Residents along Minerstown Beach have expressed delight at the news that Down District Council is proposing beach bye-laws to protect local wildlife in the area during the breeding season.
Local Minerstown resident Philip Nye said “all the beach-nesting birds were wiped out this year by a small number of people on Quads during the nesting season repeatedly running over the nesting area. We have many miles of coastline, but this small area is really one of our few wildlife gems in Down District.”
Jonathan Bradshaw whose house overlooks the beach said “It is frustrating and upsetting to watch a small number of people on jet-skis disturb new-born seal pups and not being able to do anything about it.”.
Green Party Councillor congratulated local people on the success of their campaign and complemented Down District council director Martyn Todd and chief executive John McGrillan on the proposal, which will be put out for consultation in the coming weeks.
Cllr Enright said “A scientist has told us that this was the first year in which deaths and rescues of seals exceeded observed births at Minerstown. The seal colony is much beloved by local people who have found the deaths of so many seals deeply upsetting. One rescued seal was later released and died after an impact with a Jet-ski.”
Cadogan Enright said “I have a large number of photographs of seals killed by 4×4’s, jet skis of other human interference on my web-site at http://enright.ie/press-releases/minerstown-beach-by-laws-slideshow . Some were so gruesome that I have decided not to publish them – but have them in the office for purposes of legitimate enquiry”.
“Tourism is going to be increasingly important going forward in Down District and we need to protect our best assets for the future. Previous proposals from the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency (EHS) in 2001 to protect birds and seals at Minerstown came to nothing – it is to be hoped that this campaign by local people with the support of council management can bring a modicum of protection to the beach during the breeding season.” concluded councillor Enright.