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Jersey could ‘lead the world’ in sea and coastal protection

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JERSEY has the opportunity to become a global pioneer in environmental protection by creating an ‘emerald ring’ marine national park to safeguard and celebrate its world-class reefs and coastline, the Economic Development Minister says today as part of his vision for the future.

Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (26621894)

Writing in today’s Future Jersey supplement, Senator Lyndon Farnham puts forward the case for extending Jersey’s National Park, which was created in 2011, to include the waters around the Island.

He wants Jersey to work with the Blue Marine Foundation, a leading conservation charity which has been in the vanguard of the movement to better protect marine environments around the world.

Blue Marine is urging the Island to take the next step in protecting its ‘stunning biodiversity’.

The charity has hailed the Island’s ‘extraordinary marine estate’ and said that a designated zone beyond the shoreline would complement the Island’s existing land-based national park.

Senator Farnham said that a marine park would ‘protect and showcase’ the very best of Jersey’s sea habitats and boost its reputation as a forward-thinking and responsible jurisdiction.

‘An extension of our Coastal National Park, to embrace our whole coastline, and its further development to create a marine park, would establish a ring of protection around our exceptional marine estate and blue economy,’ he explained.

‘This could protect and showcase some of the very best, and rarest, shallow marine habitats and add significant economic and environmental value to Jersey.

‘We have declared a climate emergency and we must act on it with a strong conviction and an environmentalism that promotes responsible behaviour while being rooted in today’s reality.’

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Having worked with the government and other organisations in setting up marine protected areas around the Ecréhous and the Minquiers in 2017, Blue Marine is calling for such protection to be extended to Jersey’s inshore waters.

The foundation’s executive director, Charles Clover, said: ‘Jersey is in a much better place than many parts of the UK or the French mainland – there really is an exciting opportunity for a very clearly articulated new future for the Island to be a world-leading marine conservation blueprint.’

Widening the marine protected area to the entire Jersey coastline would mean the extension of restrictions on fishing activity. Trawling and other uses of ‘mobile fishing gear’ would be likely to be prohibited, but Mr Clover said this should not affect the fishing industry overall.

‘I think for the vast majority of Jersey fishermen, who use pots and set netting, this would only be a positive development,’ he said. ‘We worked closely with the fishing community regarding Les Ecréhous and Les Minquiers and they were very supportive.’

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Blue Marine is currently running a PhD study in partnership with the government, the Société Jersiaise and Plymouth University to assess the recovery of marine life within the existing marine areas and qualify the benefits to the fishing industry.

Senator Farnham’s contribution is among a series of articles in the pull-out Future Jersey supplement that describe a range of ways in which the Island is preparing for the years ahead.

Lisa Springate, chairwoman of the Institute of Directors, outlines the need to adjust to new environmental and technological conditions, while IT entrepreneur Nick Ogden outlines the keys to successful innovation. Fairway Group, the Digital Leadership Programme and Jersey Electricity are among the other businesses showing how they are preparing to tackle future challenges and opportunities.

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