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Code of conduct for coastal areas

Published on: Tue, 15/12/2020 - 15:52
Table of Contents
    Citizenship and Ocean

    Throughout history, oceans have been approached just as a source of food and a means of transport. Unfortunately, the dangers that our ocean face have increased over time. As our society evolves, the uses of the oceans widens and new challenges arise.

    Urgent action is needed to conserve marine environment in order to maintain healthy ecosystems and human wellbeing. Oceans are much more than the source of maritime trade, leisure sailing or coastal tourism. They are key to guarantee a future to our planet.

    To date, efforts to protect oceans have been insufficient, the pressure and dangers they face are so wide and variable that any successful strategy to effectively protect them will necessarily involve the collaboration of all members of society and, in particular, from all users of the sea and coastal environment.

    The members of Navigatio practice traditional nautical sports in the Bay of Santander on a regular basis, which makes us a privileged witness of this natural environment of great ecological value. This helps us to understand very well the circumstances above mentioned. In the first meeting of the EU4Ocean Platform Working Group on Healthy and Clean Ocean we realised the necessity to develop a code of conduct, a guide for all those living, working and playing on the coast.

    The Bay of Santander comprises practically all the actors and elements of the Blue Economy, it is a perfect scenario to understand its problems, challenges and opportunities. Therefore, we came to the conclusion that this was the perfect space to develop a pilot project for the development of a code of conduct.

    2020 has been an exceptionally difficult year. However, it is within this exceptional context that Navigatio has achieved considerable momentum thanks to its incorporation to the EU4Ocean platform to materialise this idea for the Bay of Santander. This is also proof of the value of teamwork and open projects to not lose references and anchors in difficult times.

    On Wednesday 16th of December, Navigatio with the help of the coordinators of the EU4Ocean Platform is going to present this project to all interested EU4Ocean members. We encourage your participation and all suggestions and ideas are welcome. The issues discussed in this session will seek to answer the following questions:

    • What subjects / headings a code of conduct should have?
    • How do you make sure it will be used?
    • How do you evaluate?

    As an essential first step, Navigatio proposes to review and evaluate precedent coastal handbooks and guidelines that have been successfully developed and implemented to extract key principles, useful ideas and lessons as a methodology to create this code of conduct.

    The conclusions from this review will be used to prepare an interview questionnaire for the social and economic stakeholders of the Bay of Santander which will cover almost all the elements of the blue economy. The approach we aim for this action is fully educational and along the lines of ocean literacy.

    The final document will be presented in the Summer of 2021 and will be available for other members of the EU4Ocean Platform to use as a guide. However, if you would like to start developing your own code of conduct at the same time as we create ours and work together, you are more than welcome to collaborate in this fascinating project.

    PHOTO: Chepe Saiz, Pedreña (Bay of Santander).

    Comments

    • Hanns J NEUBERT's picture

      Very interesting and valuable. However, be careful when choosing you wording.

      You wrote:
      > ... the uses of the oceans widens and new challenges arise.

      Well, It's not new challenges that arise. To be true, it's worries that accumulate.

      You wrote:
      > Urgent action is needed to conserve marine environment in order to maintain healthy ecosystems and human wellbeing ...

      Yes, urgent action is needed -- but not to conserve the current states of the oceans, which are no healthy ecosystems at all. Instead we need to restore the health of the oceans.

      You wrote:
      > .. efforts to protect oceans have been insufficient, the pressure and dangers they face are so wide and variable that any successful strategy to effectively protect them ...

      Yes, you say it yourself: protection of the oceans has been insufficient. However, it is somewhat inconsistent when you write a few words later, that we need a strategy to protect them. Hopefully we will not just protect the ailing oceans, but restore them.

      I guess that we need to limit any further commercial activities drastically in order not to create further disturbances of the oceanic ecosystems as long as we have no clue what kind of consequences e.g. Blue Economy activities will have on the current ailing marine ecosystems.

      It is important even for your draft of a Code of Conduct to stick to the precautionary principle. This means that no additional activity should be allowed unless its impact evidenced harmless.

      / Hanns