Devon is synonymous with the sea. We’re the only county in England to boast two separate coastlines and we’re blessed with the most spectacular coastal scenery in Europe. The majority of Devon’s coast is covered by national or international landscape and wildlife designations. We have some of the richest marine communities in the UK, with wildlife ranging from the delicate beauty of pink sea fans and sea horses to the basking shark, the world’s second largest fish. Our reef habitats, estuaries and seagrass beds are internationally important for wildlife.
These coastal and marine environments also provide fantastic recreational opportunities and are integral to Devon’s economy. The fisheries off the southern coast are some of the richest and most varied in Europe. Recreational angling and diving are important growing industries, as is renewable energy.
However, Devon’s marine environment faces many pressures, including intensive fishing, pollution, mineral extraction and heavy recreational use. Largely hidden beneath the waves, the true value of our seas – threats to it – are poorly understood by most of us. This is a critical time of change: international regulations for fishing are being renegotiated; new uses, particularly for marine renewables, are being promoted. The UK Government is in the process of designated a network of protected sites – Marine Conservation Zones – and for the first time in history a spatial planning system is coming into effect for England’s seas.
Devon’s world-class coast and marine environment is wisely used and provides a sustainable living for local fishing communities, a home for an impressive variety of wildlife, and an attraction to millions of visitors and residents.
Work with relevant sectors to find solutions to the complex challenges we face, and develop a united vision for Devon’s coast and seas.
Increase our understanding of the true value of Devon’s marine environment
- Board lead: Professor Martin Attrill, Marine Institute, Plymouth University
- Executive lead: Richard White, Devon Wildlife Trust