TOURISM AND RECREATION
There are many types of recreation and tourism activities occurring on the Moray Firth coast, such as golf, caravanning and camping, wildfowling, sailing and scuba diving, and it is likely that some of these activities will increase in future years. The nature of the coastal geomorphology of the area provides a considerable number of beaches, many of which are well suited to informal recreational use, being sandy, safe, with easy access and car parking.
A variety of different wildlife can be seen from the shores of the Moray Firth and many local people and visitors enjoy watching the wildlife around the coast. The bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth have become well known in recent years. As well as being studied to find out more about them, they have also become an added attraction for visitors to the area. Moray Firth Dolphins are often seen from land, with North Kessock and Chanonry Point being particularly good places to watch from.
Watching the dolphins from boats is also popular and in order to ensure disturbance is kept to a minimum the Dolphin Space Programme has been set up with accredited boat operators. Fast boats, jet skis and similar noisy craft can be a particular hazard for dolphins. The noise can affect their echolocation, as well as causing disturbance and possible injury. Scottish Natural Heritage and other organisations have drawn up a code of conduct for jet ski and power boat users, asking them to avoid sudden changes in speed and direction, not to travel at a high speed, and to avoid swimming with, feeding or touching dolphins or porpoises.
In many areas and in many ways, the coast can be used for all these different activities and cause no disturbance or damage to wildlife or conflict with other users. Occasionally, however wildlife may be disturbed when feeding or breeding, important habitats can be damaged, or one group of users may affect another group of users' enjoyment of their activity. In most cases this is unintentional - when people don't know what affect their actions might have on wildlife or other people. Education and interpretation help to give people this information.