How much beach wrack is tolerated on tourist beaches?

Two men are looking at a file of photos on a beach.

This summer, the CONTRA partners have been conducting a questionnaire at resort beaches near the CONTRA case study sites to find out what people think about beach wrack.

It is generally accepted that huge amounts of rotting and smelly algae/sea grass on resort beaches is unpleasant. But, very little is known about just how much wrack is acceptable for visitors and local residents i.e. the public’s tolerance level. With growing public awareness on environmental issues, it may be the case that opinions on the complete sanitization of beaches for recreational purposes is also shifting. The main focus of the CONTRA questionnaire is to assess the public’s knowledge about beach wrack and to find out just how much organic material can be left on resort beaches before it affects visitor activity and destination choices. The CONTRA partners are working closely with local authorities. The information gathered from the questionnaires will help to devise wrack management plans that introduce further zoning (spatial and temporal)so as to reduce costs and lessen the damage of current intensive cleaning operations.

The public survey, led by the EUCC The Coastal Union Germany (EUCC-D), forms part of a larger Baltic Sea Region study to determine the social and economic impacts of beach wrack at resorts and the information collected will provide the basis for an up and coming awareness campaign in 2020.

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