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This report presents basic strategies and methods that can be used to organize natural resources management for coastal zones. It describes the main issues in sustaining the various and valuable economic activities of coastal zones that are based upon living natural resources and suggests ways to organize environmental conservation programmes. Also considered is preservation of coastal biological diversity. Overall, the emphasis is on encouraging development that minimizes negative impacts on living natural resources.

The coastal zone is extremely important to most coastal countries. Consequently, there is concern for its future, particularly regarding the status of its natural resources which provide life support and economic development opportunities to coastal settlements (Figure 1.1, Box 1.1).

In rural areas of the coast, some combination of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries (including aquaculture) is often the major economic activity. In such places, the highest priority should go to conservation of resources to ensure that the combination of resource uses is sustainable.

In coastal zone management, the enclosed seas - e.g., the Black Sea, Red Sea, Chesapeake Bay - are often given high priority if they have concentrations of industry and settlements (as most do) or if they are particularly susceptible to pollution, being shallow and confined (as most are). But the principles of joint land/water management are the same for enclosed seas as they are for more open coasts. Of course, the management agendas and plan priorities change from place to place to meet local circumstances.

The emphasis of the report is on potential governmental actions that can lead to effective resources management. These actions may include both prevention and remedial measures. For both there should be enforceable guidelines to strengthen the national capacity for effective coastal zone management. The approach recommended here is the Integrated Coastal Zone Management(ICZM) system. This is a system for controlling development and other human activities that affect the condition of economic resources and the quality of environment in coastal zones.

Certainly, enough is known of coastal seas ecological processes and resource values, and also of human impacts, to enable governments to start ICZM programmes now to sustain the functional integrity of coastal resource systems that generate natural goods and services for human welfare. A first step would be to establish interim guidelines for coastal resources management and environmental conservation (Clark et al.., 1980) and then improve them through trial and through expanded future research.

It must be recognized that it is becoming increasingly difficult to conserve any one particular resource in the absence of a comprehensive, integrated framework for policy, planning and management such as ICZM. Resources conservation and economic development concerns can and must be combined. Well-planned, conservation-oriented development will add to the economic and social prosperity of a coastal community in the long term. Environmentally destructive development will sooner or later have a negative socio-economic impact.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1 The Coastal Area and Activities that Cause Resource Use Conflicts. Source: Joliffe and Patman (1985)

1)Upstream dam or barrage26)Sand banks
2)Power line27)Multiple water space use
3)Lacustrine reclamation28)Scientific interest
4)National park/country-side conservation29)Buoys, e.g., water skiing
5)Effluent discharge30)Artificial reef, e.g., fishing
6)Deforestation31)Marine breakwaters
7)Flood-liable area32)Artificial beach
8)Coastal industry/ power stations33)Hotel/apartment development
9)Estuarine urbanization34)Groin field
10)Drainage/irrigation35)Bulk tanker terminal
11)Transport links36)Beach mining
12)Redundant docks37)Buoys
13)Coastal airport38)Coastal trade
14)Wetland conservation/ nature reserve40)Aggregate extraction
15)Estuarine reclamation41)Artificial island
17)Fishing harbour43)Cross-channel ferries
18)Caravan park44)Floating or submerged storage tanks
19)Coastal settlement45)Shipwreck
20)Eroding cliff46)Spoil dumping
21)Marina47)Offshore navigation
22)Dune conservation area48)Offshore oil/gas rig and undersea pipelines
23)Inland water body, e.g., flooded gravel pit49)International sea trade
24)Hoverport50)Dumping of toxic wastes
25)Dredged approach channel51)Military activities, e.g., air-to-sea firing range
Source: Joliffe and Patman (1985)

It should be noted that coastal resources conservation and biodiversity preservation are more often restrained by political uncertainty and bureaucratic inertia than by shortage of scientific information. This situation is gradually improving as governments begin to realize the economic importance of the resources of the coastal zone.

Intertidal areas are especially important parts of the coastal ecosystem, including the mangrove forests, salt marshes, tide flats and beaches. They define the ecological boundary between land and sea and play an important role in coastal productivity as well as in pollutant trapping. But when shoreline development begins, these habitats are often the first to be obliterated by land-filling, seawalls, groins and bulkheads.

The long term success of ICZM depends on the support of those groups and individuals whose interests will be most affected by the implementation of the programme. Participation by major ICZM stakeholders, including the general public, is needed to involve all interests in the processes of programme formulation and implementation.

The orientation of this report is towards the developing coastal countries, particularly those of the tropics (see Appendix 1 for a roster of countries involved with ICZM). Nevertheless, most of the ideas and the material to be found here are based on principles and guidelines of wide application which should also serve developed countries and those in temperate zones.

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