Information and codes of conduct

Possible methods of providing information to port and harbour users on marine SACs


Providing information to port users, operators and employees on the importance of SACs and the influence that their activities may have on their local site would raise awareness of any potential problems identified and may contribute to minimising them. In particular, the information provided should identify the marine features for which the SAC is designated and their sensitivity to port and harbour operations. Possible methods for raising awareness of marine SACs are summarised in Box 13.

Where appropriate the literature produced should encourage good practice amongst those working within the confines of ports and harbours, which includes port users, terminal operators, ship’s agents and all port employees. Practical information, possibly in the form of codes of conduct, should be provided on reducing any impacts and include recommendations for sensitive operation, which may include encouragement of the continued use of BPEO. This will enable the operators to gain a balanced view on how their operations can effect the neighbouring environment.

Guidelines are being developed for minimising disturbance to dolphins and porpoises from recreation at sea and dolphin-watching boats. Local variants of these guidelines have been adopted as codes of conduct for the protection of resident populations of dolphins in the Firth of Forth and Cardigan Bay. Appendix H contains an example of the information and codes of conduct provided to commercial passenger boats operating out of the small ports of New Quay and Aberaeron in the Cardigan Bay SAC which was produced by Ceridigion County Council in conjunction with the owners and operators of commercial boats. The information includes a brief outline of the nature conservation importance of the site, general guidance on speed limits and manoeuvring (including a map showing the areas where byelaws apply), and special practices that should be observed to protect dolphins, seals and birds.

Possible methods of providing information to port and harbour users on marine SACs

  • The majority of ports and harbours already provide users with port booklets containing information on services, facilities and cargoes which could be updated to incorporate information on the Marine SAC where they operate.
  • Simple leaflets can be prepared to provide specific information on the SAC site.
  • Ports often prepare diagrammatic information leaflets containing annotated maps (not for navigational use) on which the location of marine features in relation to the port could be illustrated. Symbols can be used to draw attention to any special care required when operating in marine SACs. Examples of symbols which might be used are shown in Appendix I (Lankester, 1996). Where appropriate, existing port maps may be modified to incorporate such material.
  • Illustrated information and maps can be displayed on notice boards in port and harbour areas, such has been done in Chichester Harbour to raise the awareness of users of the wildlife importance of the harbour.
  • Regular workshops can be run to serve as a forum to air views on what is possible from an operator’s point of view to encourage sensitive operation. Voluntary estuary management plans form a suitable arena for such discussion.

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