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1.1 WHY an ecosystem services approach in marine and coastal areas?

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Activite Peche   SJulien   ubo  Brest 0012The English Channel, for example, is one of the busiest seaways in the world, connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the North Sea. It accounts for 20% of global traffic, with between 700 and 800 ships passing through the Strait of Dover in a single day. An average of 70,000 passengers cross the Channel daily, between France and the United Kingdom, via key routes such as Plymouth-Roscoff, Portsmouth-Ouistreham and Dover–Calais. There are about 4,000 fishing boats registered for use in the Channel.

Marine and coastal areas are under increasing pressure from a wide range of competing uses and interests.

On top of this, the Channel is very popular for recreational boating, with over 145 marinas along the English and French coasts. In addition to commercial and leisure traffic, there are other marine activities and interests vying for space such as fisheries, marine renewable energy developments, aggregate extraction and marine and coastal tourism.

In summary, the Channel hosts a vast range of activities, involving different actors and interests, within what is a compressed geographical area. This is putting increasing pressure on the Channel’s marine and coastal ecosystems. Such pressure is likely to increase under the European Union’s Blue Growth agenda for the development and expansion of the maritime economy in European seas.

Paysage   MPhilippe   ubo   Roscoff Batz

Effective and informed management of this shared space is vital to the sustainable use of this valuable resource.

At the same time, there is growing recognition of the need to protect the marine and coastal ecosystems. In Europe, there already are a number of protected areas designated under the European Union Habitats Directive, the European Union Birds Directive, the Ramsar Convention, as well as French and British national legislation. For example, in England,new Marine Protected Areas  known as ‘Marine Conservation Zones’ are being designated under the Marine and Coastal Access Act, 2009. On the other side of the Channel, the French Marine Protected Area Agency is seeking to establish a number of large-scale multi-use Marine Protected Areas in the form of marine parks. Their first such area was Le Parc Naturel Marin d'Iroise which was established in 2007 off the coast of Finistère. In addition to these marine conservation designations and aspirations, the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive requires all European seas to reach ‘Good Environmental Status’ by 2020.

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