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UNDERWATER WILDLIFE

PEMBROKESHIRE MARINE SPECIAL AREA OF CONSERVATION


Most of the sea around the Pembrokeshire coast falls within the Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation. It covers an area of 138,069 ha. The site extends from near Abereiddy in north Pembrokeshire all the way round to Manorbier in South Pembrokeshire and includes the coast of the islands of Ramsey, Skomer, Grassholm, Skokholm, the Bishops and Clerks, and The Smalls (21 miles offshore). It also encompasses almost the entire Milford Haven Waterway.


Here is a map.


The Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designation is recognition that the area is one of the best in Europe for its marine wildlife.  It has many special and important habitats including Reefs, Estuaries, Large shallow inlets and bays, Mud and sand flats, Subtidal sandbanks, Saltmarsh, Lagoons and Caves.


However, the area also includes one of the busiest ports in the UK, and the coast attracts a great many visitors. The local economy is heavily reliant upon tourism and recreation, as well as the commercial activities within the Milford Haven Waterway. These interests, and the duty to look after the marine wildlife of the site, need to be looked at together; they cannot be considered in isolation. It is for this reason that all those with a responsibility for the area are involved in the site’s management.


For much more information look at this link Pembs Marine SAC.

SKOMER MARINE NATURE RESERVE

The waters sound Skomer and the adjacent part of the mainland make up the Skomer Marine Nature Reserve. The very wide range of habitats, from tide-scoured rocks to sheltered bays, and the location at the most northerly point for many southern species make this small area exceptionally rich for underwater life. It is likely that the MNR will become a Marine Conservation Zone shortly but the issue of continued fishing (especially potting) is a thorny one.

There is an interactive display showing features of the MNR, particularly the impressive underwater seabed landscape in Jack Sound, in the old Fisherman’s Cottage at Martins Haven.

There is also a useful and attractive colour booklet, entitled “Stars, Squirts and Slugs” which describes some of the creatures which live in the MNR. Go to this web page on the CCW website and scroll down to the bottom  for the link to the PDF file. Anyone planning to fish, dive, kayak or otherwise use the waters of the MNR should read the User Regulations Leaflet which can be found on the same web page.  

DIVING THE AREA

Not surprisingly, the are is very popular with divers, though much can also be seen by snorkelling. The pictures on this page were all taken in the St Brides area.

If you are planning to dive in the MNR you need to consult the User Regulations Leaflet. You should also consult the Skomer MNR Safety Guide which provides guidance on tidal streams and slack water times. Both of these can be found as links at the bottom of this web page.

For more on Diving see the Boating Fishing and Diving web page.

MARINE CONSERVATION

For more information on conservation see West Wales Marine Conservation.

Seasearch is a national project for volunteer sports divers who have an interest in what they’re seeing under water, want to learn more and want to help protect the marine environment) “Seasearch” diving is carried out regularly in the area - see Seasearch West Wales for more details.  

Photos by Andy Davies

http://www.andydavies.info/