Wildlife

Cardigan Bay is home to a great abundance and diversity of marine wildlife.

Throughout the year you regularly find bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoise, Atlantic grey seals and a variety of bird life. There are also seasonal visitors to the bay which include sunfish, basking sharks and even the illusive leatherback turtle.

There are many places along the Cardigan Bay coastline and around the islands off the Pembrokeshire coast where you can find a great variety of species of seabirds, congregating to nest during the breeding season.

New Quay headland is one of these places. Here we find hundreds of razorbills and guillemots (auks) during the breeding season and their cousins the puffins nest on islands such as Skomer off the Pembrokeshire coast.

Many marine species are unfamiliar to us as the underwater world suffers from a lack of public awareness and interest – to most, it is an inaccessible world.
But you do not need to dive into the depths to discover the wonderful variety of wildlife to be found here, as much of Cardigan Bay’s marine wildlife can be found on or around the seashore.

There are many different habitats found in Cardigan Bay, including sea caves, sandbanks, rockpools and estuaries on which this wildlife relies.

Many of Cardigan Bay’s habitats and wildlife are of national and international importance. Special designations reflect this.

  • Cardigan Bay is home to the first stretches of coastline in Great Britain designated as Marine Heritage Coast
  • In 2004 parts of Cardigan Bay were given European designation as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)

Cardigan Bay SAC was designated primarily because of its importance to bottlenose dolphins. Its aim is to conserve it for generations to come.

Find out more about what lives in Cardigan Bay

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Cardigan Bay bottlenose dolphin