Sed si ille hac tam eximia fortuna propter utilitatem rei publicae frui non properat, ut omnia illa conficiat, quid ego, senator, facere debeo, quem, etiamsi ille aliud vellet, rei publicae consulere oporteret?

Illud tamen clausos vehementer angebat quod captis navigiis, quae frumenta vehebant per flumen, Isauri quidem alimentorum copiis adfluebant, ipsi vero solitarum rerum cibos iam consumendo inediae propinquantis aerumnas exitialis horrebant.

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  • Dumque ibi diu moratur commeatus opperiens, quorum
  • Paphius quin etiam et Cornelius senatores, ambo
  • Quae dum ita struuntur, indicatum est apud Tyrum

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  • The project

Date: 2012/2015

The work presented here has been developed in six case studies of the VALMER Interreg 4A Channel project (2012-2015).

Coordination by M. Philippe, J. Ballé-Béganton and D. Bailly based on written contributions from A. Brocklesby, K. Buchan, W. Dodds, T. Hooper, L. Friedrich, N. Beaumont and C. Grifths


Site description

Poole Harbour in Dorset is one of the largest natural harbours in the world. Its ecological value is recognised by its designation as a Ramsar site, Special Protection Area and Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is also part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and surrounded by a Special Area of Conservation (for Heathland). Poole Harbour supports commercial fisheries (particularly for shellfish), port operations (including for international passenger ferries) and is also an important recreation and tourism destination.

Focus of study

Despite the sector’s importance, detailed assessments of recreation and tourism are lacking. The objective was to provide information to support recreation management, particularly in terms of ensuring continued use and dealing with conflicts (between groups and to address bird disturbance affecting the status of the Special Area of Conservation).

Key stakeholders and their involvement

The study was led by Dorset County Council and the Dorset Coastal Forum. The Poole Harbour Commissioners, Poole Harbour Aquatic Management Plan Steering Group, National Trust, Environment Agency, watersports groups / businesses,  Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Dorset Wildlife Trust were the main additional stakeholders, who were consulted prior to the survey to discuss key issues, supported survey implementation, and provided feedback on the results.

Approach for Ecosystem Services Assessment

An online travel cost survey (advertised primarily through social and print media) was used, with additional multicriteria analysis and supporting questions to allow wider consideration of respondent preferences. A separate study was commissioned to provide participant numbers through field counts, using trail monitors in bird hides (deployed for 80 days) and 55 boat-based transects across the harbour.

Summary of main results

546 responses were received to the online survey. Results suggest an annual spend (on travel and local expenses) of £3.1 million across the six activities considered. Birdwatching contributed over 60% of this, due to the high number of participants. Other elements of the survey showed that a decrease in water quality was likely to most significantly affect users continued participation, in contrast to multicriteria analysis which suggested that wildlife was most important to users enjoyment of the harbour.

Photo: © Poole Tourism | S. Sieger / Poole Tourism | Pterre / Wikimedia Commons