Pressures on the Coast
The abundant natural wealth and spectacular scenery of the coast have provided livelihoods for generations of coastal communities in Northern Ireland.
Inshore fisheries, agriculture, ports and harbours, industry, housing development, tourism and power generation all compete for space and coastal resources.
With most of the population living within an hour’s drive of the coast, a huge range of outdoor recreational activities also take place - surfing, sailing, diving, angling, hiking and playing golf are more popular than ever.
The coastline is under great pressure from competing human uses but global climate change is adding a new intensity to the pressures faced by the coastline. The coastline can adjust to changes if sufficient space is available but often human interests are not compatible with such change and conflicts arise.
With rising sea levels, increased storminess and higher temperatures predicted, the challenge will be to manage coastal activities in a sustainable way whilst ensuring the health of coastal ecosystems and mitigating against the worst effects of climate change.
Our coast and inshore waters provide a multitude of vital resources and offer significant economic benefits through fisheries, transport, power stations and tourism. However, as in many coastal regions, the planning and regulation of coastal activities provides challenges and is not fully integrated between land and sea or between different sectors of activity.