Why is the EMS special?
Commercial shipping uses the Wash as anchorage for access to ports on the rivers Witham, Welland, Nene and Great Ouse (eg. King's Lynn and Boston each handling in the region of £1m worth of cargo per annum.) These support the industry of associated towns and surrounding areas, an important aspect of which is tourism and recreation.
The area forms a unique setting for a diverse range of uses and land character,supporting a varied economy ranging from land drainage (draining approx 12.5% of the land mass of England), sea defences, stock grazing and arable farming to military training on air weapons ranges, the exercise of common rights and a commercial fishing industry (shrimp, cockles and mussels in particular) worth in excess of £4m to the historic ports/harbours of the European Marine Site (EMS) and involving approx 90 vessels.