First national Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code launched

Kim Senior 2022

Kimberly Senior
Consultancy Services Manager, Assurity Consulting
21st June 2023

When you do, take care to follow the new national ‘Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code’ which has been created by conservation charities including Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the RSPB, Shark Trust and Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust in collaboration with the government.

The purpose is to protect our valuable coastal habitats and everything within it from dolphins to seabirds and it will help people enjoy England's coast responsibly offering friendly advice and guidance. The British coastline is home to around 95% of Europe’s grey seal population and around 25% of Europe’s breeding seabirds and supports many other iconic species and habitats. 

There continues to be work on the King Charles III England Coast Path which will be the longest waymarked coastal path in the world at over 2,700 miles when complete which will help more people access these environments.

As visitors to our coastlines rise, it is important to ensure that our 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, in a bad year of disturbance, only 25% are likely to survive to the age of 18 months. Disturbance is also reported to be one of the greatest threats to Britain’s breeding seabirds.

The code 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 includes advice for those walking along the coast or taking part in water-based activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding or jet skiing. The ‘Marine and Coastal Wildlife Code’ builds on the current ‘Countryside Code’, which provides helpful advice and guidance for an enjoyable and safe trip to the outdoors.