This blog explores topics covered in the Marine Environmental Management FDSC Coastal Zone Management module delivered by Falmouth Marine School.
Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) is:
“a dynamic, multidisciplinary and iterative process to promote sustainable management of coastal zones. It covers the full cycle of information collection, planning (in its broadest sense), decision making, management and monitoring of implementation. ICZM uses the informed participation and cooperation of all stakeholders to assess the societal goals in a given coastal area, and to take actions towards meeting these objectives. ICZM seeks, over the long-term, to balance environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational objectives, all within the limits set by natural dynamics. 'Integrated' in ICZM refers to the integration of objectives and also to the integration of the many instruments needed to meet these objectives. It means integration of all relevant policy areas, sectors, and levels of administration. It means integration of the terrestrial and marine components of the target territory, in both time and space.”
(Commission of the European Communities Communication, 2000/547 ICZM)
Coastal Zone Management in the UK is managed up to the 12 nm offshore limit of territorial seas which is defined by; The International Law of the Sea, (1994). The International Law of the Sea was the result of the third United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III).
In summary the convention gives coastal states the exclusive jurisdiction and natural resource exploitation rights to a 24nm limit from the nation’s coastal baseline. These rights to law making and exploitation include; the navigation above or bellow regional seas, all natural resources within this area and the air contained above. This area is known as the nation’s contiguous zone. There are some allowances made i.e. the right of innocent passage for foreign/flag ships.
In terms of exploitation rights of natural resources the following rules are implemented; a 200 nm limit or to the edge of the nations continental shelf (but no further then 300 nm) or half way between countries if closer than 200nm. Coastal states are given the sole exploitation rights in this area. This area is known as the nations Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The designated areas of international sea rights are illustrated in figure 1.
Definition of Zones
It is from this line that maritime zones of jurisdiction are measured. In most cases the base line is the low water line, which is determined by the lowest astronomical tide along a coastal state. The convention allows for straight baselines to be used; if a coastline is considered to be indented, unstable or consisting of fringing islands.
· Internal waters
Covers all forms of water on the landward side of a baseline. Laws and regulations may be imposed and natural resources utilized by the coastal nation. Foreign vessels have no right of way without permission.
· Territorial waters
Extends out to 12nm from the baseline. Similar to internal waters the coastal state has right to the natural resources in the area and has a duty to protect the environment, prevent pollution, enable scientific research and implement control on customs, immigration and laws relating to sanitary. In territorial waters all vessels including flag ships are given the right of innocent passage.
· Contiguous zone
An extension outwards 12nm from territorial waters (24nm from the baseline) allows for coastal states to implement further laws and regulations regarding activities such as smuggling or illegal immigration.
· Exclusive economic zones (EEZ)
Extends 200nm from that of the baseline. Inside the 200nm limit, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights to the natural resources contained within. Conditional to the regulation of the coastal states; foreign nations have the ‘freedom to navigate.’ These freedoms include navigation above marine or sub-marine, and also give rights to sub-marine pipe and cable laying.
· Outside EEZ
Outside the EEZ the resources found within this bulk of ocean are considered to be the ‘common heritage of mankind.’ The international body to administer this organization is the International Seabed Authority. In order to exploit resources in this area; prospectors must receive permission from the authority.
In the UK, the crown estate owns virtually all of the sea bed out to the territorial seas offshore limit and approximately 55% of the foreshore including beds, estuaries and tidal rivers. (Environment and Heritage Service, 2008)
Key administrations are given duties and responsibilities with aim to managing coastal zone activities in a sustainable way to ensure the health of coastal ecosystems. This has proven to be a challenging task due to the many increasing threats posed upon our coastal areas; believed by scientists to be the result of global climate change and increased anthropocentric activities. Anthropocentric commercial/recreational activities carried out at sea such as; oil, gas, aggregate extraction, commercial fishing, recreational uses; sailing, diving, fishing, surfing, beach holidays, jet skiing etc. pose great pressure upon our coastal zone. Combined with global climate change caused primarily by the extensive burning of fossil fuels; many negative changes in the coastal zone are being observed; sea level rise, coastal erosion, coastline retreat, biodiversity depletion and population squeeze to name a few.
