Chapter 7: Common Issues and Regional Perspectives

Mackerel

© Dan Bolt www.underwaterpics.co.uk

Introduction

Each of the eight UK regions has different environmental characteristics, and supports a range of different human activities.

The physical characteristics of a region determine the types of habitat that are available and the variety of plants and animals that can exist, and can also influence some types of human activity. For example, fish tend to migrate and spawn in certain areas, and the sub-sea geological structure influences where the oil industry focuses its activities.

Historically, many large towns developed beside particular rivers and estuaries, which brought the need to dredge to keep shipping channels open, increased the physical pressure from coastal structures, and also encouraged the development of industries and consequent use of water for cooling and discharging waste.

Harwich International Port

© Harwich International Port

Because of these regional factors, the current status of UK waters and the extent to which we are moving towards the vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas is also likely to differ from region to region. This chapter brings together the evidence from each of the individual evidence chapters to give a regional perspective of:

  • The changing physical and environmental influences that affect each region
  • A profile of the main human activities and the marine resources that they use
  • Any improvements in the status of each region
  • The main problems in each region.

These regional analyses will contribute to the development of marine plans which will help us to use our marine environment sustainably. Linking the economic benefits and pressures from human use in each region and impacts of those activities on the marine environment allows scientists and managers to focus on specific regional issues and enables national administrations to prioritise their planning and use of resources.