AONB Suggesting Ban On Some Watersports In Scilly

Kite surfers off Porthloo Beach

A ban on some watersports during seabird breeding seasons could be introduced in areas of Scilly, if the AONB can provide evidence that the birds are being disturbed.

Last night, Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority Officer, Steve Watt, told councillors that the AONB had suggested a seasonal ban on kitesurfing in ecologically sensitive regions.

There’s concern that the canopy of the kite might be interpreted as a bird of prey and that could deter some birds from breeding.

Steve says the AONB is considering broadening it out to all types of waterborne activities that could disturb the colonies, but he says that needs to be done, “on hard evidence.”

The RSPB has produced a list of 71 breeding areas in Scilly. Samson Flats is the largest and most sensitive of these, says Steve, and this could be made out of bounds during the breeding season.

The AONB can’t put a ban in place on its own. That would be down to the Council as the by-law making authority.

And Steve says these can be written to zone activities into certain areas. This is quite common, he says, such as restrictions on water skiing.

The AONB’s remit means they need to protect the islands’ natural environment but also embrace sustainable tourism, including activities like watersports.

Steve says they’ll need to balance those needs if they introduce any new restrictions.

He’s waiting for the results of the seabird survey, which should provide data to decide whether the AONB can move forward with their plans.

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