This code has been produced by the owners and skippers of commercial passenger boats operating out of Newquay and Aberaeron, in conjunction with officers from Ceredigion County Council. It has been prepared with the best available advice / information on how to avoid disturbance to wildlife. The guidance applies to all licensed operators.
It is recognised that the Ceredigion Marine Heritage Coast (MHC) and candidate Cardigan bay special area of conservation (SAC) are important areas for marine wildlife, and the following practices should therefore be followed at all times within the area:
- Speed limit within the MHC of 8 knots
- Speed limit of 8 knots within 300 metres from high tide line along other stretches
- Adhere to harbour speed limits
- Outside these areas be aware of wildlife and adopt suitable behaviours when coming into contact
- Approach coves as slowly as possible, i.e throttle back before the boat enters the field of view. NB Onshore winds make boats audible long before they are in view.
- Manoeuvre the boat as little as possible when close. Minimise the need to switch engines on / off and anchor or lodge the boat in a stationary position wherever possible. If conditions require frequent manoeuvring, limit time spent on site.
- Explain appropriate behaviour to passengers before moving in close i.e no sudden movements, get cameras ready beforehand, keep a low profile and keep voice low.
- Do not ground the boat on the upper beach on the top of the tide. Keep a minimum of one boat length from the tide line.
- Leave the area slowly and with the minimum use of throttle.
- Keep a distance of 50m away from those haul out sites indicated on map.
- Keep a distance of 50m away from those pupping areas indicated on map from mid August.
- Avoid pointing the bow of the boat at the seals on approach.
- Watch for submerged cows on approach as the majority are on the bottom just a few metres offshore. Do not position the boat between mother and pups and avoid blocking beach access in narrow or shallow inlets.
- Watch the seals for signs of disturbance; i.e Rapid swimming to and fro, looking wide-eyed at the boat, sudden panic dives.
- If animals remain nervous or alert, consider withdrawing. If animals move back into the water, you have disturbed them; make an immediate withdrawal quietly to prevent an extended stampede.
- Keep a distance of 50m away from those auk colonies indicated on map from March to mid July.
- Approach quietly with caution. Be prepared to back off quietly if there is any indication of distress (bobbing of heads, erratic movements) to colonies.
- Any individual should not be approached head on
- Throttle back from 300m when approaching.
- Remain stationary or cruise by at 100m from any individual or group – let them come to you.
- Do not circle around individuals or group.
- Avoid bunching around animals.
- Avoid deviating from agreed routes to see animals.
Ceredigion County Council
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