Assessing the Environmental Impact of Anchoring Cruise Liners in Falmouth Bay

  • Sarah Tuck
  • John Dinwoodie
  • Harriet Knowles
  • James Benhin


Ports are coming under increasing pressure to manage their operations in an environmentally sustainable manner. This pressure comes from legal requirements, national agencies, planning inquiries and local activists (Wooldridge et al 1999). Ports have tended to react to such demands by making environmental policies and audits, always playing catch-up to the latest problem. An alternative approach is to be pro-active in seeking out environmental concerns at an early stage, assessing the scientific evidence of harm in the context of the specific port, and taking mitigating action according to the evidence. This is the basis of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between the University of Plymouth and Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC), who run a small trust port in South West England. The Port of Falmouth enjoys over thirty cruise calls a year. Smaller cruise liners can berth within the docks, but larger ships must anchor in Falmouth Bay, a Marine Special Area of Conservation, and tender their passengers ashore. Anchoring directly affects the benthic habitat through smothering, abrasion and disturbance. The noise and visual intrusion of vessels create an indirect impact. Studies into anchoring activities in fragile habitats such as eelgrass beds have led to the strict management of anchoring (Milazzo et al 2002). Falmouth Bay has a rare dead maerl habitat. This paper presents the on-going study, which is assessing the potential environmental impacts of anchoring in the Falmouth bay area. The steps include synthesising existing data on the nature of the seabed, recording actual anchor locations within the bay to identify areas of high anchoring density and identifying the threat that anchoring poses to the species in the maerl habitat. It is know that there are bivalves that live below the surface, so comparative core samples will be air lifted from high and low anchoring density areas.


