Recreation : Marine Enviroment : Benefits

The benefits of recreation

The benefits of recreation for nature conservation objectives should also be considered. The fact that recreational participants actively seek pleasant environments in which to undertake their activities suggests that they are likely both to have an awareness of, and also to have an appreciation for the natural environment. Many regular participants are also likely to have an intimate knowledge of the environment in which they undertake their activities and may even be aware of changes taking place over time. Such knowledge can make an important contribution to understanding environmental change and the enthusiasm of many participants can ensure that environmental initiatives are successful.

In addition, tourism and recreation are becoming increasingly important economic sectors in many coastal areas. It is often the increased income generated by these sectors that enable improvements to be made in areas such as wastewater treatment. This has obvious benefits for nature conservation objectives.

Recreational participants may also be successful in campaigning collectively for improvements in the environments in which they undertake their activities. For example, Surfers Against Sewage has achieved a high profile in its campaign to improve water quality for the benefit of those taking part in immersion sports. Subsequent improvements in waste water treatment by water companies has benefits for nature conservation.

Similarly, beach goers generally look for safe and clean bathing environments in which to undertake their activity. In recognising the need for some form of independent accreditation for beach and bathing water quality, the Blue Flag scheme and the Good Beach Guides have had a positive effect on environmental quality in a large number of locations. The former has now expanded to marinas.

For many recreational participants, their activities provide their only contact with the natural environment. This may act as a major catalyst for their wider understanding of environmental issues and support for conservation objectives. For some activities, such as wildlife watching, the quality of the environment and the species it supports will be even more intrinsically linked and such participants are likely to be amongst the most proactive of all recreational participants. These activities also attract a good deal of conservation-related funding, largely because of the high participation rates but also because of its attractive image for sponsors.


Next Section