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Enjoy our fantastic marine wildlife – but give marine animals some space! 1 June 2006

We have some fantastic marine wildlife to enjoy around the Isle of Man. Marine animals need some space to thrive. Give them space, and the rich marine environment will be a source of pleasure in the future, too.

Disturbance of marine animals can be just as harmful as direct injury, particularly during their breeding season. Because it is difficult to know exactly what activities disturb marine life, the best advice is to keep your distance and to avoid approaching marine wildlife.

Codes of Conduct are available to give guidance to vessel operators. New boat or jetski owners who would like more information about how to avoid disturbing marine life and damaging the marine environment can contact the Wildlife and Conservation Division (telephone 842335) for an information sheet.

It is becoming all the more important to protect marine life from unintentional harm. The seas are getting busier, and there are more people using coastal waters for work and pleasure.

The majority of experienced motor vessel owners have great respect for marine life and knowledge of the behaviour of basking sharks, seals and other marine animals built up over years at sea.

Disturbing any wildlife disrupts their breeding and rearing their young. It can also stop the animals feeding and generally reduce their chances of thriving.

Marine wildlife around the Isle of Man is protected by law under the Wildlife Act 1990. It is an offence to disturb seals, basking sharks and all species of whales, dolphins and porpoises, and turtles.

If you witness an incident of injury or disturbance of marine wildlife, record as much information as possible (including photographs) and report it to the Police (telephone 631212, or CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111) and to the Wildlife and Conservation Division (telephone 842335).

For more information on marine wildlife, the Wildlife Act or on how to report marine life encountered, please contact Fiona Gell, Marine Conservation Officer on 842335.

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