Ceredigion Marine Code

Water users: You can make a difference!

Cardigan Bay is of international importance for its marine life, including the largest population of bottlenose dolphins in Europe. Dolphins, porpoises, seals and seabirds thrive here because it offers everything they need to live and raise their young. Marine animals such as dolphins, porpoises, seals and seabirds are protected by law and are vulnerable to both collision and disturbance.

Fast, highly maneuverable boats present the greatest threats to these animals. Why? Because the under-water noise from their propellers can affect the their ability to communicate, navigate and hunt for prey.

The faster a boat travels the noisier it is, and the less likely it is that the skipper will see any marine mammals or seabirds ahead. Not only motor boats disturb wildlife however. Animals approached by any kind of vessel, including kayaks, paddle boards and sail boats, tend to stop what they are doing, such as feeding, and move away. Repeated disturbance, especially in important feeding areas, can reduce the animals’ chances of survival and may force them from the area entirely. Females with young calves are particularly vulnerable.

Results of ‘Dolphin and Porpoise Watch’ show that following the Ceredigion Marine Code really does reduce disturbance. Our monitoring work shows that dolphins are more likely to approach boats when the Ceredigion Marine Code is followed.

Ceredigion Water Users’ Marine Code of Conduct (PDF)

The Code is distributed to all mooring holders, it is also available to visitors’ launching at Ceredigion harbours. Information panels informing water users about about the Ceredigion Marine Code and the Cardigan Bay SAC are located at launching sites.

For more information contact the Cardigan Bay Marine Protected Area Officer, Melanie Heath: melanie.heath2@ceredigion.gov.uk or call 01545 561074.

Photos: top right – canoes and stand up paddle boards not following the code of conduct and directly approaching a bottlenose with a calf. All are also much too close as we request that vessels keep 200 metres away from animals.

bottom right -recreational vessel not following the marine code and entering the seal haul out areas by Bird’s Rock. This vessel is also to close to the seabird breeding colonies.
Photographs by Melanie Heath