Industry and Nature in Harmony

England's first Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code launched

England's first Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code launched

On Wednesday 24 May, the Government launched England’s first-ever national Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code which offers friendly advice and guidance to help people visit the coast responsibly.

Home to around 95% of Europe’s grey seal population and around 25% of Europe’s breeding seabirds, the British coastline supports many iconic species and habitats. It is also a special place for people to visit, and ongoing work to establish the King Charles III England Coast Path – which when complete will be the longest waymarked coastal path in the world at over 2,700 miles – is helping more people than ever to access these environments.

However, as visitors to our coastlines rise, it is important to ensure that our precious marine wildlife remains as undisturbed as possible. Young seals, for example, can use up vital energy if startled by people getting too close or being too noisy, meaning young pups struggle to haul out of the water to rest and digest their food. In a bad year of disturbance, only 25% are likely to survive to the age of 18 months. Additionally, disturbance to our nesting birds can cause them to flee the nest, leaving the eggs or young vulnerable to predation, whereas disturbance to migrating birds can cause them to use up precious energy supplies.

Developed in collaboration with a range of organisations including Humber Nature Partnership, the Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code includes advice for those walking along the coast or taking part in water-based activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding or jet skiing.

It offers specific guidance around animals such as seabirds, seals, dolphins, sharks and turtles, including information on breeding seasons and how species might react to disturbance.

The Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code builds on the existing Countryside Code, which provides helpful advice and guidance for an enjoyable and safe trip to the outdoors.

Image Credit: Steve Routledge

24 May 2023 by Jackson Sage

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