Alderney’s Puffin Friendly Zone, which gives protection to the Puffins breeding in Alderney’s Ramsar Site, will be added to the official Admiralty Marine Charts in 2024. The States of Alderney’s General Services Committee approved plans developed by the Alderney Harbour Office with assistance from Alderney Ramsar Secretariat and the Alderney Wildlife Trust in early 2024.

The zone (which has been a local designation since 2018) will now be officially recognised by the UK Hydrographic Office and will be included in Admiralty Charts published this year.

This official recognition will help to improve awareness of the zone, especially with visiting mariners who may not be aware of local regulations and customs. In turn, this will hopefully give Alderney’s puffins better protection, and boost their chances of raising chicks ‘AKA pufflings’ this year.

Steve Roberts, States of Alderney Member for Environment said, “I welcome a voluntary code of conduct on the very sensitive areas of Burhou and the rare wealth of its bird life. All responsible boat owners please observe this area of outstanding beauty and ecological importance, in turn preserving the birds protected habitats, for the present and the future, with consideration to dwindling numbers of some species. It is their world, of which we need to recognise and preserve.”

Atlantic puffins are currently listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an
endangered species in Europe, with rapid population declines likely due to threats including human
disturbance, climate change, renewable energy production, pollution and even disease like avian
influenza. Such threats, compounded with their low breeding rates (1 chick per pair per year), makes
puffins very sensitive species.

The island of Burhou, to the North-West of Alderney, is home to the largest population of Atlantic puffins in the Channel Islands during their breeding season from March to August. The puffins lay eggs in burrows on land and rest and gather in groups, known as rafts, on the adjacent sea. The puffin population on Burhou is monitored as part of management of the Alderney West Coast and Burhou Islands Ramsar site through counting the number of rafting birds and observing burrows. Such monitoring helps us understand current and future trends in the puffin population and behaviour. To further reduce disturbance to seabirds on Burhou, monitoring is carried out through remote cameras, which are streamed live to the public.