Published On: Sun, Oct 6th, 2019

Fury after French tourist boats threaten famous Jersey reef | World | News

Up to 700 French boats are expected to disturb the protected reef, Les Ecrehous, due to construction work beginning at the nearest harbour, Carteret, in Normandy. Experts fear this will devastate the wildlife on the reef which is home to one of the rarest seabirds, the Roseate Tern. 

The flood of French boats is already causing an increase in anti-social behaviour complaints. 

Calls have been made for police or wardens to be deployed, to warn people over their unacceptable behaviour. 

The Ramsar Management Authority (RMA) of Jersey, which works to protect the reef,  has written to the Government demanding more legislation to protect the area.

They are calling on the Government to offer protection from “apathetic” individuals who “cause decades worth of damage through a single careless or conscious act”. 

The authority said the increase in the number of private boats, individuals and, on occasion, dogs entering Ramsar sites will have “potentially catastrophic effects to the reefs wildlife and habitats”.

Kevin McIlwee, chairman of Jersey Marine Conservation told The Daily Telegraph the French boats arrive via narrow channels near the seal population. 

He said: “As a result the seals are continuously disturbed and often unable to get sufficient time to digest food or rest. 

“Pups in the pathway of the large females and bulls risk serious injury, as the seals retreat to the safety of the water.”

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The Ecrehous is a small group of islands and rocks six miles from Jersey and eight miles from France. 

The area is home to seabirds – the eagle-eyed will spot terns, oystercatchers, cormorants and curlews – as well as bottlenose dolphins and grey seals.

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