Ecosystem Management

Defra say: "It is generally acknowledged that we lack a strategic, forward looking framework for managing the marine area as a whole." (p 31 consult doc)

Right on!

The seas are a three dimensional dynamic play and work ground , generally public access.

2002: Safeguarding our Seas - this report from Defra gave the debate on ecosystem management "legs"

2004: Safeguarding Sea Life

2004: Turning the Tide

Make sure you understand the distinction between an EIA and SEA

Response of BSAC to the Marine Bill

Engines for Change - law Making in England

For an overview of the Parlaimentary process and the view from Number 10

Information about the relevant Standing Committee in the House of Commons here

For information on bills currently in the parliamentary process see here

And petitions?

Legalities of Buying Boats


Agreement between Berthon's brokerage and vendor

Registration of small craft



buying boats

insuring boats

surveying boats


metals in the marine environment

rigging loads


cathodic protection see 583-117

sail making

gel coat repair

Regulations for Small Craft

A ship is defined by the Merchant Shipping Act as "every description of vessel used in navigation". A discussion on the legal definition of ship is here. Applicability of the law to kite surfers is here.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has defined the legal responsibilities of small recreational craft here. If boats are to be used commercially, and if they carry less than twleve passengers then they have to comply with Codes of Practice. These Codes effectively exempt small craft fro the provisions of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) which is applicable by international agreement to all vessels. Note that the MCA has introduced the Harmonised Code, ie one Code that replaces the four codes referenced above. Legally though, the Harmonised Code is not yet in force.

All boats "put onto the market" in the European Economic Area have to comply with the Recreational Craft Directive. Follow these links...

RYA Introductory Guide - read and answer ten unseen questions

Exclusions from the RCD

Comprehensive list of standards

Guidance as to the technical documentation that is required from the boatbuilder

Example of Owner's Manual that the boatbuilder must supply

Examples of the Declaration of Conformity that the boatbuilder must supply

What happens if you want to import a boat into the EEA

Link to Seafish standards of construction for fishing boats

Info on calculating the scantling numeral

ISO 12215

Sea Fisheries Committees

A view from Sussex

And South Wales

And Cornwall

Investigate this resource and learn

How are fishing boats licenced?

Guidance Note from DEFRa on role of SFC's

WWF paper on Sea Fisheries

For a presentation on the public right to fish

Note particularly the use of "Several Orders". These are Orders issued by Ministers to restrict the public right to extract shellfish. See also here , and note that the process can take years. Also from DEFRA which gives a clear distincion between Several and Regulating Orders. And for the final word on shellfish management see here

Carbon Footprints

The Guardian published an article on Feb 6 2006 for schools.
It gave the following web links that might be of interest...
stats - NSO
  • the average British footprint is 11,000kg of co2 per annum
  • this must, it is argued, reduce to 2,500kg

Law of the Sea

Law of the Sea
71% of the globe is covered by water - and increasing. (For UK projections click here). Thus there is tension between Nation States as to who has jurisdiction over particular areas of the sea.
The defining instrument of international law is UNCLOS III, which entered in to force in 1994. For those countries who have signed up see
Issues which UNCLOS attempts to deal with: Pollution, Navigation, Archipelagic Status, Transit Regimes, EEZ's, Continental Shelfs, Jurisdiction, Mining/Extraction, Research and Dispute Setlement. To this should be added the so-called War Against Terror. The United States of America is particularly concerned that the WAT is undermined by UNCLOS.
There are various terms applicable to UNCLOS that need to be defined. for a graphic...
Baseline: Lowest Astronomical Tide; note that the baseline can be straightened up pin the event of a heavily indented coastline.
Internal Waters: Waters inside of baseline. There is no right of innocent passage for foreign flag ships.
Territorial Waters: 12 NM from the baseline. Foreign flag ships have right of passage. The coastal state has full jurisdiction.
Contiguous Zone: A further 12 NM can be declared (ie 24 NM from Baseline) to give jurisdiction over issues such as UCH (underwater coastal heritage, smuggling and immigration.
EEZ: Exclusive Economic Zone
Continental Shelf:
Archipelagic Waters:
For a full report on CZM in the Irish Sea and Bristol Channel, see . This is an excellent paper from DEFRA indicating areas of debate over the management of the coastal zone.

