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Köpke, K., OâMahony, C., Cummins, V. and Gault, J.. Assessment of Coastal Recreational Activity and Capacity for Increased Boating in Cork Harbour.. Coastal and Marine Resources Centre, University College Cork., Coastal and Marine Resources Centre, Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, Haulbowline Naval Base, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland., 2008 - Project report, INTERREG IIIB Coastal Research and Policy Integration (COREPOINT) Project..


The Coastal Research and Policy Integration (Corepoint - http://corepoint.ucc.ie) project aimed to demonstrate the benefits of taking an integrated approach to the management of coastal resources, while highlighting the important role of science in informing policy. In bridging the science-policy gap, Corepoint facilitated closer links between local authorities and research centres through the formation of Expert Couplets. In Cork Harbour the Expert Couplet comprised the Coastal and Marine Resources Centre and the Planning Policy Unit of Cork County Council working in partnership to examine coastal issues.

In Ireland, the coastal and marine based leisure sector is experiencing growth in terms of levels of participation and investment. Cork Harbour, situated on the southern coast of Ireland, is one of the largest coastal water bodies in Ireland. Cork Harbour is analogous with many other coastal locations in that it’s a multi-resource and multi-use environment. Coastal and marine based recreation is one of the primary human uses of Cork Harbour. This study aimed to provide baseline information on coastal recreational activities in Cork Harbour, providing insights on the potential issues, interactions and relationships concerning the use of Cork Harbour as a recreational resource. Due to the importance of boating as a key recreational activity in Cork Harbour this study also investigated the capacity of the harbour to accommodate increased levels of boating activity.

Considering the complex environment that is Cork Harbour, the recreation assessment combined both quantitative and qualitative survey methods. A literature review was conducted to identify elements of good practice in marine and coastal recreation management including tools that could be applied to the situation in Cork Harbour. An inventory of recreational users, activities and facilities was compiled. A user perception survey was conducted in 2005 and 2006 in seven locations within Cork Harbour to establish the attitudes and perceptions of recreation users in terms of: management and facilities; criteria that influence the recreational experience; and interactions with other users (recreation and non-recreation) of the harbour. Information from the inventory was incorporated into a Geographical Information System (GIS) which facilitated visualisation of the spatial distribution of recreation features. Finally, using the good practice guidelines to emerge from the literature review an assessment of boating capacity for Cork Harbour was undertaken.

Results showed that people utilise Cork Harbour for an array of recreational activities ranging from the more popular pursuits such as walking, swimming and boating to smaller interest groups participating in more specialised activities such as windsurfing. Issues highlighted include: demand for further amenities and facilities; limited capacity in terms of remaining moorings and berths; and, in certain circumstances the need to better enforce regulations governing activities on the water. The user perception survey revealed a harbour wide demand for facilities which improve access to the water and accommodate water based recreation. Issues such as overcrowding and conflict with other recreational users did not emerge as key concerns. However, this situation may change should Cork Harbour experience higher levels of recreation use, and competition for space and access becomes more acute. An appropriate management framework should be developed for Cork Harbour, which is capable of responding to changes in user interactions under different scenarios.

Emerging from this study is an improved understanding of the current coastal recreational situation in Cork Harbour. The baseline data established in this study are an important first step in understanding the recreation and leisure sector in Cork Harbour, and can contribute to the development of an integrated management strategy for Cork Harbour. Indeed, the gathering of baseline data on recreation in Cork Harbour had the added value of helping to identify key stakeholders who would provide input to any integrated management plan developed for the harbour.

PDF: RecreationCarryingCapacityFinal2.pdf (3.220.849 Bytes)
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