The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution claims that a change is needed to protect the marine ecosystem.
It says that a marine planning system is required to assess the environmental impact of activities such as fishing, wind farms and oil and gas exploration.
The report also calls for a marine act to clarify legislation governing the sea.
Commission chairman Sir Tom Blundell said: "On land we have had a planning system for more than 50 years to control development and set aside areas for protection. Unless similar steps are taken at sea, species may disappear and the ecosystem placed in danger."
SJ Berwin partner Pat Thomas said the proposals make sense: "Given the concern about sustainable development, it is rather strange that the sustainable environment ends at the water line."
Turning the Tide can be viewed via www.PlanningResource.co.uk.