Really exciting news coming from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) this week, as they release their Marine and coastal wildlife code, a document aimed at helping people act more responsibly when visiting the UK coast.
Our coastlines support a vast array of species and habitats, and it is so important, when visiting these areas that we respect wildlife and do everything we can to ensure that our presence doesn’t disturb or distress them.
That’s why documents such as this are so important. The code acknowledges the issue, raises awareness, and provides advice on how to act when out and about, whether that is walking along the coast or out on the water.
To read the code in full, follow the links below for your area, but key points include:
- Understanding how you may disturb wildlife when visiting the coast, such as by approaching, crowding, or feeding animals, or by making excessive noise and damaging habitats;
- Keeping dogs in sight, under control, and on the lead if necessary;
- Giving wildlife more space when they are most vulnerable, for example during breeding seasons, winter months, or moulting seasons;
- Recognising when animals are uncomfortable and need space;
- How to act around animals, for example by giving them space and not chasing, touching, or feeding them.
- Looking out for animals when out on the water and slowing down and keeping your distance if you see them from your boat or personal watercraft; and
- Reporting wildlife crime and injured, distressed, or dead animals.
Guidance on correct practice for dog owners on the coast:
For Northern Ireland: