Safe rock pool rambles. Exploring the south coast of Jersey & the Ramsar Wetlands site at low tide
Jersey- Southeast coast
Area: 3,210 hectares
World Wetlands site Designation Date: 10.11.2000
Location: 49°09’N 02°02’W
Why was the southeast coast of Jersey designated a Ramsar site?
The World Wetlands site on the southeast coast of Jersey is one of the most extensive intertidal reef sites in Europe. The area comprises various habitats from reefs, boulder fields, mud, sandy and shingle shores, shallow tidal lagoons, seagrass beds, and many outlying reefs.
The maximum spring tide range of 12 metres exposes 17.5 square kilometres of wave-cut rock platforms, extensive areas of reef, and a complex system of gullies. It provides essential winter habitats for wading birds and wildfowl.
Code of Conduct:
Safety. Be aware of your environment. The sea rises very quickly in Jersey. The water will often fill gullies first on the South East coast before rising to higher areas. Always be aware of tidal movements to avoid becoming stranded. Check the weather before your trip and let someone know where you are going. Take care when climbing on rocks and seaweed. It is easy to misplace your step or slip over.
Rockpools. Do not trample through rock pools. Take care where you step as you may not see creatures attached to the rocks and hiding under seaweed or on the sand. If you turn over rocks, return them to their original position to preserve the environment beneath. Studies show it can take 5-10 years to recover if left upturned.
Shells & Stones. The collection of shells or pebbles should be kept to a minimum. Removal of larger stones should not be conducted without a prior discussion with the Société Jersiaise Archaeological Section.
Wildlife. Look at, but refrain from touching marine life. It can be sensitive to rough handling, resulting in injury or death. If you touch or pick up small animals from rock pools, handle them with great care and put them back where you found them. Whilst activities such as litter picking are encouraged, avoid disturbing birds nesting on the ground.
Birds. Birds nest in many locations throughout the Ramsar site, for example, at Icho Tower and to the south and west of Le Hocq Tower. They may attack you if you approach them. Avoid climbing onto the towers and surrounding rocks during nesting season (April – August).
Seals. Seals are sometimes seen on La Conchiere Rocks and in the surrounding area. Boat users should maintain a good watch and follow the Seal and Dolphin -watching code.
Dogs. Do not allow your dog(s) to chase birds because this can cause a significant disturbance. Particular care should be taken when walking dogs in areas where birds feed at low water. Allowing your dog to chase through large flocks of feeding or resting birds can cause them to use valuable energy by flying away and will stop them from feeding. Follow the Jersey Policing of Beaches regulations and know when you must keep your dog on a lead.
Litter & Other Waste. Bring bags for dog mess, a portable ashtray for cigarette butts, and take all your litter home. Bins are available at the various slipways nearby. Public toilet facilities are in many spots around the coast. However, if nature calls whilst you are on the shore, please choose a discreet location below the half-tide mark. If you stay out at Seymour Tower, you should bring appropriate equipment.
Vehicles. To park on any beach in Jersey, you must apply online at gov.je for a beach parking permit. The permit is only valid when using your vehicle to transport a vessel to and from the beach. To drive on the beach, you require written permission from the Minister for Economic Development. Remember, not only is unauthorised vehicle use against the law, it is unlikely your insurance covers you for off-road driving.
Low water fishing. Follow the Jersey fishing regulations. These cover closed seasons, bag limits, minimum landing sizes, and gear restrictions. Current regulations can be found online at www.gov.je.
Groups. Schools and large groups planning rockpool rambles should consider selecting locations away from La Rocque Harbour to reduce the cumulative impact on this area. It is also good practice to avoid the risk of more than one group arriving in the same spot to undertake a rock pool exploration. The Société Jersiaise, Marine Biology Section, can advise on good areas to explore and may even offer assistance, so you get a great experience.
Drones. To prevent disturbance to wildlife, drone users should be cautious when operating in this area. Local and migratory birds may be easily disturbed by a drone flying nearby. Land your drone Drone at the first sign of disturbance, for the birds’ safety, and your drone. Some species, such as oystercatchers, can attack Drones to protect their nesting sites. Aviation legislation must be adhered to at all times, particularly concerning proximity to privately owned property. Please read the Ports of Jersey’ Drone Code’ before using a drone.