Chichester Harbour is one of the country’s most popular recreational harbours. It has a resident fleet of over 12,000 leisure vessels, representing about 25% of all the recreational craft in the Solent. Combined membership of the 14 sailing clubs amounts to 12,000 people and each year an estimated 25,000 enjoy the Harbour’s waters for racing, cruising and fishing.
Whilst Chichester Harbour is an established recreational harbour providing important health and well-being benefits for people as well as supporting the local economy, boating can place pressures on the natural environment in a number of ways. These include damage to the seabed from anchoring and mooring, pollutants entering the waters from boat scrub downs, boat waste disposal and wildlife disturbance issues.
Many people also visit the harbour for other recreational activities including walking, swimming, cycling, bird watching, art and photography. They enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of the natural landscape.
With rising populations and increasing housing developments the number of visitors to Chichester Harbour is steadily increasing. Not surprisingly this brings increasing pressures on the natural environment from dogs disturbing wildlife, trampling of the foreshore, litter and pollution.
It’s a fine balance enabling people to enjoy the harbour and the health and well-being benefits it brings, whilst still providing space for wildlife to thrive. Raising awareness of human impact is key, together with finding creative solutions to help reduce the pressures and create space for nature.