Kite Surfing Around Samson Could Be Banned

Kite surfers off Porthloo Beach

Kite surfing around Samson Flats could be banned to protect local wildlife.

That’s the proposal being made by the Marine Management Organisation, part of the new Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority, or IFCA.

The group was set to recommend controlling personal water craft to protect marine life.

Fisheries Officer, Steve Watt, says that ornithologists are concerned that the kites have affected the breeding of terns and kittiwakes because they resemble birds of prey.

However he hopes a voluntary agreement, for kite surfers to avoid the Tresco side of the island, can be agreed rather than going down the expensive by-law route.

Kite surfing has become a popular pastime on the islands for both visitors and residents, with around a dozen regular participants in the sport, and Pete Hicks, a keen local kiter, says the area around Samson is, in his view, “the very best place for kite surfing in the UK.”


Pete, who also advises people visiting the islands on where to kite, says the argument that the kite is like a bird of prey is “utter rubbish.”

Pete says he’s watched the birds on the sand banks and shoreline and the kite does not bother them. He added, “in fact to be honest it’s me on the board they get more agitated by, in which case the ban would have to be extended to include windsurfers, wake boarders, kayaks and fast vessels.”

Pete says that a ban would be “drastic” and “using a bit of common sense rather than lines drawn on charts would be a far easier and less dramatic way of sorting any problems out.”

Steve Watt told us that jet skis may also be barred from much of our islands’ waters. There aren’t any used here at the moment but the last one that operated here generated some complaints.

The Duchy of Cornwall has banned them from the harbour and Steve says it may be easier to ask the Steamship Company not to bring them over. Caravans never make it to the islands through a similar arrangement.

The IFCA committee was set to discuss the issue at a meeting this month but the Marine Management representative couldn’t make it to the islands as he sustained an injury whilst erecting a deck chair.


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