Burial Depth Mooring Line Automatic Identification System Gross Tonnage Anchor Chain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. ABP Research (1990). Good Practice Guidelines for ports and harbours operating within or near UK European marine sites. English Nature, (UK Marine SACs Project).Google Scholar
  2. Allan, P. (1998). Selecting Appropriate Cable Burial Depths – A Methodology. IBC Conference on Submarine Communications. The Future of Network Infrastructure, Cannes, November 1998.Google Scholar
  3. Allan, P. and Comrie, R. (2001). The Selection of Appropriate Burial Tools and Burial Depths. SubOptic 2001 International Convention, Kyoto 22-23 May 2001.Google Scholar
  4. Backhurst, M., and Cole, R. (2000). Biological impacts of boating at Kawau Island, northeastern New Zealand. Journal of Environmental Management 60 239-251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Birkett, D., Maggs, C. and Dring, M. (1998). Maerl (volume V). An overview of dynamic and sensitivity characteristics for conservation management of marine Sacs. Scottish Association for Marine Science (UK Marine SACs Project) 116pp.Google Scholar
  6. Currie, D. and Parry, G. (1996). Effects of scallop dredging on a soft sediment community: a large-scale experimental study. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 134, 131-150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Danton, G. (1985). The Theory and Practice of Seamanship, 7th edn. London: Routledge and Keegan Paul.Google Scholar
  8. Davies, J. & Sotheran, I.S. (1995). Mapping the distribution of benthic biotopes in Falmouth Bay and the lower Ruane Estuary. English Nature report no. 119A.Google Scholar
  9. Destination South West (2010). Falmouth [online]. Available: (accessed 10 Jan 2010).
  10. Dinwoodie, J., Knowles, H., Tuck, S. and Benhin, J. (2010). A Systems approach to Assessing the Environmental Impact of Maritime Operations in Falmouth Harbour. 42nd Annual Universities’ Transport Study Group Conference. University of Plymouth Centre for Sustainable Transport, Plymouth 5-7 January 2010.Google Scholar
  11. Falmouth Harbour (amendment) By-laws 1996.Google Scholar
  12. Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (2010). Falmouth Cruise Calls 2009 [online] Available: (accessed 24 Jan 2010).
  13. Francour, P., Ganteaume, A. and Poulaine, M. (1999) Effects of boat anchoring in Posidonia oceanica seagrass beds in the Port-Cros National Park (north-western Mediterranean sea). Aquatic Conservation 9 391-400.Google Scholar
  14. Friedlander, A., and Parrish, J. (1998). Habitat characterisation affecting reef assemblages on a Hawaiian coral reef. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 224, 1-30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hall-Spencer, M. and Atkinson, R. (1999). Upogebia deltaura (Crustacea: Thalassinidea) in Clyde Sea maerl beds, Scotland. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, 79 , pp 871-880CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hardiman, P.A., Rolfe, M.S. & White, I.C. (1976). Lithothamnium studies off the southwest coast of England. ICES report no. CM 1979/K:9.Google Scholar
  17. Haren, A. (2007). Reducing Noise Pollution from Commercial Shipping in the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary: a Case Study in Marine Protected Area Management of Underwater Noise. Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, 10, 153-173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hemming, M., and Duarte, C. (2000). Seagrass Ecology. Cambridge: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hoshina, R. and Featherstone, J. (2001). Improvements in Submarine Cable Protection. SubOptic Conference, Kyoto 22-23 May 2001.Google Scholar
  20. IMO (2002a). Archive 2000 Press Briefings [online]. Available: (accessed 25 Jan 2010).
  21. IMO (2002b). AIS Transponders [online]. Available: (accessed 10 Jan 2010).
  22. Jones, L., Hiscock, K. and Connor, D. (2000). Marine habitat reviews. A summary of ecological requirements and sensitivity characteristics for the conservation and management of marine SACs. Joint Nature Conservation committee, Peterborough (UK Marine SACs Project Report).Google Scholar
  23. Lockley, P. (2009). Ships at anchor put pots and nets at risk. Western Morning News, Monday, November 30th 2009 p. 3.Google Scholar
  24. McGrail, S. (1992). From the Ice Age to Early Medieval Times. In Duffy, Fisher, Greenhill, Starkey and Youings (eds) The New Maritime History of Devon vol. 1: from early times to the late eighteenth century. London: Conway Maritime Press and the University of Exeter, pp 25-31.Google Scholar
  25. McLeod, C., Yeo, M., Brown, A., Burn, A., Hopkins, J., and Way, S. (eds.) (2005). The Habitats Directive: selection of Special Areas of Conservation in the UK. 2nd edn. [online] Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough. Available: SACselection (accessed 24 Jan 2010).
  26. Milazzo, M., Badalamenti, F., Ceccherelli, G., and Chello, R. (2004). Boat anchoring on Posidonia oceanica beds in a marine protected area (Italy, western Mediterranean): effect of anchor types in different anchoring stages. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 299 51-62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Milazzo, M., Chemello, R., Badalamenti, F., Camarda, R. and Riggio, S. (2002). The Impact of Human Recreational Activities in Marine Protected Areas: What Lessons Should Be Learnt in the Mediterranean Sea? Marine Ecology 23, Supplement 1280-290.Google Scholar
  28. Mole, P., Featherstone, J. and Winter, S. (1997) Cable Protection – Solutions Through New Installation and Burial Approaches [online]. Cable and Wireless Marine, Chelsford. Available: (accessed 24 Jan 2010).
  29. Myrberg, A. (1990). The effects of man-made noise on the behaviour of marine animals. Environment International, 16, Issues 4-6, 1990, Pages 575-586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rocker, K. (1985). Handbook for Marine Geotechnical Engineering. Port Hueneme, California: Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory.Google Scholar
  31. Royal Haskoning, January 2003. Marine Ecological Survey of the Fal Estuary: Effects of Maerl Extraction. [online] Available from: (accessed 28 Jan 2010)
  32. Ruiz-Frau, A., Ivor, E., Rees, S., Hinz, H. and Kaiser, M. (2007). Falmouth Bay maerl community benthic survey. Unpublished report. Available: FHC.Google Scholar
  33. Safety of Life at Sea Convention 1974, Chapter V, regulation 10.Google Scholar
  34. SCIG (undated) Standard Definitions [online]. Available: (accessed 3 Feb 2010).
  35. SeaStar Survey 2007, Cornwall County Council - SV Mariner Seabed Mapping Survey.Google Scholar
  36. Solent, J. (2009). The Fal and Helford Special Area of Conservation: Mismanagement of fishing: a case study [online]. Marine Conservation Society. Available: (accessed 24 Jan 2010).
  37. Solly, N. and Knowles, H. (2009). Maerl surface coverage in Fal and Helford SAC. Unpublished document, Royal Haskoning and Falmouth Harbour Commissioners.Google Scholar
  38. The Green Blue (2008). What We Know About Anchoring and Mooring: Boating Fact Sheet 6 [online]. Available: (accessed 24 Jan 2010)
  39. Underwood, A. (1990). Experiments in ecology and management: their logics, functions and interpretations. Australian Journal of Ecology. 15, 365-389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Walker, D., Lukatelitch, R., Bastyan, G. and McComb, A. (1989) Effect of boat moorings on seagrass near Perth, Western Australia. Aquatic Botany 36, 69-77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wooldridge, C., McMullen, C. and Howe, V. (1999). Environmental management of ports and harbours – implementation of policy through scientific monitoring. Marine Policy 23, 4, 413-425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Gabler Verlag | Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Tuck
    • 1
  • John Dinwoodie
    • 1
  • Harriet Knowles
    • 1
  • James Benhin
    • 1
  1. 1.International Shipping and Logistics Group School of Management Plymouth Business SchoolUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK

Personalised recommendations