A consultation is being launched today (Friday 31 January) on plans to protect seabirds in some of Wales’ most important marine and coastal conservation areas.
The proposed changes may extend three Special Protection Areas (SPAs) at Aberdaron Coast and Bardsey Island, Skokholm and Skomer, and Grassholm.
Under the current Special Protection Areas, only the nesting sites for species like the manx shearwater, puffins and gannet are protected.
These proposals could see the protected areas extend into the seas around the nesting areas to where the seabirds congregate during the breeding season.
There are also proposals to update the lists of protected birds for these sites.
The Welsh Government consultation, conducted by Natural Resources Wales, will run from the 31 January to the 25 April 2014.
The birds in these areas are not only important wildlife species and highly protected, they draw people from all over the world to spend time in Wales.
Some sites have voluntary codes of conduct and byelaws followed by local fishing and recreational activities which work well to protect the seabird populations.
Ceri Davies of Natural Resources Wales said:
“These protected sites represent some of our most important nesting areas for seabirds in Wales.
“The birds and the beautiful landscapes, seascapes and islands where they live help to attract thousands of visitors here every year.
“It is important that we protect their habitats as they, alongside the fishing and recreational industries, are important for coastal businesses and enhance the quality of life of local people.”
Natural Resources Wales has organised drop in events, open to anyone, to discuss the consultation or get more information, that will be held on:
- Monday 17 February at Aberdaron Sailing Club, Gwynedd (1:30 pm to 8:00 pm)
- Wednesday 19 February at St. David’s City Hall, Pembrokeshire (1:30 pm to 8:00 pm)
- Thursday 20 February at Marloes Village Hall, Pembrokeshire (1:30 pm to 8:00 pm)