Plan to help marine life launched

A scheme to give long-term protection to some of Europe’s finest marine habitats has been launched.

The document plans what needs to be done by public organisations to protect the Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

The area was designated in 2004 as the largest marine SAC in the UK.

SAC officer Sue Burton said: ‘It’s a very special place and we’ve got some special wildlife here and we need to look after it.’

Fifteen different habitats are included in the area, including some of the best examples of reefs, estuaries, shallow inlets and bays, and underwater caves in Europe.

The Pembrokeshire SAC extends from Abereiddy in the north to Manorbier in the east of the county and includes the Milford Haven estuary.

Grey seal, migrating fish and otters are among the most important species who live in the SAC.

The area forms part of a European network of conservation areas.

Designation brings statuary responsibilities to public bodies in the area.

The management scheme has been developed to improve co-ordination between the organisations and identify where action is needed to protect the environment.

The aim is to protect the marine wildlife while still encouraging sustainable use of the site.

Ms Burton said: ‘We have everything from the sheltered upper reaches of the estuary right down to the wave swept offshore islands.’

The plan has been drawn up between Pembrokeshire County Council, the Countryside Council for Wales, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Milford Haven Port Authority, South Wales Sea Fisheries committee, Welsh Water, Environment Agency Wales and Trinity House lighthouse service.