Several new offences could be created for interfering with wild species and habitats under a new Wildlife Law for Jersey.The Environment Minister says the legislation would strengthen protection for wild animals, birds and plants. Breaches would carry a standard penalty of two years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.It specifically seeks to tackle the influx of species not native to Jersey, which the Assistant Minister for the Environment, Deputy Gregory Guida told ITV News was a "major issue".
Half the flora in the island is non-native. We've got trees that have nothing to do in Jersey, and they were imported in the 19th century, 18th century. Some of them are established, some of them have actually moved out local species, so we do have to be very careful because there's still potential for bringing in plants and animals who will just displace other animals.
The proposition makes it an offence to deliberately or recklessly "allow to escape into the wild, an animal or bird, of an invasive non-native species".Other new offences include the interference with nests and dens, breeding sites and deliberate disturbances of wild birds and animals. The Environment Minister will also have powers to create custom made protection for specific areas, through Orders designating Areas of Special Protection, where needed.
One of the very big things about this law is that all the animals in it are listed in annexes and we can change those annexes so if there is a new invasive species that needs to be controlled, in a couple of weeks we can have that in the law and enforced. If there's a species that needs to be protected we can do that very fast.
The proposition also, for the first time, puts an obligation on the whole government to work towards biodiversity in everything they do.
That's not something that was generic in Jersey law, now as we think of children when we write a new law or do new things, we will also have to look at biodiversity and a have a net gain in biodiversity when we do things, so that's a very, very big thing, it's discreet in a very small article but it's actually quite important.
It is set to be debated in November.