Sea Level Rise
Our earth is an ever changing planet comprised of a complex climate and oceanographic and geological processes. Scientists are forever investigating these processes, which have enabled estimations to be made on their findings. Predictions have brought light to the threats of sea level rise (SLR) on the human, animal and natural environment. SLR is caused primarily by thermo expansion of seawater and the melting of the ice caps through global warming;
SLR essentially causes the body of the world’s ocean to rise thus covering more of our land. The long term impacts of SLR may result in environmental, social and economical disasters.
The Impact of Global Warming
Coastal erosion, coastline retreat, population squeeze and intensified weather conditions are all interrelated to global climate change
Most of the major coastal zone impacts may be related to global climate change. Storms are formed over warm ocean water near the equator. Warmer water provides the means for an increase in the number and severity of storms. Intensified storms produce waves with amplified wave heights, and longer wave periods. This creates more powerful waves that eventually reach our coastline causing coastal erosion. Coastal erosion results in coastline retreat causing an increase in sediment supply and a net increase in the mass of the ocean’s; effectively escalating SLR. Sediment supply from the land may intoxicate our waters with land runoff, petrochemicals, building aggregates etc. Population squeeze will be the result of coastline retreat and population increases.
Coastal erosion and coastal geomorphology
Potential sociological, ecological and economic threats, with reference to Cornwall
Most communities that inhabit the coast will experience the immediate impacts of SLR. Particularly those areas which are closest to sea level may encounter flooding; these areas in Cornwall will be found primarily on the south coast. The north coast which is situated at a higher level of elevation and subject to direct impact from the Atlantic Ocean will be more prone to coastal erosion. Through human intervention we have constructed coastal erosion and flood prevention defences in the form of sea walls, gabions, boulders, revetments, steel pipes, groins, artificial beaches, artificial reefs, break waters etc. These defences may stop to function as intended should the sea cover them. Hence, the process of coastal erosion would speed up. We may also expect the expansion of estuarine areas through flooding which may be enhanced through larger tidal ranges as a result of SLR. We might expect to experience ‘coastal squeeze’ which is the progressive loss of habitat area through human intervention (North Solent Management Plan, 2007). In the worst case scenarios, those industry and home owners situated in coastal areas would be in jeopardy of losing everything. The value of property and land could diminish and insurance policies may become unaffordable or possibly unavailable. As an island we rely a lot on foreign imports for food and economical growth, SLR and climate change could prevent transportation of food goods and commodities. These threats place sociological, ecological and economical threats upon us and our environment.
Integrated Coastal Zone Management Strategies
BMPs are a relatively new introduction in the UK; the first beaches in Cornwall to develop BMPs were Polzeath and Summerleaze at Bude in 2005 (North Cornwall District Council, 2005). Because every beach has its own particular issues, BMPs are designed specifically to suit the individual needs of the beach concerned. A BMP should provide a joined up, pro-active approach to; managing the various activities which occur on and around the beach and ensuring environmental issues are identified and management strategies developed to sustain the beach for future generations. BMPs should also highlight beach profiles and beach facilities.
District councils play a large role on and behind the scenes. Most obvious roles include implementing beach life guards, providing litter bins, public toilets and car parks as well as enforcing bye-laws such as restrictive measures placed on dog walkers. Less obvious duties include; water sampling, managing beach trading and protecting coastal wildlife and natural habitats.
Coastal Defences used to combat coastal erosion, coastline retreat and SLR.
Coastal defences come in various forms. Traditional methods of coastal defence such as jetties, groins, sea walls etc. require high amounts of embodied energy to manufacture. In the short term these defences may provide protection for a limited period of time. In the long term the manufacturing process contributes significantly to the production of harmful emissions into the environment which in turn accelerates SLR. Coastal defences should therefore be developed appropriately by determining key areas that need to be protected. There should be significant reason to justify areas proposed for coastal protection developments, i.e. areas of scientific interest, biological importance, cultural importance and areas important to the protection of the human population. When developing coastal defences engineers need to ensure the defences are designed to their full potential. This may be accomplished by linking possible ecological, sociological and economical benefits combined with consideration to the significance of assets outlined in proposed plans and the vulnerability of these assets to coastal change. As an example, this might be achieved through the implementation of an artificial reef as opposed to a sea wall. In addition to protecting the coastal zone an artificial reef installed in the right location could provide ecological benefits in terms of species colonisation, and economical / sociological benefits in terms of a tourist attraction. Other integrated management techniques could be achieved through the introduction of wave hubs which would absorb wave power and in turn produce ‘green’ electricity reducing harmful CO2 emissions.
