From States of Guernsey
Guernsey’s Environment Department is pleased to announce that Herm, Jethou and The Humps have been formally designated as a Ramsar site under The Convention on Wetlands. The announcement coincides with the run up to World Wetlands Day (2nd February) which is marked each year to promote the importance of wetlands not only for wildlife but for local economies as well.
Minister for the Environment Department, Deputy Yvonne Burford said “Herm has always been a favourite place for residents and visitors alike and I am delighted that the island’s treasure trove of wildlife and flora has been recognised at an international level”.
The management of Herm Island said “We are really pleased that Ramsar designation has been achieved for such a beautiful area and would like to thank everyone who has contributed to making it possible”
Jessi Jennings from the Marine Section of La Société Guernesiaise said: “What a great opportunity for community involvement! This project has also highlighted the necessity of better understanding the environment around us, and the importance of data collection and contribution. I look forward to seeing how the management of this Ramsar site progresses.”
Anthony Ford Parker, owner of Outdoor Guernsey said: “It is great to see this wonderful place recognised. One of the best ways to help preserve a special place is to understand more about it and show others how important it is. We are looking forward to having a role to play in educating visitors to the area and helping promote Herm as special place in the world.
A set of stamps to mark the designation has been commissioned by Guernsey Post using artwork being prepared by artist Wendy Bramall and which reflects the wildlife, history and use of the site. The stamps are due for issue later this year on 27th July and the issue will complete the set of Ramsar stamps which have already been done for Guernsey, Alderney and Sark.
It is hoped to hold a reception in Herm in July to officially celebrate designation. The help and support of Defra, Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the RSPB (in particular their Project Manager, Paul Fisher), in achieving designation is gratefully acknowledged.
What is Ramsar Designation?
Designating a site as a “Ramsar site” gives international recognition of the special environmental, cultural and heritage characteristics of a particular area. In particular designation lays the foundation to develop a management plan, in full consultation with those who manage, live and use the area, to ensure the conservation of key species & habitats.
Ramsar designation has as its core principles the wise and sustainable use of the resources of a given site through the development and implementation of the management plan.
Why Designate Herm?
The recognition and management of ecologically important areas such as Herm is consistent with the aims and aspirations of Guernsey’s Biodiversity Strategy which was recently adopted by the States of Guernsey at its December meeting.
The various marine and land habitats on and around Herm support a rich diversity of flora and fauna including important breeding areas for sea bird species such as lesser black-backed gull, puffin and shag. In addition, Herm Common has an excellent cultural heritage, with numerous archaeological remains.
Whilst Ramsar status does not confer any legislative protection, recognition of an area contributes to the long-term conservation and wise use of an area. This recognition can provide a positive focal point for new education, tourism and environmental initiatives. Evidence of this is provided by Alderney which has promoted their Ramsar site heavily using ideas such as “Puffincam” and “Gannetcam” (see cameras site here) and has led to the development of the Living Islands initiative.