Action at European level
a. draw up a European convention on the underwater cultural heritage, open to all member states of the Council of Europe and also to all non-member states bordering on seas in the European area ;
b. negotiate agreement between member states on the declaration of national cultural protection zones up to the 200-mile limit, wherever that limit is in keeping with geographical realities, as a basis for the implementation of the proposed convention ;
c. encourage, in co-operation with UNESCO and ICOM, the administration of the application of the convention at regional level, by agreement between states bordering on the same sea or part-sea ;
d. express its support for the setting up of a European Group for Underwater Archaeology, which, among other things, could prepare and keep up to date a series of European manuals (supplemented where appropriate with visual material) on :
existing legislation and administrative regulations concerning the underwater heritage ;
underwater archaeological techniques ;
basic procedures to be followed on locating finds ;
e. bring the report of the Committee on Culture and Education (Doc. 4200) to the attention of interested expert committees in the Council of Europe, with the following proposals for further action at European level :
Action at national level
f. urge member governments, on the basis of proposals set out in the Annex to this recommendation :
Minimum legal requirements
There should be no loopholes in the system of protection. The definition of underwater objects and sites should extend up to what is covered by land antiquities legislation.
Protection should cover all objects that have been beneath the water for more than 100 years, but with the possibility of discretionary exclusion of less important objects (or of less important antiquities) once they have been properly studied and recorded, and the inclusion of historically or artistically significant objects of more recent date.
Individual, and apparently isolated, underwater objects should be protected to the same extent as wrecks or sites.
National jurisdiction should be extended up to the full 200-mile limit, with an international agreement providing for reciprocal treatment of cultural finds landed in countries other than those in whose cultural zones they were found.
Existing salvage and wreck law should not apply to any items protected under ii and iv above.
Reporting of finds to the appropriate authorities should be compulsory.
A single authority should be given primary responsibility for dealing with both land and underwater finds, and determining their significance.
A standard system of fixed finder's monetary rewards should be established, related to each identification of an object or site and not necessarily linked to the commercial value of the find. It should differentiate between an individual object and a site, and be heavily weighted in favour of the latter.
Provision should be made for appropriate enforcement measures.
Priority areas for further action at national level
The establishment of stocks of equipment for underwater research, including mobile laboratories and support vessels.
The training of more technicians and underwater archaeologists and the improvement of career possibilities for those working in this field.
The setting up of centres for the analysis and treatment of underwater material, for research and for training.
The systematic preparation of inventories of underwater sites.
The more effective protection and policing of known underwater sites.
Increased financial support for rescue excavations and for the careful scientific excavation of really significant sites.
Encouragement of the responsible presentation of the underwater heritage to the public (in particular by television, by publishers and by museums).
Assistance to the efforts made by local authorities for the display of underwater finds of cultural importance.