine exploitation (2000), mainly in the form of dredging licences (capital dredging - removal of aggregrate, maintenance dredging - clearing navigation channels)

21% of construction aggregate comes from marine sources with 24 million tonnes extracted annually. 0.12% of the seabed is covered by licences, of which 11% is currently being dredged.

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Law of the Sea

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, which took place between 1973 and 1982. UNCLOS defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. The Convention concluded in 1982 replaced four 1958 treaties. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, and to date 155 countries and the European Community have joined in the Convention. The United States has signed the treaty, but the Senate has not ratified it.

The UN has no direct operational role in the implementation of the Convention. However there is a role played by UN organizations such as the International Maritime Organization, the International Whaling Commission, and the International Seabed Authority.

The convention set the limit of various areas, measured from a carefully defined baseline. (Normally, a sea baseline follows the low-water line, but when the coastline is deeply indented, has fringing islands or is highly unstable, straight baselines may be used.) The areas are as follows:
Internal waters
Covers all water and waterways on the landward side of the baseline. The coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Foreign vessels have no right of passage within internal waters.

Territorial waters
Out to 12 nautical miles from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Vessels were given the right of "innocent passage" through any territorial waters, with strategic straits allowing the passage of military craft as "transit passage", in that naval vessels are allowed to maintain postures that would be illegal in territorial waters. "Innocent passage" is defined by the convention as passing through waters in an expeditious and continuous manner, which is not “prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security” of the coastal state. Fishing, polluting, weapons practice, and spying are not “innocent", and submarines and other underwater vehicles are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flag. Nations can also temporarily suspend innocent passage in specific areas of their territorial seas, if doing so is essential for the protection of its security.

Archipelagic waters
The convention set the definition of Archipelagic States in Part IV, which also defines how the state can draw its territorial borders. A baseline is drawn between the outermost points of the outermost islands, subject to these points being sufficiently close to one another. All waters inside this baseline will be Archipelagic Waters and included as part of the state's territorial waters.

Contiguous zone
Beyond the 12 nautical mile limit there was a further 12 nautical miles or 24 nautical miles from the territorial sea baselines limit, the contiguous zone, in which a state could continue to enforce laws regarding activities such as smuggling or illegal immigration.

Exclusive economic zones (EEZs)
Extend 200 nautical miles from the baseline. Within this area, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources. The EEZs were introduced to halt the increasingly heated clashes over fishing rights, although oil was also becoming important. The success of an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 1947 was soon repeated elsewhere in the world, and by 1970 it was technically feasible to operate in waters 4000 metres deep. Foreign nations have the freedom of navigation and overflight, subject to the regulation of the coastal states. Foreign states may also lay submarine pipes and cables.

Continental shelf
The continental shelf is defined as the natural prolongation of the land territory to the continental margin’s outer edge, or 200 nautical miles from the coastal state’s baseline, whichever is greater. State’s continental shelf may exceed 200 nautical miles until the natural prolongation ends, but it may never exceed 350 nautical miles, or 100 nautical miles beyond 2,500 meter isobath, which is a line connecting the depth of 2,500 meters. States have the right to harvest mineral and non-living material in the subsoil of its continental shelf, to the exclusion of others.

Aside from its provisions defining ocean boundaries, the convention establishes general obligations for safeguarding the marine environment and protecting freedom of scientific research on the high seas, and also creates an innovative legal regime for controlling mineral resource exploitation in deep seabed areas beyond national jurisdiction, through an International Seabed Authority.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Falmouth and Truro Port Health Authority

Responsible for monitoring and classification of live bivalve mollusc harvesting areas. In regards to human health.

Viral infections and shellfish
Estuaries used for sewage disposal and oysters and mussels are filter feeders (oysters filter 10-24 litres of water per hour) and can concentrate pathogens. Shellfish are usually eaten raw or lightly cooked. Main pathogens are norovirus, causing gastroenteritis and hepatitis B, and E. coli which causes food poisoning.

DSP - Diuretic shellfish poisoning
PSP - Paralytic shellfish poisoning
ASP- Amnesiac shellfish poisoning

Outbreaks caused by shellfish
Scandinavia - 1997
China - 1998
Spain - 1999
France and Italy - 2002

E. coli is present in human and animal faeces and is used as an indicator when testing but its absence does not guarantee other viruses are not present. CEFAS manages monitoring on behalf of the Food Standards Agency, which dictates policy to local enforcement agencies.

50 local enforcement agencies
16 testing laboratories
75 production areas (371 rope, trestle and natural beds)

A - less than 230 organisms per 100g - direct human consumption
B - less than 4600 per 100g - purified by depuration before consumption
C - less than 46000 per 100g - relayed for at least 2 months before reclassification as B
D - more than 46000 per 100g - not for human consumption, prohibited

Figures for England in 2007
A - 2.6%
B - 88.4%
C - 7.1%
D - 1.9%

Classification based on trends not individual results, data sets based on 10 monthly examinations with randomised timings to accommadate environmental variables such as tide, winds, rainfall runoff, sewage discharge times and seasons.

