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Policy Tools

Once individual projects are evaluated and decisions are taken, implementation begins. Implementation of a project must be supported with policy tools. These may be supplemented with voluntary agreements between various parties to achieve environmental or conservation objectives. Policy tools come in two broad classes: regulatory and economic. UNEP95 gives three guidelines for these tools:
  • They should provide strong incentives to reduce pollution and increase conservation of resources.
  • They should operate in such away that the polluter bears the cost of pollution and through this the cost of environmental protection is internalized, i.e., included in the price of the products produced with the polluting processes.
  • These instruments should ensure that users of resources pay the appropriate price for them.


The coastal ecosystem of Varna is part of an EU integrated project (SPICOSA project, aimed to create a self-evolving, operational research approach framework for the assessment of policy options for the sustainable management of coastal zone systems. The project is not typical conduct field studies in coastal zones: the main task is to test and improve the methodology (ecological system approach) in different areas of the European coast in real time. For this purpose are selected 18 scientific experimental sea zones across Europe, which differ in geomorphology and environmental conditions and they are subject of various human activities. Тhe coastal zone of Varna is one of 18 scientific and experimental test sites across Europe. The main focus in the application of the ecological approach is placed on the growing tourism industry as one of contemporary threats to the ecological balance of the coastal zone of the northwestern part of the Black Sea and the challenge of formulating and implementing appropriate science-based strategy for sustainable management.

The Institute of Oceanology – Varna and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences are national coordinators for Bulgaria for SPICOSA project (

Regulatory Tools

Regulations determine what is and what is not allowed concerning activities in the coastal zone. Regulations are used where marked mechanisms are absent or weak. Examples are: you may not build a house on the beach, you may only dump your garbage on the official rubbish dump, and, recreational fishing is allowed at a minimum cross-shore distance of 100m from the mean low water line. For the application of regulations, one should keep in mind that:
  • regulations should be used in the most cost-effective and environmentally most advantageous way. Think about the possible regulations and choose "the best"; and,
  • regulations must be enforced. This means that the subject of the regulations must be monitored (How much do they actually pollute?) and in case of an offence permits should be withdrawn (Close the polluting plant!) or fines charged.
Zonation is a spatial planning tool which divides a geographic area in several zones and designates particular uses to each. The zones may be determined according to risk for natural hazards, or according vulnerability of the nature, or according to several user functions. An example of Turkey is described in the adjacent text.

Set-back lines are lines parallel to the coast seaward of which no construction of houses or other buildings is allowed. The line is usually defined in terms of a cross-shore distance from the active beach or dunes.

Mitigation and substitution regulations are necessary if the construction of certain buildings or infrastructure is essential to a community or nation (e.g., a storm surge barrier) and negative effects can not be precluded. The negative effects must be mitigated as much as possible and "substituting" coastal resources must be created. The latter means that an area must be created, or restored from a previously degenerated one, which has similar or more natural resources as the one that will be (partly) lost.

Example of zoning: Turkey

Cited from Ozhan 1996: The law gives definitions of the 'shoreline' and the 'shore'. The 'shoreline' is defined as: 'the line along which water touches the land at the shores of seas, natural or artificial lakes, and rivers, excluding the inundation periods'. The 'shore is the area between the shoreline and the 'shore edge line', which is defined as 'the natural limit of the sand beach, gravel beach, rock, boulder, marsh, wetland and similar areas, which are created by water motions in the direction of land starting from the shoreline'. [...] The 'shore strip' is set to have a minimum of 100m width horizontally, starting from the 'shore edge line'. [Read on].
Economical Tools
Basically, these tools mean that users pay for the use of the coastal resources, pay even more for the negative effect their use has on other uses, and, in some cases, are being paid to reduce these negative effects. A technique applied more and more often is resource pricing: the pricing of natural resources which reflects their combined and environmental uses. Thus, users pay for using coastal resources. The result of resource pricing may be:
  • charges: water space rental for aquaculture, effluent charges, administrative charges.
  • development taxes: imposed on developments in highly profitable and environmental sensitive areas (e.g., tourism).
In some cases, one can decide to grant subsidies to finance anti-pollution measures of desired activities which otherwise would have to stop. For example, heavy industry can be desired because of the jobs, but its profits are low and it will need subsidies to implement pollution control measures.