09 Jun Innovative new approach to protect marine wildlife continuing in Pembrokeshire
Educational buoys to raise awareness of the Pembrokeshire Marine Code and wildlife sensitive areas have been deployed in the waters off Tenby againn this year. The groundbreaking approach is entering into its second year and is unique in Wales and is aimed at helping watersports users minimise their disturbance and protect the marine environment.
Caldey Island and the surrounding waters are important areas for grey seals, sea birds and other marine life. Wildlife tour boat operators working in the area were becoming concerned about the behaviour of some watersports users who were disturbing wildlife by getting too close or approaching at high speed. Angus Dunlop, Tenby Boat Trips, commented “We have noticed an increase in marine traffic over the last few years and it was clear that some of the people out on the water were not aware of the Pembrokeshire Marine Code and were disturbing the birds and seals. We felt there was a need to highlight best practice out on the water and came up with the idea of using marker buoys”.
The tour boat operators who, as members of the Pembrokeshire Marine Code follow the best practice guidelines, contacted Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, who helped develop and manage the Marine Code. Paul Renfro, Marine Code officer at Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, said,“ The Pembrokeshire Marine Code partnership, in existence for over a decade, was set up to develop best practice for seals, cetaceans and sea birds. It enables all users of the sea from kayakers, divers, anglers and sailors to avoid disturbing the amazing wildlife we are lucky to share our seas with. We are excited to trial this new method to help raise awareness and educate as many people as possible about what they can do to ensure the wildlife is there to be enjoyed for generations to come.”
The buoys mark the boundaries for four key wildlife areas around the island and display information on how to minimise disturbance to the Atlantic grey seals and cliff nesting seabirds such as cormorants, shags, and guillemots. There will also be supporting educational material at slipways and upcoming events.
Emma Taylor from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park stated “This is a positive move where socio-economic and community benefit is also being protected alongside marine ecosystems”.
This project is being supported by the National Park’s Sustainable Development Fund, Natural Resources Wales, and by donations from Coastal Cottages customers. The Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum would like to thank Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Natural Resources Wales, and Coastal Cottages for their support.
Short video about the project