Attwood launches Rathlin Island European Marine Site Management Scheme

3 06 2013

Knocklayde from Rathlin

Rathlin Island and its seas support important nature conservation features including reefs, sea-caves and vegetated sea cliffs, as well as razorbills, common guillemots and harbour seals. These features are of such international importance that Rathlin is now part of a Europe-wide network of protected sites.

The Management Scheme, which was prepared by the Department of the Environment in close collaboration with the Rathlin Development and Community Association, will deliver enhanced protection of the seas around Rathlin by identifying how activities such as dropping mooring anchors on sensitive areas of the seabed could effect protected features and how these impacts could be minimised.

By protecting the island’s natural and important features including its wildlife, the Scheme will contribute to the sustainability of the local economy, as it is these features along with the Islanders themselves that make Rathlin such a vibrant location of both national and international importance. The environment and the people together are an intrinsic part of the island’s heritage.

The Minister said: “This scheme, which has been developed with and by the people from Rathlin, who will also play a pivotal role in its implementation, will protect the Island’s wonderful natural features, both on and offshore, and will also contribute to the sustainability of the local economy.”

He continued by saying that: “Tourism and fishing form an important part of the island’s economy and both depend on a healthy marine environment. I am confident that the Scheme will protect the island’s environment and enhance its economic well being.

“Rathlin and its waters are a great resource. The Marine scheme gives expression to that. Coming in the wake of the passage of the Northern Ireland Assembly Marine Bill only last week, it demonstrates the importance of our marine, it’s protection and positive development.”



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