Human intervention on the coast has been intense, due to the source of wealth that the coastal areas represent, especially in the form of tourism, which has resulted in a rapid erosion of its beaches. This paper discusses the current state of beach management in the various competent public administrations on the Costa Blanca (SE Spanish-Mediterranean), in relation to urban development and regression on the waterfront. To this end, an analysis has been carried out of the responses to a survey of those responsible for managing each of the 19 coastal municipalities of the Alicante coast, covering 244 km of coastline, 91 beaches and their personnel. Also, an investigation has been conducted as to whether this management’s aim is to protect the coastline and maintain the flora and fauna or just to manage recreation as the main economic activity is tourism. The analysis shows that the beach is simply regarded as a product or service offered to the user thereof. However, local authorities have not detected problems, possibly for two reasons: they do not have sufficient knowledge and this is understandable, given their lack of responsibilities in this area. This causes many beaches to have a high occupancy rate and there is a shift of users towards natural beaches. The study gives us information about the complex administrative process in the coastal system that often proves ineffective on this narrow strip of land.
beach erosion, investment, management of beaches, sand and gravel, urban and natural beaches
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