Wales

Extra protection for Wales' sea birds and porpoises backed

Harbour porpoise Image copyright PA
Image caption The new conservation areas have chosen based on 18 years of data collected on harbour porpoises

Steps have been taken to strengthen the protection for sea birds and harbour porpoises in Wales.

Three new Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) have been approved by the Welsh Government and will now go before the European Commission for consideration.

They are North Anglesey Marine, West Wales Marine and the Bristol Channel Approaches.

The SACs will complement existing conservation measures in place throughout UK waters.

Three other marine areas have also been approved as Special Protection Areas (SPA), including:

  • Northern Cardigan Bay, which is home to the red throated diver during the winter
  • The existing Ynys Feurig, Cemlyn Bay and the Skerries SPA has been extended to include the surrounding seas used by breeding terns. The site has been renamed to Anglesey Terns/ Morwenoliaid Ynys Mon SPA
  • The Skokholm and Skomer SPA has been extended to include the additional areas of sea used by breeding Manx shearwater and Atlantic puffin. The site has been renamed as the Skomer, Skokholm and the seas off Pembrokeshire SPA. This is site extends into neighbouring offshore waters
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Skomer Island, off Pembrokeshire, is well known for its puffin population

Environment Secretary Lesley Griffiths said: "We are committed to creating a network of marine protected areas in Wales so species and habitats can thrive.

"A rich and healthy marine environment ensures the sustainable use of our seas now and in the future."

The new conservation protection areas follow a consultation carried out by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) last year.

Ceri Davies, NRW executive director for evidence, policy and permitting, said: "We are proud that the seas around Wales support such a rich diversity of wildlife, which is highly valued by local communities and sustains important businesses such as fishing, tourism and recreation."

Image copyright CCW
Image caption Red throated divers make their winter home in Cardigan Bay

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