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Both the width, our use and enjoyment of the UK’s territorial sea has changed considerably over the last 100 years.   On land we now have a greater understanding that what we do on the land, our use of rivers and estuaries has a direct or indirect effect on our seas.  The use of our inshore and offshore areas (part of our territorial sea) has equally developed.  In the last ten years we have Marine Planning Policies and Conservation Zones.   Together with differing uses for a sea which previously was mainly used for passing vessels and fishing.  The work will consider:

  1. i) Framework and use of nautical miles, base lines, the breadth of our seas and the new marine conservation zones
  2. ii) The increasing environmental controls and restrictions on and in our territorial sea

iii)           What is left of the UK and European fisheries activity taking place and

  1. iv) The new activities and use since the Marine & Coastal Access Act 2009 was implemented from marine protected areas (MPA’s) to wind and electricity turbines.

Research Context

The use and development of the territorial sea has speeded up since the Marine & Coastal Access Act 2009.   On environmental grounds our membership of the European Union.  Increasingly areas where there was just water and a few fish are now areas planned for aquaculture, the creation of electricity, there are sites virtually unusable due to cabling which has been placed on the sea bed.  With the proposed leaving of the European Union many old issues once the European Union is resolved will come to light again.

The main issues will be:

  1. i) Prior to Brexit and post the rules and law affecting our territorial sea, the inshore and offshore areas
  2. ii) What is left of our fishing policy with and without Europe

iii)           The increasing environmental controls and regulations and

  1. iv) New uses of the same area and the law affecting them.

Research Methods

I am a black letter Lawyer and so my work has to be virtually one line one case or other authority.

However, the internet and its use by the European Union has increased the opportunity to read most rules, regulations, authorities and reasons why they were imposed.

In addition, I live by the sea and having been legal advisor to a Harbour Commission and acting for many fishing vessels I have plenty of access for field work in the areas to be studied.

I have, however, been undertaking fisheries law work for 20 years or so. Apart from being able to draw upon those cases and the papers, my intended analysis will be:

  1. i) What is in law the territorial sea, the inshore and offshore sea areas. That would be run through the cases and authorities which apply in international law.
  2. ii) Similar analysis of the UK’s regulatory framework within the territorial sea and in particular the inshore and offshore areas. That is simply an analysis of Acts of Parliament, Standing Orders and their application by DEFRA or the MMO

iii)           The focus and treatment together with the case law on fisheries with

  1. iv) Increasing environmental regulation, then
  2. v) The new Marine Planning Policies and Conservation Zones.

Significance of Research

Whether we stay in or come out and when of Europe, this is an area of the globe which has never been more subject to development and increasing control. There is very limited information available save in relation to particular aspects such as species rather than use of the seas.  Equally in terms of legal textbooks whilst there are well known works on international law of the sea do you tend or wish to focus on detailed use of the inshore and offshore areas or their gradual development which is in effect becoming like a planning policy as profound as must have been when the Town & Country Planning Act was first introduced in 1948.

Other Works

The principles of public international law by Brownlie

Law of the Sea – Churchill & Lowe

The EC Common Fisheries Policy – Churchill & Owen

Rothwell & Stephens – The International Law of the Sea

United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea 1982

The Sea Fisheries Legislation & Guide to Enforcement (the blue book)

Fishing News

David Hassall

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