JERSEY – LES MINQUIERS
Area: 9,575 hectares
Designation Date: 02.02.2005
Location: 48°58’N 02°07’W
Why was this area designated as a Ramsar site?
Les Minquiers is an extensive shoal area lying 34 km due south from the Channel Island of Jersey. At high tide only rocky heads are exposed, whilst at low tide various habitats are uncovered, including reefs, boulder fields, sandy shores and shingle banks. The combination of geographic location, strong tidal streams, and a strong wave energy provide ideal conditions for the support of a wide diversity of organisms and enhance biodiversity.
The areas of shallow water and the large number of intertidal channels and pools within the site provide habitats for many species of fish, algae, and sponge communities. Likewise, the rich communities of small animals living within the mud and sand flats are important for the range of shellfish and worm species. Different locations within the site support a number of species of wintering and passage waders and wildfowl with feeding and roosting locations.
Code of Conduct:
- Respect should be shown at all times to the local flora and fauna. Plants provide a valuable food resource for wildlife and must not be destroyed or uprooted, whilst wild animals should not be fed, touched, or approached. The reefs are home to a variety of wildlife, from dolphins and seals to seabirds. Visitors should be aware of the Species Specific Codes of Conduct relating to these species.
- Seabird Zones. Throughout the year a diversity of birds nest on the reef and many migrating species land to rest. Please keep any disturbance to a minimum and stay well clear of nesting sites. Access is excluded to traditional nesting sites during the nesting season (April to August). In all other areas, please keep noise and other disturbance to a minimum.
- Residents’ Privacy – huts and moorings. Huts are all privately owned. Please respect the privacy of the residents and their property. With the exception of one buoy marked ‘States’, all moorings are privately owned. They are laid and maintained with different size vessels in mind. If you use a private mooring you should move off it quickly and courteously as soon as the owner arrives. Moorings should not be used by more than one boat at a time except with the owner’s permission. If at anchor at Maîtresse Île, you are advised to keep an anchor watch for two hours each side of high water.
- Safety. Tidal currents are very strong around Les Minquiers. Care should be taken at all times when swimming, diving, landing and boarding – all should be avoided above half tide if possible. Please beware of the dangers of the rising tide and ensure you do not get cut off on an isolated rock. Divers should be equipped with visual and audible markers.
- Speed. Speed restrictions are set out in Jersey Harbours’ General Direction No. 2. Mariners are asked to show consideration when passing other boats within the mooring area. The limit of 5 knots applies within the designated area, but at all times slow speeds are recommended within the reef.
- Fishing. When fishing at Les Minquiers please adhere to all Jersey fishing regulations. These cover matters such as closed seasons, bag limits, minimum landing sizes, and gear restrictions. Details can be found at gov.je. Harbour Regulations also apply, for example not using floating rope to set pots in the approaches (Jersey Harbours’ General Direction No 8).
- Toilet Facilities. There is only one toilet facility on Les Minquiers which should preferably not be used during periods of neap tides because the odour is not carried away. If it is used, please refill the bucket available. Alternatively, choose a discreet location below the half tide mark. If you plan to stay for a while, you should bring appropriate equipment, or follow a ‘pack in pack out’ approach. If you are visiting on a private vessel, holding tanks should not be emptied whilst at the reef.
- Litter and Barbecues. No litter, including disposable barbecues, should be left behind. If a barbecue is removed whilst still hot, the area should be doused with cold water or covered with cold stones to safeguard people with bare feet.
- Dogs. Owing to Jersey’s rabies regulations no dogs from France may be landed on Les Minquiers. The taking of dogs from Jersey to the reef is discouraged to avoid any possible disturbance to wildlife. It should be noted that Jersey’s Policing of Beaches regulations, which cover matters such as keeping dogs on leads, are applicable also to the offshore reefs.
- Drones. Drone use is not permitted during the nesting season (April – August), as a result of the disturbance caused to wildlife. Outside of these months drone use is permitted; however, attention should be paid to migratory birds who may be using the area during the winter. Aviation legislation must be adhered to at all times, particularly in relation to proximity to privately owned property. Please read the Ports of Jersey ‘Drone Code’ prior to using a drone.