Recreation : Management : Voluntary management schemes : Local liaison groups

Examples of local liaison groups managing recreation

1.    Solway mSAC: Windsurfing

The West Cumbria windsurfing club is affiliated to the RYA and was formed in 1989 from a group of windsurfers who got to know each other while sailing on the Westwater. The principle reason for inauguration was to fight a blanket ban on windsurfing in the Westwater imposed by the National Trust. The club aims to be a focal point for windsurfers to put forward their ideas and concerns about development affecting them in the area and to act as a recognised contact point for local authorities.

The group has a place on a forum set up by the Lake District National Park Authority and a close relationship with local authorities caring for the Solway Coast.


2.    The Ontario Marina Operators Association (OMOA), Canada

This association is comprised of over 500 marinas, marine dealers, yacht clubs, and associate companies who have been working together since 1967 to promote sustainable recreational boating in Ontario.

Recently OMOA has developed a programme which promotes an interactive hands on approach to protecting the marine environment. In association with a number of Clean Marine partners, the Clean Marine Practices programme has been developed.

The programme allows all involved in recreational boating to participate in, promote and enforce good environmental practices. The partners in the programme encourage marina operators to sell and install Y-valve seals which ensure that all sewage generated on board is distributed to the waste holding tanks and not pumped out directly into the water.

In the future, the partners are also looking to work with individual marinas to develop safe and environmentally protected sites. In addition, the programme offers a clean marine practice handbook which is accompanies by a day long seminar.


3.    St. Abbs Voluntary Marine Reserve, North Northumberland and Berwickshire mSAC

The main attraction of these waters to divers is the quality of the marine environment which contains spectacular underwater scenery, exceptionally clear water conditions of up to ten meters and a wide variety of species where arctic and gulf stream waters meet. These conditions regularly attract divers from Northern and Middle England who can dive from the shore as well as from boats. As a result the area can become very congested at popular times. In response, the Berwickshire divers have produced a guide to diving in the reserve which includes a code of practice with advice on conservation.

Following a history of poor relations between recreational scuba divers, local residents and in-shore fishermen, divers imposed a voluntary ban on collecting around St Abbs Head in 1976. In 1984, local fishermen, divers and conservationists co-operatively created the St Abbs and Eymouth Voluntary Marine Reserve to safeguard the marine environment of a 9 km stretch of the Berwickshire coast.

The establishment of the reserve through local liaison has helped reduce collection by divers in the area, although the voluntary arrangements have little effective control over the longer term threats from pollution and in-shore fishing.


4.    Southampton Water Recreational User Group

The Southampton Water Recreational User Group comprises the organisations and representatives of:

  • Local harbourmasters

  • Local yacht clubs

  • Water-ski federation

  • PWA

  • Local sailing associations

  • Local rowing clubs

  • Local universities

  • District and county councils

  • RYA

  • Local windsurfers

The liaison group is comprised of all sectors of the local water recreational community in addition to relevant authorities. The development of the group provides a forum for debate and open discussion. Such groups are essential for taking the management process.

5.    Port of Plymouth Marine Liaison Committee

The liaison committee allows for communication between users, the Queens Harbour Masters, who chair this group and the management group, and English Nature. The committee has several sub groups that allow for more specific issues to be addressed. It comprises representatives from:

  • Landscape conservation

  • Town/Parish Councils

  • Nature conservation groups

  • Navigation/rescue

  • Crime abatement

  • Archaeology

  • Recreation

  • Commerce

  • Moorings

  • Research

  • Fisheries


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