First national Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code launched

Published on: 25 May 2023

Seal in water

Code will protect animals and habitats and help people enjoy England’s coast responsibly.

The Government has launched England’s first-ever national Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code which offers friendly advice and guidance to help people visit the coast responsibly.

Home to around 95 percent of Europe’s grey seal population and around 25 percent of Europe’s breeding seabirds, the British coastline supports many iconic species and habitats. It is also a special place for people to visit, and ongoing work to establish the King Charles III England Coast Path – which when complete will be the longest waymarked coastal path in the world at over 2,700 miles – is helping more people than ever to access these environments.

However, as visitors to our coastlines rise, it is important to ensure that our precious marine wildlife remains as undisturbed as possible. Young seals, for example, can use up vital energy if startled by people getting too close or being too noisy, meaning young pups struggle to haul out of the water to rest and digest their food. In a bad year of disturbance, only 25 percent are likely to survive to the age of 18 months.

It offers specific guidance around animals such as seabirds, seals, dolphins, sharks and turtles, including information on breeding seasons and how species might react to disturbance.

It also offers specific guidance around using boats, jet skis and other vessels responsibly to minimise disturbance and risk of injury to wildlife.

The code can be found here –  Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code

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