Marloes and St Brides
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.
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 CONSERVATION ZONE
The waters sound Skomer and the adjacent part of the mainland make up the Skomer Marine Conservation Zone (previously a 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.
There is an interactive display showing features of the MCZ, particularly the impressive underwater seabed landscape in Jack Sound, in the old Fisherman’s Cottage at Martins Haven.
To find out more about the marine wildlife of the area go to this web page on the NRW website. Here you can download a booklet about marine life within the MCZ as well as watch videos describing the wildlife and work carried out in the waters around the island. Marine monitoring reports and an annual summary report for the MCZ can be found here. Anyone planning to fish, dive, kayak or otherwise use the waters of the MCZ should read the User Regulations Leaflet and information available through the main website page for the MCZ on the NRW website.
DIVING THE AREA
Not surprisingly, the area 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 MCZ you need to consult the User Regulations Leaflet. You should also consult the Diving Safety Information which provides guidance on tidal streams and predicted slack water times. Both of these can be found as links from this web page. Divers should also note the ban on removal of scallops from the MCZ.
For more on Diving see the Boating Fishing and Diving web page.
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