Cookies on our website

The Natural Resources Wales website uses cookies. By continuing to browse or by clicking “Continue,” you agree to the storing of first- and third-party cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Cookie policy.

Marine and coastal guidance

Guidance to help you with marine and coastal project, development and activities

In this section


Here you will find and download NRW’s marine and coastal guidance. Guidance helps to ensure the sustainable management of the marine and coastal environment and give information to help with your project, development or activity.

We are always developing new guidance and this list will be updated when new guidance is available.

Marine and coastal guidance

This guidance note is a digest of conservation legislation, as it applies in Wales, for marine vertebrates including: Cetaceans, seals, otter, turtles, common sturgeon and basking, portbeagle and angel shark.

This guidance provides an overview of the data on marine ecology that we recommend you consider in the first instance in relation to a proposed development or activity in or near Welsh waters. This includes data that we own as well as data held by others but which we regularly use. The guidance explains how you can access these data with links to relevant online sources. 

Seaweed is an important marine natural resource.  The harvesting of seaweed is an increasingly popular activity and NRW is being approached more frequently for advice on this topic.

NRW is the statutory environmental body in Wales for the environment and it is our duty to pursue the sustainable management of natural resources to maintain and enhance the resilience of ecosystems and the benefits they provide.

NRW has produced two guidance documents for those interested in finding out more about seaweed harvesting by hand. ‘I’d like to harvest seaweed by hand – what do I need to know?’ provides a summary of the key points relating to seaweed harvesting and ‘Detailed guidance for Seaweed harvesting – Hand Gathering’ provides further information and will be especially useful to those who provide advice on seaweed harvesting.

This guidance covers the hand gathering of seaweed, for both personal and commercial use. It includes the collection of attached seaweed and that cast up on beaches as drift and is relevant for both the foreshore and for sub-tidal areas out to 12nm from the shore. The guidance does not cover mechanised collection or the cultivation of seaweed.

Guidance on how to identify the key impacts of marine development projects in Wales that require assessment under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive. It describes matters that we consider will need to be scoped in when undertaking an EIA.

Guidance on methods and approaches for survey and monitoring of benthic marine habitats in relation to developments and activities in or near Welsh waters. We have prepared this guidance to assist the design and planning of marine benthic habitat surveys and monitoring where this is required for ecological impact assessment.

Further chapters on individual habitats are in development and will be uploaded here when available.

GN030: Overarching document
GN030-intro: Introductory technical chapter
GN030a: Intertidal rocky shores and rock pools
GN030b: Intertidal sediments
GN030c: Modiolus Modiolus (northern horse mussel) 
GN030d: Sabellaria spp.: Sabellaria spinulosa and S. alveolata
GN030e: Saltmarsh
GN030f: Seagrass beds
GN030h: Subtidal sediments

Is there anything wrong with this page? Give us your feedback.