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Anglesey Sea Zoo expert welcomes jet ski regulations after seeing impact on sealife

NEW maritime laws to help tackle the ‘dangerous misuse’ of jet skis off the UK coast have been welcomed by an Anglesey sea life expert.

Owner and director of the Anglesey Sea Zoo Frankie Hobro has seen first hand the impact jet skis have on wildlife, including sea bird colonies, seal rookeries and pods of dolphins and porpoises.

The new legislation, which comes into force on March 31, will give the Maritime and Coastguard Agency more powers to prosecute.

Anyone caught riding a jet ski recklessly or causing harm could face up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Frankie Hobro says she is pleased that the legislation is coming but is calling for more stringent measures – including a licensing and training scheme, similar to motorcycles and creating designated areas of the ocean for jet ski use.

“Whilst out doing marine surveys and out walking the Anglesey coastline I have witnessed first hand what jet jet skis can do.

“I have sat on the shore watching porpoises and dolphins, happily doing their thing, calm, relaxed, happy, then suddenly totally freak out and disappear.

“They are terrified by the noise, they can hear the vibrations under the water long before you see the jet skis coming, but they know.

“They definitely have a negative impact, through the noise disruption of their habitat.

“I have seen whole colonies of sea birds hurtling off into the sky,

“Some jet skiers have been known to get too close to seal hauls, the area where they hang out in groups, on rocks out at sea,

“Seals can sometimes be quite hard to spot from a distance, they often lay in groups but very still.

“The jet skis either deliberately or accidentally can go up too close to the rookeries.

“The frightened seals freak out and jump back in the water, and these are big animals.

“There also risks to the jet ski users, a lot can happen to people out at sea, and it is not always easy to get help to where they can find themselves.”

Echoing the views of Arfon MP Hywel Williams, who has campaigned over jetskis and introduced a Bill in Parliament in 2020 seeking to regulate their use by bringing in a UK-wide licensing system,” she added:

“I agree with what Hywel Williams the MP says. I am glad that these new laws are being brought in, but I think we need more regulation.

“Like motorcycles, I think there should be some sort of training, a test or a license that jetskiers should before they go out on the sea.

“As it stands, anyone can get on a powerful jet ski and just go, that’s like letting anyone get on a motorbike and just go.

“I also think they should bring in designated, contained recreational areas of the sea, or areas where jet skiers can go.”