In the long term a managed retreat may prove to be the only solution to effectively manage the coastal zone. This approach would require a significant sacrifice from the human population that depend on the coast for a sustainable livelihood. Management techniques would need to be developed to prevent any land run off, aggregate build up from human intervention etc. from contaminating the ocean when flooding and erosion occur.
Ax example of coastal defence options
An Integrated Approach
An integrated approach to coastal zone management should rely on a combination of techniques to form a holistic approach. By accepting the force of Mother Nature and working towards a managed retreat; planning future development around worst case scenarios and current knowledge of climate change, educating the public on climate change in aid to reducing the human impact on the environment and implementing coastal defences with linked benefits where appropriate, we may attempt to take positive steps towards managing the coastal zone.
Established Conventions and Protective Measures for Biodiversity Conservation
The The Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) protects; wild animals, wild birds, their nests and their eggs, and certain species of wild plant.
It is an offence to trade, possess, injure or in the case of wild plants, uproot any of the species listed in; Schedual 5 (Animals), Schedual 2 (Birds) and Schedule 8 (Plants), (subject to exeptions)
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
Currently it is estimated that 0.001% of our seas is fully protected from damaging activities (Marine Bill Whitepaper, 2007). Existing protected areas in the marine environment are known as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and come in a variety of forms with variations on management arrangements. MPAs are defined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 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 environment”
Natura 2000 is a European network of protected sites that represent areas of the highest value for natural habitats and species of plants and animals, which are rare, endangered or vulnerable in the European Community (Natura, 2000 ). In the UK, Natura 2000 sites are protected under the Habitats Directive and UK BAPs.
Around the English and Welsh coastline there are 12 Sea Fisheries Committees (SFCs), established by the Ministery for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) and the Secritary of State for Wales under the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1996. SFCs are Local Authority bodies funded by local coincils with statutory rights to make bye-laws for the conservation and management of their fisheries. The Fal and Helford SAC falls under the Cornwall Sea Fisherie Committess (CSFC) district. The Environment Agency (EA) is the main competent authority for enforcing fishing legislation inside the Fal and Helford SAC.
Guardian, 2007: Oil, Globalization, Immigration, and Over Population.
Communities and Local Government, 2005: Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 2007: Marine, Integrated Coastal Zone Management
Mike R et al, 1998: Sediment supply and climate change: implications for basin stratigraphy.
NASA, 2005: Science Update: Breakthrough Discoveries in Sea Level Change
Plymouth University, 2007: Cross-Shore Sediment Transport and Profile Evolution on Natural Beaches.
Rory Mcphee, 2007/8: Coastal Zone Issues.
UK Climate Impacts Program, 2005: Update to UKCIP02 sea-level change estimates, December 2005.
Wikipedia, 2008: Coastal management.
Environment and Heritage Service, 2008: Integrated Coastal Zone Management.
The end of year exam focused on identifying areas of conflict/pressure in the coastal zone on a global context. This is not a straight forward task as the coastal zone is not easily defined. Land operations and out at sea operations all affect our coastal zone in terms of pressure points. There are many participants of the coastal zone, all with different interests resulting in conflicts amongst stakeholders, governments and other users of the sea. These issues must be taken into consideration when trying to rectify conflicts and pressure points in the coastal zone.
A conflict resolution analysis was undertaken for a specific area of choice. This was done by using the work of the Devon Maritime Forum as an initial point of reference. I chose to look at the possible conflict areas which may result from the increase of people foraging for food in the coastal zone. As food and fuel prices continue to escalate this activity is likely to become increasingly popular. Without an effective management scheme in place food foragers are likely to have a negative impact on species and diversity decline. On the other hand if this activity is carried out in a sustainable fashion it may provide one solution towards providing food for those who cannot afford supermarket prices. In addition to this using our local resources for food may help to combat climate through the reduction of food miles and by raising awareness and appreciation towards our coastal resources.
After completion of the FDSC my goals are to complete the Degree with a BSc in Environmental Sciences at Plymouth University. Career aspirations are to find work abroad after completion of the degree course. Ideally in a hot country on a tropical reef however initially I will volunteer as there is allot of competition in this area.
These are two jobs which interest me:
My career aspirations are forever changing, I try not to think of my future in terms of ‘career aspirations’ but more like shaping my way of life.