Purification in tanks with circulated, purified seawater and UV lights for 42 hours which reduces E. coli to less than 230 per 100g (class A). Water temperature and salinity can be set for different species to induce filter feeding.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Shellfish and CZM

Main species exploited
Prawns - 50 species fished wordwide.
European lobsters - 5 years to grow to a saleable weight of 1lb, live up to 15 years.
Edible crabs - best meat yield April to November. Can move up to 100 miles in annual migration.
Oysters - Natives (wild) not sold May-August. Pacific (farmed) sold all year.
Scallops - Can live up to 10 years.
Mussels - Farmed in Scotland, Wales and southern England all year round. Best Oct-March.
Cockles - Dense beds in most estuaries.

Public right to fish
Right to collect shellfish if there is public access to the shore. Controlled by local bye-laws but not prohibited unless by specific several order.

Policy issues
Marine Bill - Shellfish industry fear resultant Act will enable subsequent Statutory Instruments controlling their exploitation. Proposals do not cover 6-12 nautical mile zone. Sea Fisheries Commitees being restructured. Marine Protected Zones/Areas could be commercially exploited.

Shellfish Waters Directive (79/923/EEC) sets mandatory or guideline standards for water quality but excludes crustaceans. Administered by DEFRA and implemented by Environment Agency.

Shellfish Hygiene Directive. CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) tests and collates samples of catch on behalf of local enforcement agencies (in Falmouths case the Port Health Authority).

33 of 124 shellfish grounds in the UK are in the South West and account for 44% of all landings.

Friday, 12 October 2007

The South Western Peninsula Marine Natural Area

Part of a series covering the waters and coastal areas around England published by Natural England. Billed as "a contribution to regional planning and management of the seas around England". Contains much useful information, especially on marine species and their exploitation.



1 Introduction......3
1.1 Definition and role of Marine Natural Areas.....3
1.2 The basis for Natural Area boundary selection....4
1.3 The audience for this document....5
1.4 The aim and structure of this document.....5
1.5 Geographic Information System.....6
1.6 Conservation objectives ....6

2 General summary....8

3 Physical environment and character of the Natural Area ...10
3.1 Geology....10
3.2 Bathymetry....11
3.3 Tidal currents and range.....12
3.4 Sea-level change ....12
3.5 Water temperature......13
3.6 Salinity ....14
3.7 Water quality.......14

4 Key habitats........24
4.1 The water column ........24
4.2 Seabed substrata.....25
4.3 Notable biogenic habitats......32

5 Key species.........49
5.1 Marine birds .......49
5.2 Cetaceans .......53
5.3 Seals.........57
5.4 Marine turtles .......57
5.5 Fish.........58
5.6 Shellfish ........65
5.7 Invertebrates......65

6 Human activity and use.......70
6.1 Fisheries .........70
6.2 Oil and gas extraction .......74
6.3 Aggregate extraction.......74
6.4 Shipping.........76
6.5 Waste disposal ......78
6.6 Litter.......79
6.7 Submarine cables ......80
6.8 Recreational uses .....80

7 Acknowledgements ........88

8 References........89
Appendix 1 Marine Natural Areas and the ecosystem approach.......99
Appendix 2 Biodiversity Action Plan and Habitats Directive Classifications .....102
Appendix 3 Wentworth and Folk sediment classifications .........103
Appendix 4 Glossary and abbreviations .......104

This report should be cited as:
MURRAY, A.R. South Western Peninsula Marine Natural Area Profile: A contribution to regional planning and management of the seas around England. Peterborough: English Nature.

Available at:

Friday, 5 October 2007

Coastal Zone Management - Questions

  • What natural processes shape the coastal environment?
  • What natural processes put the coastal environment at risk?
  • What anthropogenic processes put the coastal environment at risk?
  • What activities take place in the coastal environment?
  • Who owns what in the coastal zone?
  • How will climate change affect the coastal environment?
  • How is a shoreline management plan best developed?
  • What engineering techniques can be applies to coastal protection?
  • What is the impact of the marine leisure industry?
  • What are the sociological effects of coastal erosion and over-exploitation?
  • How effective a tool is GIS mapping?
  • What has been the effect of historical catastrophes - e.g. the Boxing Day tsunami?

These are some of the questions we will be addressing as part of our CZM course.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Objectives of Coastal Zone Management

1/ Biodiversity and conservation

2/ Sustainable exploitation.

3/ Amenity and heritage (tourism).

Coastal protection or planned retreat?
Development of shoreline management plans by local authority and a national strategy.