Minquiers given special protection

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PARTS of the Minquiers have been given special protection in a bid to help nesting seabirds on the islands.

Environment Minister Jonathan Renouf said the order – which will come into effect on Wednesday – aimed to ‘minimise any human disturbance’ during the breeding season.

Two areas on the islands have been designated under Jersey’s 2021 Wildlife Law – with four areas of the Ecréhous also designated last year.

Common terns, European shags, great cormorants and great-backed gulls are among the birds expected to benefit from the extra protection, which bans certain activities and restricts access to breeding sites from 1 February to 31 August.

Banned activities include:

• Entering a breeding area, except in an emergency

• Operating a vessel at a speed of five knots or more, except in an emergency

• Using or operating an unmanned aerial vehicle, unless authorised by the Environment Minister

• Using or operating a laser

• Discharging a firearm or ceremonial gun

• Lighting a firework

• Lighting a bonfire (except for a barbecue)

• Bringing a dog onto land, unless authorised in writing by the Minister for Environment

• Playing a recording of a bird song, bird calls, or other sounds which may attract, alarm, or otherwise disturb a protected wild bird

• Playing music at a volume which may alarm or otherwise disturb a protected wild bird

Deputy Renouf said: ‘It is our responsibility to ensure nesting seabirds are protected while they are in the Channel Islands, so I’m pleased to designate the two key areas of Les Minquiers as Areas of Special Protection under Jersey’s Wildlife Law.

‘During the spring and summer months, the Minquiers welcomes lots of visits from Islanders and tourists, so this order should help minimise any human disturbance to ensure the seabirds that nest there are safe and hopefully have a successful nesting season.’

Maîtresse Île Residents Association chair John Le Gresley said: ‘The vast Minquiers reef has two significant but small areas of dry land at high tide that can support nesting bird populations.

‘The Maîtresse Île Residents Association is fully in support of the need to share this unique, precious, although sometimes hostile environment with wildlife living “on the edge”, and we therefore welcome the Areas of Special Protection.

‘We’ve had helpful discussions with the Department during the drafting stage of the order, and believe there is room for positive environmental co-existence between humans and the nesting wildlife at the Minquiers.’

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