Skomer Gets Seal of Approval from John Griffiths

Environment Minister John Griffiths visits Skomer Island with the Wildlife Trusts: Thursday 4th October

Minister for the Environment, John Griffiths, visited Skomer Island on Thursday 4thOctober to see why so many people visit this wildlife haven. Greeted by passing harbour porpoise and the newly born seal pups common at this time of year on the beaches around the island, the Minister has learnt about the important scientific research carried out by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales on the island.

John Griffiths spotting porpoise on Skomer

John Griffiths spotting porpoise on Skomer by L Wilberforce

Along with its sister island Skokholm, Skomer is an important location for seals and several species of seabirds, for example the islands are home to 50% of the global population of Manx shearwaters.  The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales undertake essential research into both seals and seabirds to protect these important species for future generations.

Skomer is also a major contributor to the tourist industry in Wales with 15,000 tourists visiting the island each year.

John Griffiths, Environment Minister, said: “I was pleased to be able to visit the island, especially as bad weather prevented me from doing so earlier this year. I wanted to see to see first-hand how the nature reserve is successfully managed. The Welsh Government is committed to supporting sustainable tourism and places like Skomer play an important role in the local economy.”

Chris Taylor, Skomer Warden, said: “The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales has managed Skomer for over 50 years. In this time we have developed close relationships with partners and universities from around the UK to deliver ground-breaking research on the island. Over the years, this has made a major contribution to our understanding of seabird migration patterns around the world.”

 

The Island is owned by the Countryside Council for Wales and managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.

 

Ends

For more information please contact either:

Lizzie Wilberforce, Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, 07970 780553

Beth Henshall, Wildlife Trusts Wales, 07709 495629

 

Notes for Editors:

  • The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is the largest charitable organisation working exclusively on all aspects of wildlife conservation in south and west Wales managing over 90 reserves and working with local communities to improve their access to their local wildlife. The Wildlife Trust works for a better future for all kinds of wildlife across south and west Wales. Our mission is to protect and improve habitats and wildlife in our local area as well as helping people to enjoy and understand their local wildlife.  Our vision is for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone.
  • There are six Wildlife Trusts in Wales working together to protect wildlife for the future. Between us, we have more than 30,000 members and manage 230 nature reserves, including 28 coastal reserves.  We also campaign at local, regional, and national level for better protection of wildlife and the environment in Wales.

 

  • The Wildlife Trusts have been campaigning for many years for comprehensive legislation to achieve better protection for marine wildlife and effective management of our seas.  For more information, please visit http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/livingseas

 

  • Skomer Island provides a fantastic habitat for ground nesting birds. It is best known for its population of puffins. Survey data indicates that there may be about 6,000 breeding pairs on Skomer.  The island is most important for its population of breeding Manx shearwaters. There are an estimated 120,000 breeding pairs on Skomer (and a further 45,000 pairs on neighbouring Skokholm island), making the two islands the largest known concentration of this species in the world.

 

  • Skomer lies off the coast of Pembrokeshire. Skomer is owned by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and has been managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales for over 50 years.