Portelet No Take Zone
Posted on 25th Nov 2022 by Patrick Cahill
In April 2022 a strong majority vote in the States assembly has seen Portelet bay designated as a No Take Zone. The initiative aims to increase biodiversity which, in turn, will improve resilience to climate change and protect the long-term interests of Jersey fishers. The initiative was championed by Deputy John Young and Deputy Gregory Guida.
Bass, brown crab, whelks, and lobster populations in Jersey are in decline. A multi-agency collaboration led by the Société Jersiaise aims to turn the tide on this biodiversity loss.
A No Take Zone (NTZ) is a type of Highly Protected Marine Area where no fishing or extractive activity, whether commercial or recreational, can take place and prevents the removal of any marine plant or animal.
A similarly small NTZ in Lamlash bay on the Isle of Arran in Scotland, has seen biodiversity increase substantially over time, along with the size, age and density of commercially important species such as the king scallop and the European lobster. Lobster populations in Lamlash have quadrupled since 2008. Research around the world has found that marine animals and plants from highly protected areas, such as NTZs, spill over and enrich the surrounding areas. Research will show if there is spill over from the Portelet NTZ that will then benefit Jersey fishers.
The Portelet No Take Zone area is indicated by the red hatching on the arial photograph above.
‘The objective of having a NTZ in Portelet is to create a natural laboratory that can be used by universities, schools, community groups, visiting researchers and local organisations. It is hoped that the NTZ will facilitate a measurable change in the environmental and ecological health of the bay’.
NTZs can also be used as ‘control sites’; data from the NTZ can be compared to similar but unprotected areas, showing how our marine environment is responding to climate change.
Dr Tim Langlois, originally from Jersey, who leads protected area research in Australia states:
‘These marine sanctuaries are a window into our past and a vision for the future, they bring us closer to nature so we can understand how to protect it’.
There are many opportunities for the public to support the initiative directly. Jersey Seasearch, which provides survey training for snorkellers and divers, is part of the collaboration. The Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies is also providing research support through its Masters programme. Blue Marine Foundation is developing a snorkel trail within the bay, which includes an education initiative with local schools and will also be supporting research and monitoring within the NTZ. Citizen science and Marine Resources surveys will build on work begun in the 1980s and help to evidence any changes.