West Wales’ Blue Lagoon closed early to protect seals
National Trust Cymru has closed the popular west Wales attraction the Blue Lagoon to the public sooner than planned due to the early arrival of breeding Grey seals.
Each year the former slate quarry at Abereiddi, famed for previously hosting rounds of the Red Bull Cliff Diving series, closes to the public from late September to November.
Recent years have seen increasing numbers of the Grey seal population breeding in and around the lagoon.
This combined with the Blue Lagoon’s high visitor numbers and its sheltered nature, which makes it so attractive to seals, creates a situation where there is a high potential for disturbance to seals.
The time seals spend resting on land is vital to their health and that of their pups as they are digesting a recent meal, socialising, and feeding their young.
In order to provide them with a safe environment to raise their pups, National Trust Cymru has closed the Blue Lagoon to visitors through to 5 November.
Re-opening is subject to seal breeding activity at that time.
“There are two species of seal that can be found in Britain; the Common seal and the Grey seal. Only Grey seals occur regularly in Pembrokeshire, where they are present all year around,” Mark Underhill, National Trust Cymru’s countryside manager for Pembrokeshire said.
“About half the world’s population of Grey Seal breed on our coastline and the total number in west Wales, mostly Pembrokeshire, is estimated to be about 5,000, with some 1,400 pups being born each year.
“The breeding season is vital for our seal colonies here in Pembrokeshire, and we ask that visitors do not access the Blue Lagoon and that they follow the guidelines laid out by the Seal Alliance and Pembrokeshire Marine Code when on the coastal path.”
Keep your distance
Activity providers who have signed up to the National Trust’s Coasteering Agreement and undertaken specific training on how to operate around seals, will still have access to the lagoon with groups of visitors who have booked in advance.
To avoid disturbing seals, National Trust Cymru recommends following the Pembrokeshire Marine Code: Stay quiet, keep your distance and at least 50m away from seals and never come between a seal and her pup, or a seal and the sea and don’t take dogs near a seal breeding area.
If a seal is spotted in distress or alone never approach the pup. Seals are often left alone on the beach and distress can be caused by contact with people.
To raise any concerns about seals or seal pups contact conservation group Welsh Marine Life Rescue 01646 692943 or 07970 285086.
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