Marine Code Buoys

The main output from this project is to provide investment into infrastructure (buoyage) to support the Marine Code at Caldey and St Margaret’s. This new approach is aimed at behaviour change and protecting marine wildlife and has come from a direct request by wildlife tour boat operators using the area. There have been recent reports and concerns of Marine Code breakage and wildlife disturbance due to water users not being aware of Codes of Conduct and best practice. To raise further awareness of the Marine Code and help protect wildlife Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum(PCF) is proposing a different approach by visually marking the sensitive locations with buoys. This has not been attempted before in Wales and is a different way to raise awareness, change behaviour, protect the special qualities of Pembrokeshire and the local economy.  This project is being supported by the National Park’s Sustainable Development Fund and by donations from Coastal Cottages customers.

Caldey Island (SSSI) has a grey seal population of approximately 100 with St Margaret’s Island a nesting ground for many Atlantic sea birds and a designated Nature Reserve. There is concern surrounding the behaviour of some leisure users around this SSSI. There have been reports of kayakers consistently getting too close to the seals once ‘hauled out’, whilst Personal Water Craft have also been recorded disturbing protected species due to high speed manoeuvres.

The Marine Code partnership, working with local tour boat operators educates users in the area to the long term impact of their behaviour on wildlife. The project will involve the placement of 4-6 information/best practice buoys at sea to mark the boundaries for four key wildlife areas around the island. This would allow visual impact to inform users when they enter sensitive areas. The project would also develop promotional, and workshop materials to educate users through collaborative promotion of the project at marinas, yacht clubs, wildlife tour boat operators, and paddling clubs. This approach could be replicated in other areas assisting in marine ecosystem protection.

The request for this new novel approach aimed at protecting the special qualities of Pembrokeshire has come directly from wildlife tour boat operators who as members of the Marine Code also act to support the voluntary approach. This is a positive move where socio-economic and community benefit is also being protected alongside marine ecosystems.  PCF would like to thank Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the customers of Coastal Cottages for their support.