Heavy equipment for a "perfect" bathing beach, Adriatic Sea (Photo: Studer/fairfish)

Marine protection at the beach

For most people, marine conservation is probably something that happens far out there. The TV image in our minds: actions of bold guys on rubber dinghies in daring confrontations with large fishing vessels. But many people have this image in front of their feet once a year without even realising it: the beautifully prepared summer holiday beach - the caricature of a natural seashore.

For most people, marine conservation could start right here. Why do we have this picture in our heads of an industrially straightened beach, perhaps even filled with important sand, as it is promoted by the tourism industry? What is so ugly about a natural beach that we could not be able to handle?

The shore of a body of water is an important habitat for numerous animal and plant species and the nursery for many aquatic animals. Low and high tides extend this habitat between sea and land; the constant change between water and dryness provides additional opportunities for many lifeforms.

Interference in the vulnerable balance of habitats between water and land can cause disruptions that reach even far out to sea. Beach tourism and its constructions along the coasts can therefore be quite problematic.

 





Beaches are as important as primeval forests and coral reefs

fair-fish is currently developing a concept to win over bathers as well as coastal communities and tourism providers. It is not about beach clean-up campaigns, as they are periodically carried out in many places by local environmental groups and schools. Nor are we talking about "blue flags" or similar awards. Such measures may be laudable, but they mainly serve tourism.

Our goal is to create a minimum area of protected habitats for animals and plants on tourist beaches—and to preserve untouched natural stretches of coastline from intensive use. This not only benefits the fishes and fauna and flora in general, but also humans; naturally vegetated beaches also protect against coastal erosion caused by storm surges and rising sea levels.

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