Recent conference state the need for better management of coastal zones

Coastal zones are due to their geographical context between the river and the sea flexible in their ability to cope with environmental change; however, nowadays they are under threat from human activities and climate change. This is partly due to climate change impacts (e.g. sea-level rise and hydro-meteorological changes) but also due to more direct human activities and pressures such as increased nutrient loads and coastal development. Coastal lagoons are under particular threatened as they receive nutrients from upstream agricultural activities and are attractive for development as tourist locations. Coastal lagoons are widespread in all parts of the world and represent nearly 13% of the shoreline globally and around 5% in Europe. Coastal lagoons are shallow water bodies separated from the ocean by a barrier (e.g., narrow spit), connected at least intermittently to the ocean by one or more restricted inlets, and usually geographically oriented shore-parallel.

The International Conference ‘Between the River and the Sea’ focusing on these issues. It was held in Dundee, Scotland on September 16-18, 2014 and was hosted by the University of Dundee within the frame of the FP7-project LAGOONS. The conference attracted more than 50 participants (both scientists, decision takers and policy makers) from 10 European countries and Canada, South Africa and Japan.

At the end of the conference the participants agreed on the following statement:

There is a need to create an integrated vision for all European coastal areas and its drainage areas. More specifically there is a need for better coordination of transboundary waters and for a single coordinating unit for coastal zones management. Openness around data and information sharing is also needed in order to include citizens and stakeholders into the management of the lagoons. The science-policy interface should be improved and it is also necessary for better recognition of the connectivity from land, streams, rivers, lagoons and coastal zones.

Official group photo

Excursion to the River Tay Estuary with Professor Robert W. Duck

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