The UK decision to leave the European Union has caused questions related to the issues on the UK coastal line and the economic development in the area.  According to the UK Goverment, the Brexit deal means that the UK will have its own, independent fishery policy in the future.  This indicates also that UK will no longer be part of the European Marine Spatial Planning process – but will stay in the Unclos, which is an UN convetion on the Law of Seas.

The Unclos is important part of the governance in the seas, while aquaculture origins and other natural resources in the global Seas are governed by this. The goverments have agreed for example of the so called Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) -areas, which indicate the ownership of the country in the seas. And under these nautical miles the country has the full owership to the natural resources.

What does this mean in practice? It means that the countries, in which the UK has the EEZ-border (Iceland, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France and Faroe Islands) must work together more closely in the economic issues if the EU Marine Spatial Planning is not any more in use and if the UK will not be part in the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

UK MSP

This is also important while the UK Marine is importat part of the country´s energy policy and energy mix. But also the UK´s energy supply and distribution. This includes the country´s oil and gas sector ,companies like BP (BP) and  Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) , but also the growing new energy sector, the renewables. According to the national oil and gas industry, capital investments in the UK offshore oil and gas industry were 5.6 billion pounds in 2017.

This low carbon energy related to mitigating the Climate Change and energy security in general include for example offshore wind, wave and tide energy. According to the UK Marine Policy Statement, it is anticipated that the amount of wave and tidal energy will increase markedly up to and beyond 2020.

The low carbon energy sector is also a major employer in the offshore and in the coastal line.  According to Oxford Economics, it is assumed that each 1MW
of installed capacity adds 0.29 direct and 0.16 indirect jobs.  The employment growth in the coastal towns has been better than average, says the UK Statistical office.

Currently there are 12 offshore wind farms in the UK, with the largest offshore wind farm in the world located off Kent.

In addition to the renewables, the coastal line is imporant economic factor for example to construction, port operations, aquaculture, tourism, water and waste management and telecommunications.

-Aquaculture is the process of farming or culturing aquatic
organisms. The majority of marine aquaculture is currently related to
Atlantic salmon and shellfish.  The majority (99%) of existing UK marine based finfish aquaculture activity is located in Scotland, which is the largest producer of
farmed salmon in the EU, and the second largest in the world,
although aquaculture activity is increasing in other areas of the
UK, the UK Marine planning organization says.

The Brexit vote on next week Tuesday in the UK Parliament will give the independece of the UK fishery policy according to the PM Theresa May. It also means that in the future, UK will have to negotiate with its EEZ-border partners more in direct dialog in order to sustain and manage the economic, environmental, social and governance issues related to the area.  The oceans and seas are getting their true meaning for the socioeconomic development for a nation.

Päivi Härkönen, co-founder, EarthRate

Sources: EU Marine Spatial Platform, UK Marine Management Organization, EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Unclos, UK Oil and Gas, UK Goverment, UK Parliament

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