Area: 1,802.9 hectares

Designation Date: 19.10.2015

Location: 49°29’N 02°27’W

Why was this area designated as a Ramsar site?

This site consists of two small islands (Herm and Jethou), nine rocky islets (including Grande Fauconnière, Crevichon and Brehon Tower), six sandbanks (The Humps) and surrounding shallow tidal waters.  The site is of economic and cultural importance to the population of Guernsey, and there are significant archaeological and historical features.

The location of Guernsey to the west of the site creates and supports a diverse range of habitats, including seagrass (Zostera spp.), maerl beds, shallow reef systems and seven sunken shipwreck reefs, which provide spawning grounds for fish such as sea bass and black sea bream.  The meeting of cold and warm water currents also supports an array of species from rich plankton communities to marine mammals such as bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic grey seals.

The site has an exceptionally large tidal range of up to ten metres, creating important intertidal habitats for juvenile fish and shellfish, whilst the surrounding water supports seabirds, basking sharks, sun fish, Atlantic grey seal and four species of marine mammals.  The coastlines provide breeding sites for nine species of seabird and the Atlantic grey seal.

Code of Conduct:

  1. Boats. A speed limit of 6 knots must be adhered to within the bays and nearshore areas.  Additional care should be taken in Puffin Bay in Herm. Buoys are in place here in order to highlight the likely presence of rafting puffins.
  1. Birds. Herm is a particularly important site for bird life, and is home to almost 100 different species, including puffins.  Yellow marker buoys are in place to the south east of Herm to signify areas where puffins raft (sit on the water). Puffins arrive in spring – their number are declining so care must be taken not to disturb them by approaching slowly if at all necessary and keeping a good distance away from them.  Take binoculars if you would like a closer view.  In winter Brent geese can be found overwintering from Siberia.  Many other species can be found here year-round, such as curlews, oystercatchers, and cormorants.  For detailed advice see the Species Specific Codes of Conduct section.
  1. Access to The Humps. Boat owners, including kayaks and other water craft should not land on the Humps between 1st January and 31st July inclusive in order to protect the important breeding seabird colonies.
  1. Brehon Tower. Boat owners are asked not to land at Brehon Tower at any time of year. Brehon Tower is also home to breeding seabird colonies and the interior of the Tower is not structurally sound, therefore the public and asked to stay away for safety reasons.
  1. Getting around. The island is connected through a network of footpaths and dirt tracks.  Care should be taken to stay on these paths where possible, taking care not to needlessly damage, collect, or move plants, animals, or stones.  Deviating from paths may cause structural damage, as well as possible disturbance to wildlife.
  1. Care must be taken when flying drones within this Ramsar site to prevent disturbance to wildlife.  This is especially important during bird breeding season or when seals are hauled out or pupping.