Coastal Regulation Zone: Full Form, Notification | Coastal Regulation Zone UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) was established in 1991 to regulate the coastal areas, including seas, bays, creeks, rivers, and backwaters that are subject to tides up to 500 meters from the high tide line (HTL) and the land between the low tide line (LTL) and the high tide line. According to the Environment Protection Act of 1986, the CRZ has been declared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change.

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) is a regulatory framework that governs human activities along the coastal areas of India, aimed at protecting and conserving coastal ecosystems and resources. This topic holds significant importance in the UPSC exam as it is relevant under the environment and ecology section of the UPSC Syllabus, highlighting the conservation efforts and sustainable development strategies in coastal regions. This article covers all the important aspects of CRZ, such as its classification, regulation, etc.

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)

India is one of the nations with the longest coastlines in the world, having more than 7000 kilometers of shoreline. The Indian government established the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) in 1991 to preserve and safeguard coastal ecology. To safeguard and preserve the ecology and ecosystem along the nation’s coastline, the Government of India issued a notification in 1991 under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, which is overseen by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The notification defines the Coastal Regulation Zone as the coastal area up to 500 meters from the High Tide Line (HTL) and a stage of 100 meters along the banks of creeks, estuaries, backwaters, and rivers vulnerable to tidal fluctuations (CRZ). The state governments Coastal Zone Management Authorities are responsible for ensuring that the CRZ Rules are implemented, even though the Union Environment Ministry creates them.

Objectives of Coastal Regulation Zone

CRZ plays a crucial role in protecting and conserving the coastal environment, promoting sustainable development, and ensuring the well-being of coastal communities. The main objectives of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) include the following:

  • Environmental Protection: The primary objective of the CRZ is to protect and conserve the coastal regions, including the shoreline, marine ecosystem, mangroves, coral reefs, and other coastal habitats. It aims to prevent degradation, destruction, and pollution of coastal areas.
  • Coastal Zone Management: Coastal Regulation Zone aims to regulate and manage human activities in the coastal zone to ensure sustainable development while maintaining ecological balance. It focuses on balancing the needs of development with the preservation of the fragile coastal ecosystem.
  • Coastal Community Welfare: The CRZ seeks to safeguard the interests of coastal communities, including traditional fishing communities, by ensuring their livelihoods and socio-economic well-being are not adversely affected by development activities. It aims to promote their sustainable development and protect their rights.
  • Conservation of Coastal Features: Coastal Regulation Zone aims to preserve and protect coastal features such as beaches, dunes, cliffs, estuaries, and tidal marshes. These features are essential for maintaining coastal stability, biodiversity, and ecological integrity.
  • Control of Coastal Development: CRZ aims to regulate and control developmental activities in the coastal zone, including construction, industrialization, mining, and tourism. It sets guidelines and restrictions to prevent haphazard and unsustainable development that could have detrimental impacts on the coastal environment.
  • Disaster Risk Reduction: CRZ incorporates measures to mitigate the risks of natural disasters such as cyclones, tsunamis, and coastal erosion. It aims to minimize the vulnerability of coastal areas and communities to such hazards through appropriate land use planning and conservation measures.

Classification of Coastal Regulation Zone

Under the authority of the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change first published a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification in 1991, intending to take action to safeguard and conserve our coastal environment. According to the CRZ Notification from 1991 through 2003, there are four different classifications for the coastal regulation zones across the nation. The following is a list and description of them:


  • These are ecologically sensitive areas such as mangroves, coral reefs, etc.
  • Apart from projects related to the Department of Atomic Energy and the construction of trans-harbor sea links and roads without affecting the tidal flow of water, no new construction shall be allowed in CRZ-1.


  • These include areas that are developed up to the shoreline and that fall within the municipal limits; They include villages and towns that are already established.
  • Building construction is permitted on the landward side of the hazardous line. Activities such as desalination plants are also allowed.


  • Areas that do not fall within CRZ I or CRZ II and are relatively undisturbed form CRZ III
  • Between 0-200 meter’s from the High Tide Line, no construction is permitted. Certain activities relating to the Department of Atomic Energy projects, agriculture, forestry and certain public facilities are allowed in this zone.
  • Between 200-500 metres from the High Tide Line, for those who have permission under the 0-200 metres zone, construction of houses for regional communities and tourism is permissible.


  • The aquatic region from the LTL to the territorial limits is considered CRZ IV and includes the tidal water-influenced area.
  • Fishing by local communities is permitted.
  • Untreated liquid or solid waste should not be dumped in this region.

National Coastal Zone Management Authority

The National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) is a specialized body established by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change to oversee and implement coastal zone management activities in India. With its establishment, the NCZMA plays a crucial role in safeguarding the coastal environment, promoting sustainable development, and mitigating environmental contamination along the coastal areas of the country. Following are the key points of National Coastal Zone Management Authority.

