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The unique character and special public importance of lands bordering the sea have been recognized since ancient times. In the nature of things, shore lands, together with the waters which cover them (permanently or periodically), have a number of valuable uses not shared generally with inland territories. Navigation, passage, fishery, and bathing are among the particular uses of the shore or adjacent sea for which the public has traditionally received greater or lesser legal protection. However, this list is neither exclusive nor closed. For example, the recent avalanche of accretions to our stock of ecological knowledge has heightened (if not created) a general awareness of the economic importance of tidal areas as a source of ocean nutrients and as a sink for ocean pollutant.