Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation
The protected area supports a large variety of marine animals and plants, from reef-building worms to bottlenose dolphins—Europe’s largest population of the latter, there being few places where they are more easily seen in the wild.
There are seven features for whose conservation the area has been designated:
- Bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus
- Atlantic grey seals, Halichoerus grypus
- River lampreys, Lampetra fluviatilis
- Sea lampreys, Petromyzon marinus
- Sandbanks (slightly covered by seawater at all times)
- Sea caves (submerged or partially submerged)
"Cardigan Bay’s Big Three" include bottlenose dolphins, Harbor porpoises and Atlantic grey seals. Other mammals, such as Minke whales, Risso's dolphins and Common dolphins, many species of sea birds such as Puffin, and sharks can be seen as well. Seasonal or rarer megafaunas visiting the area include Humpback whales, Fin whales, Sperm whales, Pygmy sperm whales, Northern bottlenose whales, Sowerby's beaked whales, Killer whales, Long-finned pilot whales, Thresher sharks, Basking sharks, and Sunfish. The Leatherback turtle, a very rare, critically endangered species are also known to visit the bay.
Management of the SAC is directed through the Relevant Authorities Group (RAG), coordinated by a SAC Officer. The aim of the SAC is to maintain its rich and varied marine life (biodiversity) in at least as good a condition as when the site was first designated – ideally to bring it into ‘Favourable Conservation Status’.:pp.45–48 Special attention is paid to ensuring that human activities carried out in the area are done so sustainably.:p.147
- Special Area of Conservation for definition and assessment methodology
- Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) at Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)
- Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Management Scheme compiled by the Relevant Authorities Group for Cardigan Bay SAC, 2008
- Evans, P. G. H., Anderwald, P. & Baines, M. (2003) UK Cetacean Status Review. Report to English Nature & Countryside Council for Wales, 160pp.
- Louise Tickle Dolphins bully porpoises, researcher discovers, The Guardian, 11 May 2010. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
- Cardigan Bay/ Bae Ceredigion at Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).
- The first recorded sighting was in 2005.
- Cardigan Bay SAC Homepage
- Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre
- Species records at National Biodiversity Network Gateway