  • Established by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change on October 6th, 2017.
  • Operates under the authority granted by Section 3(1) and Section 3(3) of the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA) of 1986.
  • Responsible for safeguarding and improving the quality of the coastal environment.
  • Empowered to take necessary actions to control and mitigate environmental pollution and contamination.
  • Works towards sustainable coastal zone management and conservation.
  • Supports the implementation of policies and regulations related to coastal zone management.
  • Collaborates with relevant stakeholders, government agencies, and local communities for effective coastal environmental protection.
  • Plays a vital role in coordinating and implementing measures to address environmental challenges in coastal areas.
  • Contributes to the overall objective of preserving the ecological integrity and socio-economic well-being of coastal regions.

CRZ Notification

The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification has undergone several revisions to address the issues with the original CRZ 1991 notification. The objectives of the Coastal Regulation Zone 1991 Notification were to preserve and safeguard coastal stretches, ensure the security of the fishery and local communities residing in coastal areas, and promote sustainable development based on scientific principles considering natural hazards and sea-level rise.

In December 2018, the Union Cabinet authorized the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018, which incorporated the recommendations of the Shailesh Nayak Committee. This committee was established by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in June 2014 to conduct a comprehensive review of the provisions under the CRZ 2011 notification. The CRZ 2018 notification introduced significant changes, including:

  • Urban Areas (CRZ-II): The notification allowed the present Floor Space Index (FSI) or Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in urban areas falling under CRZ-II, eliminating the construction limitations outlined in the Development Control Rules of 1991.
  • No Development Zone (NDZ): The new provision, CRZ-III A, reduced the NDZ for previously densely populated areas from 200 meters to 50 meters from the high tide line. Areas with a lower population density will still have the NDZ at 200 meters (No-Development Zone).
  • Permissions and Ecologically Vulnerable Areas: The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change will grant permission for areas between the low tide line and 12 nautical miles out to sea and for ecologically vulnerable areas (CRZ-I).
  • Island Protection: The notification introduced a 20-meter no-development zone for all islands and established guidelines for managing sensitive sites.

Shailesh Nayak Committee Report on Coastal Regulation Zone

The Shailesh Nayak Committee was appointed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in June 2014 to conduct a thorough examination of the provisions under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 2011 notification. The committee’s objective was to address the concerns raised by various coastal states, Union Territories, and stakeholders regarding the CRZ regulations.

The committee’s report formed the basis for the subsequent revision of the CRZ notification in 2018. It provided recommendations for changes in the CRZ provisions, taking into consideration the specific needs and challenges faced by different coastal areas. The committee’s findings and suggestions played a crucial role in shaping the revised CRZ notification, ensuring a more balanced approach towards coastal zone management that encompasses sustainable development, environmental protection, and the interests of coastal communities.

Importance of CRZ

The coastal zone is a transitional area between the marine and territorial zones. It comprises mudflat environments, seagrass ecosystems, salt marsh ecosystems, mangrove ecosystems, coastal ecosystems, and wetland ecosystems. The importance of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) is as follows:

  • It is necessary to protect ecologically sensitive regions such as coral reefs which act as a shield against tsunamis and cyclones.
  • Keeping the coastal zones safe can improve the lives of coastal communities like fishing communities.
  • These measures are essential to counter the negative impacts of climate change and global warming.

Coastal Regulation Zone UPSC

Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) are covered under the Environment and Ecology section of the UPSC Exam. Majorly covered under the UPSC GS Paper 3 Syllabus, the topic needs to be read along with the Current Affairs from time to time regarding the latest happenings.

Coastal Regulation Zone UPSC Question

Question: According to Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notifications, which activities cannot be allowed in any CRZ? (1) Letting off solid waste, (2) Agriculture and public utility, (3) Exploration of hydrocarbon resources

Select the correct answer using the codes below: (A) 3 only, (B) 2 and 3 only, (C) 1 and 2 only, (D) All of them

Answer: (D) All of them

Question: Which of the following is one of the key objectives of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) in India? (A) Conservation of coastal ecosystems, (B) Promotion of industrial development along the coast, (C) Expansion of urban areas without restrictions, (D) Privatization of coastal land for commercial purposes

Answer: (A) Conservation of coastal ecosystems

Question for UPSC Mains: Discuss the objectives and significance of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) in India. How does the CRZ framework contribute to the preservation of coastal ecosystems and sustainable development? (UPSC Mains, 2021)

Question for UPSC Mains: Analyze the key revisions introduced in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018. Discuss the implications of these changes on coastal development, environmental conservation, and the livelihood of coastal communities. (UPSC Mains, 2020)

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