National Marine Park could be created in Jersey

  • Video by Louisa Britton

Plans to create a 'National Marine Park' protecting 30% of Jersey's waters will be voted on next month. 

Campaigners want more of the island's coast to be safeguarded as it harbours great biodiversity. 

Freddie Watson, from Blue Marine Foundation, said: "It's a real chance for Jersey to become a world leader in marine protection.

"Many countries have signed up to the Global Ocean Alliance to protect 30% of their waters, but they're not effectively protected. 

"Jersey has already done a great network of marine protected areas."Politicians will debate and vote on whether to include the plans in the Island Plan on 14 March. 

Currently only 6% of Jersey's waters are protected areas, including the Ecrehous and the Minquiers. 

It has not been decided yet which areas would be given protection under the proposals, or what level of protection would be given. 

There have been concerns from Jersey's fishermen that very strict measures such as no-take zones would be devastating to their industry. 

Peter Tarrant, a seafood and fish supplier, said: "We've already got the issue with all the licenses that have been permitted to the other French boats, and on top of that, if there are other areas closed off for a marine park that could really start to squeeze the fishermen's livelihoods."

Kevin McIlwee, from Jersey Marine Conservation, added: "A marine park really glamorizes what is for us, a very challenging situation. I think that what we require is a lot more than political statements, badges or idyllic pictures.

"It's actually putting in some sort of a management plan that can work, but it's hampered by very difficult and challenging times."