Statutory Nuisances

Nuisance is a concept that has been developed by the Common Law and describes a particular "tort" or civil wrong. If my neighbour is a nuisance, I will take him to the County court and either claim dames or seek an injunction to sop the nuisance.

Stautory nuisances are wholly statutory causes of action, based on the Environmental Protection Act of 1990. Part III of that act states:

79.—(1) Subject to subsections (2) to (6) below, the following matters constitute "statutory nuisances" for the purposes of this Part, that is to say—
(a) any premises in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
(b) smoke emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
(c) fumes or gases emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
(d) any dust, steam, smell or other effluvia arising on industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
(e) any accumulation or deposit which is prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
(f) any animal kept in such a place or manner as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
(g) noise emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
(h) any other matter declared by any enactment to be a statutory nuisance;and it shall be the duty of every local authority to cause its area to be inspected from time to time to detect any statutory nuisances which ought to be dealt with under section 80 below and, where a complaint of a statutory nuisance is made to it by a person living within its area, to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to investigate the complaint.

The thrust of the legislation is stop the recurrence of a statutory nuisance, ultimately supported by criminal enforcement.

Local Authorities are the competant authorities, with Environemental Health Officers charged with actual responsiblity. Once an Abatement Notice has been issued by the EHO, the recipeint has 21 days wihtin which to appeal to the Magistrates Court. Failure to comply with the notice is an offence. If a busienss or trade does not comply with the Notice, there is a maximum fine of £20,000. The Court has a discretion to award compensation up to £5000.

What Defences could the recipent of a Notice raise? He could say - and has to prove - that he took the best practicable means to prevent or conuteract the effects of the nuisance. This defence is limited to traders, and does not include smoke or fumes.

Designated Areas of Conservation Management

Wouldn't it be nice to have a map of all land and territorial waters within the jurisdiction of English law, showing all the different areas of nature designations?

No such luck - however, if you go to you will find an interactive map.

First, let's establish who is supposed to do what in England and Wales.

The Joint Nature Conservation Council is the statutory adviser to Government on UK and international nature conservation. Its work contributes to maintaining and enriching biological diversity, conserving geological features and sustaining natural systems. JNCC delivers the UK and international responsibilities of the four country nature conservation agencies - Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside, the Countryside Council for Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Natural England Natural England works for people, places and nature to conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban, coastal and marine areas.

The IUCN - or the World Conservation Union - has an advisory role to organisations within 181 countries in the world.

So what is a Designated Area?

Start your study with the Bio Diversity Convention of 1992 (entry into force 1993) which establishes a legal framework for the preservation of bio diversity. Contracting Parties are required to create and enforce national strategies and action plans to conserve, protect and enhance biological diversity. In 1998 the EU set up the European Bio Diversity Strategy, followed by Bio Diversity Action Plans which define, on a sectoral basis, concrete actions and measures to meet the objectives of the strategy, and specify measurable targets. The BAPs for the UK can be found here

The key focus of the BAP's is to ensure that species and habitats are preserved. As an example look at this, which specifies the situation so far as maerl is concerned.

The JNCC have a useful resource here which defines Designated Areas. Also see my blog on this site SSSI...

Make sure you know about the following - Marine Nature Reserves, No Take Zones, Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protected Areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Volunatry Marine conservation Areas, World Heritage Sites, Ramsar Sites, Fisheries Closed Areas, Fisheries Boxes, MCA Exclusion Zones, MCA Protected Place, MCA Controlled Sites, MCA Monument Sites, Oil and Gas Safety Zones, Wind Energy Exclusion Zone, Military Exclusion Zone and Marine Environment High Risk Areas. These designated areas are what we have a the moment.

