In continuing her activities to mark Wales Climate Week 2021, the Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy and Wales Environment Link Harbour Porpoise Species Champion – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has urged the Welsh Government to review what mapping and data collection is required to evaluate the impact of our society on the species.
In a Written Question, Mrs Finch-Saunders asked:
“Will the Minister outline what steps the Welsh Government has taken to review what further mapping is required to evaluate the impact of human activities on harbour porpoises?
The harbour porpoise can be spotted close to shore in shallow water. They are warm-blooded mammals, and their small size means they must feed often to maintain their body temperature in cold British seas. According to the Wildlife Trusts, they feed on fish, including herring and whiting.
Underlining the need for a plan to support the species, Janet said:
“As I continue my tenure as the harbour porpoise champion in the Welsh Parliament, I am clear that I wish to see a proactive plan of action introduced to lessen or remove the threats posed to these tranquil creatures by sea pollution, boat collisions, underwater man-made noise, and accidental capture in fishing nets.
“Whilst I recognise that a number of post-mortems are carried out by the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme which provides the Welsh Government with some data, the present Strategic Resource Area mapping work being undertaken is a perfect opportunity to further review the impact of human activities on the harbour porpoise.
“A combination of sustainable fisheries management, proper enforcement of Marine Protected Areas, and effective marine planning will ensure that the natural environment and food sources that harbour porpoises rely on for survival are protected and allowed to thrive.”
Earlier this year, Janet signed the MCS UK pledge to protect Welsh seas and has proposed a Marine Planning (Wales) Bill. Likewise, as the Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Janet has been calling on the Welsh Government to prioritise well managed seas as a means of boosting the ‘blue economy.’
Photo: Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS