Cardigan Bay was first selected to become an SAC because it hosts one of only two semi-resident populations of bottlenose dolphins in UK waters. The aim of the Management Scheme, which has been in place since 2001, has been to manage activities taking place within and near the SAC in order to protect the dolphins and their habitat from any adverse effects that human activities may have on them.
Since the first Scheme was established, 6 features have been added for protection by the SAC. The Scheme has therefore been reviewed to take into account all 7 features as well as to ensure that information within the Scheme is still up to date and that the site management will continue to achieve its objectives.
Some of the achievements so far
Whilst it would be impossible to summarise all the work that has been done since the site was selected as an SAC, the following are some of the achievements that have been attained through the SAC Management Scheme:
- Establishment of the Relevant Authorities Group and liaison structure.
- Establishment of the Management Scheme Document and implementation of 83% of the actions in the Management Scheme within the first two years.
- Collation of a bottlenose dolphin information database.
- Inclusion of the intertidal area into the SAC.
- Research into potential bottlenose dolphin prey and PCB pollution.
- Development and implementation of an Education and Interpretation Strategy (SAC website, Tir a Môr newsletter and SAC roadshow).
- Development, awareness raising and monitoring of the Ceredigion Code of Conduct for Recreational Boat Users and Commercial Boat Trip Operators.
- Opening of the Cardigan Bay Boat Place. Amendment of the MOD Range Standing Orders to minimise potential impact to marine mammals prior to a weapon firing trial.
- Improvement of sewage treatment works discharging within and adjacent to the SAC (by DCWW).
- Introduction of a new bylaw and the Welsh Scalloping Order 2005 to reduce and improve management of inshore scallop dredging
- Development by the Environment Agency of a metal mining strategy.