SAC's are supposed to be an important management tool - however, note the crit by the Cornwall Wildlife Trusts here, page 47. The JNCC have a summary of Marine SAC's here

Under OSPAR (see below) the UK is obliged to develop a series of Marine Protected Areas - ie Nationally Important Marine Sites, and Highly Protected Marine Reserves.

For wwf publications, see

I particualrly recommend
this wwf publication on Marine Protected Areas (MPA). Here you will see that the IUCN has defined an MPA as "any area of intertidal or subtidal terrain, together with its overlying water and associated flora, fauna, historical and cultural features, which has been reserved by law or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed einvironment." Note that MPA's extend to historical and cultural features, though the main thrust is the conservation of biodiversity.
Worldwide, MPA's are generally situated in territorial waters, but some are in EEZ's. The legal situation regarding MPA's on the
High Seas is not clear, though this might help.

Currently, the CBD calls for a network of MPA's to be established by 2012 worldwide; OSPAR calls for an ecologically coherent network of well managed marine protected areas by 2010; and DEFRA are making proposals for MPA's to be established as part of the Marine Bill proposals.

Note that there are already a significant number of MPA's established by the Habitats Directive, ie SAC's which form part of the Natura 2000 network.

And don't let the designation MNR (Marine Nature Reserve) confuse you. This category of MPA was set up by the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act - to date only 3 have been introduced in the UK.

There are also de facto MPA's, such as safety zones around oil rigs for instance.

Environmental Impact Assessment

At an early stage of any proposed development, the scope of issues to be determined should be addressed. This is called - wait for it - "scoping".
The following issues might be addressed in a marine devleopment;
  • Invite participation of all stakeholders
  • Legislative context
  • Establish scope of issues to be addressed in EIA
  • Identify issues which have been addressed elsewhere
  • Identify consultations required
  • Overview of proposed scheme, with impacts on water qulity, ecology, ornithology, sedimentary regime, fisheries, navigation, heritage, recreation, noise, air quality, geology, traffic, socio-economics

Case Study

Falmouth harbour Commissioners have started a project to dredge a channel within Falmouth Harbour to allow access to the falmouth Cruise Terminal of large cruise ships.

Scoping and EIA will cost £410,000. At time of writing the contract for the full EIA is under tender. The scoping was undertaken by Royal Haskoning - a good overview of the EIA process can be found on page 57.

It has been estimated that 250,000 cubic metres of soil will have to be dredged. the spoil is likely to be heavily contaminated by centuries of mining/shipping waste product.

Appropriate legislation; EIA Directive (for a local governement perspective see), Coast Protection Act 1949, Conservation Regulations 1994 and, for a bit of a shock...

The Conservation Regulations transposed the EU's Habitats Directive. Understanding these Regualtions is key, since the Cruise Terminal is within the Fal/Helford SAC. Note that Natural England provide a mapping service here

Cutting the crap, there are two big issues: what will the effect be of the inevitable release of toxic wastes into the water column, and where will those wastes go? Dunno, and a variety of places.

If approved, the work will start after the transposition of the Environmental Liability Directive. The Directive simply obliges operators to pay for pollution and remediation costs. So if the dredging all goes tits up resulting in the destruction of habitats/fisheries, will the operators be liable? Er, no, actually. Under the ELD it is a defence if the works were carried out under permit.

Consents: CPA49 s.34 requires consent from the Secretary of State for Transport; FEPA85 requires consents for marine works and dredging from MCEU.

At the end of the process, after the EIA has been written, an Environmental Statement will be prepared. This is a formal report that documents the findings of the EIA process, and is to accompany consents applications.

Note; CEFAS have produced a good Guidance Note for EIA for offshore wind farms insofar as FEPA and CPA concerned, see