Guidelines for recreational activities in European marine sites
This section builds on the information in previous
sections to provide, in the form of activity guides of recreational
activities that take place in and around European marine sites.
The individual activity guides provide the following information
for each activity:
key activity characteristics
methods of disseminating information to
locations where the activity is likely
to take place
impacts on features (high, medium, low)
availability of codes of practice
address of governing body
The table of environmental effects for each
activity is based both on the information contained within preceding
chapters and also on a consideration of the characteristics
of the activity and the typical location in which it occurs.
Although there is limited scientific information detailing the
specific cause and effect relationships of changes in marine
features over time, the summary tables provide a starting point
for identifying which activities are likely to have an impact
upon marine features. It should be stressed that the tables
are not designed to be definitive guides to the impact of activities
at specific sites - this can only be determined by site assessment.
It is also vital to consider recreational activities in the
context of natural factors and other human influences not connected
The reader should take the following key issues
into account in relation to the information contained within
The intensity of both land and water-based
recreation in European marine sites is determined largely by
the accessibility of the area to those people who wish to take
part in the activity.
Recreational activities can have a wide range
of impacts on the marine environment. These range from physical
effects such as trampling to biological effects such as the
suspension of hydrocarbons in the water column. However, the
impacts of an activity upon a feature depends upon the ecological
requirements of that feature (its sensitivity) and the likelihood
of the activity occurring at a damaging level.
The potential for an activity to have
an impact on a marine feature does not imply that it will
have an impact on that feature or that an observed impact at
one site will occur at all sites.
Only investigation on a site specific basis,
preferably over time, can determine the actual link between
recreational activities and observed changes in marine features.
Where the impacts of an activity are uncertain,
the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
(1998) suggests that the precautionary principle should be applied.
This implies that such uncertainty should not be used as a justification
for postponing measures to protect the environment. However,
there should be strong circumstantial evidence of cause and
effect before implementing specific controls on activities.
Personal water craft
Sub aqua and snorkelling
Sea fishing and shoreline
Sea kayaking and canoeing
Infrastructure for water-based
Walking, hiking and dog
Wildlife watching, including
seal and dolphin watching