Description

Use of boats including for chartered trips, including wildlife watching, angling and diving

Key locations

Throughout the Berwickshire and Northumberland coast.  Favoured areas include St Abbs, Eyemouth, Farne Islands, Seahouses, Beadnell Bay and Amble.

Frequency

Continuous but increased activity in summer months

Potential issues

  • Disturbance to seals and seabirds
  • Damage from anchoring on reefs

Features of Marine Protected Areas which might be affected

  • Reefs
  • Grey seal
  • Breeding birds

Legal Responsibilities or Duties (England)

A number of legal powers, duties or regulatory tools exist which are relevant to this activity and its management. These are summarised in the table below:

Legal Power, Duty or Regulatory Tool Relevant Legislation Lead Organisation
Power for the creation of Bylaws on European Marine Sites The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (Regulation 40) Marine Management Organisation
Powers for creation of Bylaws on MCZs Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Section 129) Marine Management Organisation

 

Details of Current Management (England)

Certification:

All charter boats have to be certified by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Boats are assessed and monitored for waste disposal management as part of this certification. Boats must comply with MCA codes of practice which include operational controls to safeguard the environment. The MCA Work Boat Code can be downloaded HERE

Restrictions on landing and launching:

The National Trust restricts the number of landings from charter boats within the Farne Islands National Nature Reserve. Only 10 vehicles are licenced twice a day between May and July. They visit Staple Island in the morning and Inner Farne in the afternoon. Each island is open to visitors for three hours  per day during the breeding season. All sailings in April and from August to October go to Inner Farne only.

Local restrictions on numbers of boat launchings are in place at locations such as North Sunderland (Seahouses) Harbour or Beadnell slipway (manged by Northumberland County Council) which act to limit the number of charter boats active each day.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has powers to make byelaws in English inshore waters to protect marine SACs and SPAs and marine conservation zones (MCZs) from activities that may harm them. MMO byelaws must help to further the conservation objectives of the site. the MMO would consider voluntary measures before making a byelaw. If a permanent byelaw is required, this would be formally consulted upon. Please see this link for further information about the byelaw making process. No MMO byelaws currently exist on the Northumberland/North Tyneside coast.

Codes of Conducts:

A variety of voluntary Codes of Conduct exist covering a range of activities and geographies. These aim to minimise impacts from recreational activities and raise awareness of specific issues but can be difficult to promote or enforce. A list of relevant local and national codes of conduct can been found at this link. Current Codes of Conduct include:

  • The Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership’s Wildlife Watching Code of Conduct, which can be download HERE and which has previously been promoted to charter boat companies

Gaps in Management (England)

Natural England is currently considering, together with the National Trust, whether the number of boats that visit the Farne Islands is damaging the site. Recent increase in wildlife watching, especially for cetaceans, and codes of conduct need to be developed/promoted. Information on activity intensity is gathered at hotspots within the site but this has not been considered at the whole-site level . The data needs to be collated and assessed against sensitive sites along the coast to determine potential impacts

Legal Responsibilities or Duties (Scotland)

A number of legal powers, duties or regulatory tools exist which are relevant to this activity and its management. These are summarised in the table below:

Legal Power, Duty or Regulatory Tool Relevant Legislation Lead Organisation
Power for the creation of Bylaws on European Marine Sites The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (Regulation 28) Marine Scotland

Details of Current Management (Scotland)

Certification:

All charter boats have to be certified by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Boats are assessed and monitored for waste disposal management as part of this certification. Boats must comply with MCA codes of practice which include operational controls to safeguard the environment. The MCA Work Boat Code can be downloaded HERE

Codes of Conduct:

A variety of voluntary Codes of Conduct exist covering a range of activities and geographies. These aim to minimise impacts from recreational activities and raise awareness of specific issues but can be difficult to promote or enforce. A list of relevant local and national codes of conduct can been found at this link. Current Codes of Conduct include:

Byelaws:

The Marine Scotland has legal powers to create byelaws to manage a wide range of activities on marine  SPAs and SACsif future evidence indicated that these were required.