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Title: Assessment of Human Activity in the Coastal Zone
Authors: Connolly, N
Buchanan, C
O'Connell, M
Cronin, M
O'Mahony, C
Sealy, H
Keywords: INTERREG
Issue Date: Dec-2001
Publisher: Marine Institute
Citation: Connolly, N., Buchanan, C., O'Connell, M., Cronin, M., O'Mahony, C. & Sealy, H., "Assessment of Human Activity in the Coastal Zone", Maritime Ireland/Wales INTERREG Report, Marine Institute 2001
Series/Report no.: Maritime Ireland/Wales INTERREG Report;9
Abstract: The Irish Sea Science Co-ordination Group (ISSCG) identified human impacts on the coastal zone as a priority area for collaborative Irish Sea marine environmental research and protection (Boelens, 1995). The identification of trends in human use of the coastal zone is considered to be an essential prerequisite to better planning of measures to manage particular activities. The study presented here on trends in human activity in coastal zones of the Maritime INTERREG II region of the southern Irish Sea was carried out by the Coastal Resources Centre (CRC) in University College, Cork, and the Centre for Research into Environment and Health (CREH) in the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. The study considered aspects of development and human impacts within the coastal zone. Once trends relating to human activities were identified, and where possible quantified, associated impacts and issues were also assessed and quantified. Trends and impacts were identified by sector, in keeping with the format adopted in the environmental assessment report entitled Ireland’s Marine and Coastal Areas and adjacent Seas (Boelens et al., 1999). Sectoral trends examined in the present study included those in demography, development, tourism, urbanisation, marine pollution, offshore resources, etc. The attributes of the associated data were assessed in relation to the purposes for which they are used, and gaps and limitations were identified. Recommendations on appropriate management measures necessary to promote sustainable use of coastal zones were made. In actuality, data on human impacts on the coastal zone of the Irish Sea are not available in an integrated form. Agencies involved in making policy decisions or in managing the use of coastal marine resources often experience difficulties in obtaining reliable information on key factors. During the preparation of this report, data were difficult to source, and when sourced they were rarely in a format suitable for analysis with regard to relevance to the coastal zone. The study concluded that the quality of information available is variable and not conducive to a systematic, comparative analysis of combined impacts of activities on the coastal zone. The information and statistics that are collected by state agencies are intended to meet the needs of specific sectoral or geographical interests, and are not necessarily appropriate for extrapolation to issues of relevance to the coastal zone. The lack of availability of information in a format suitable for assessing the characteristics of the coastal zone as an entity may be indicative of the lack of recognition, on both sides of the Irish Sea, of coastal zone management as a discipline. This limitation is identified in the draft coastal zone management policy for Ireland (Brady Shipman Martin, 1997) as the principal element to be addressed for effective future planning. The findings of the current project suggest that this limitation remains. Similarly in Wales, no single body is responsible for coastal zone management. Neither is there an agreed framework within which policy and planning can be properly integrated. Without such a thematic focus in either country it is difficult to ensure the collection and collation of pertinent data and information. Such information is imperative for making effective policy and management decisions for the coastal zone of the Irish Sea. Throughout this study, differences with regard to issues of relevance to the Irish and Welsh coasts became apparent. For example, the Welsh coast has not experienced the same extent of population pressures, development, resort renewal, habitat loss etc. commonplace in Ireland. In comparison, Wales has several coastal fora that provide a focus for co-operation between regulatory agencies and local stakeholders; this concept is as yet undeveloped in Ireland. The report assesses the impact of human activities on the coastal zone and contains recommendations related to data and information needs for effective coastal zone management, as well as sector-specific recommendations. Implementation of the recommendations of the project will be of benefit to the work of policy makers, resource managers and planners with responsibilities in the coastal zone, on both sides of the Irish Sea.
ISSN: 1393-9025
Appears in Collections:EU Collaborative Research

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