Jet-skiers could face prosecution for endangering wildlife under new proposals after Springwatch presenter warns that birds and sealife are scared by the machines
- BBC nature presenter Iolo Williams says jet-skiers are scaring birds and sealife
- He said some jet-skiers ride their machines right at flocks to watch them scatter
- He ‘watched five jet-skiers tear through’ auks, guillemots and razorbills in water
Jet-skiers could be prosecuted for endangering wildlife under laws being looked at by the Department for Transport.
Legislation is being reviewed after a BBC nature presenter said they are scaring birds and sealife – and there is little police can do because jet-skis have no registration plates to identify them.
Iolo Williams, who presents Springwatch, said some jet-skiers ride their machines right at flocks to watch them scatter – and even kill them.
Williams said that while filming near Anglesey last week he ‘watched five jet-skiers tear through’ auks, guillemots and razorbills on the water. He had witnessed a similar incident at a reserve in North Wales and added that cases were ‘commonplace right around the coast’.
Iolo Williams, who presents Springwatch, said some jet-skiers ride their machines right at flocks to watch them scatter – and even kill them
The Department for Transport said that it ‘intends to consult on new national legislation to further strengthen existing enforcement powers and ensure that, where wilful or negligent misuse occurs, riders can be prosecuted’.
Mr Williams said: ‘The worst thing is the birds start nesting from mid April to mid July. We’ve got birds on the water, adult birds who have been fishing, they’ll hang around on the water, preening and cleaning their feathers. Disturbance is the worst thing that can happen for them.
‘It’s doubly bad because we’ve got young birds on the water and they are able to get away from jet skis. I don’t know if any were killed today, I would not be surprised if they were.’
Williams said that while filming near Anglesey last week he ‘watched five jet-skiers tear through’ auks, guillemots and razorbills on the water. A stock image is used above [File photo]
Mr Williams said that he had contacted the police about the incidents but said ‘the police have got their hands tied.’
‘They can only interfere if someone witnesses a bird being killed. If it’s wilful disturbance, they might have a word, but the problem is without some kind recognisable number on the jet ski, you just’ don’t know who they are.’
He added that areas where wildlife such as whales, dolphins and important areas for seabirds should be made ‘out of bounds’ for the jetski racers.
‘If you have a powerful motorbike, you have to pass a test. You can jump on a jet ski with no instruction whatsoever and there are some real idiots out there this year.
‘I’ve witnessed at least half a dozen incidents in the past two weeks.’
He added: ‘They are doing it because they think it’s fun.’
‘It’s one of these things that’s happening this year as a lot of people would be out on the Greek, Spanish or Portuguese coasts.
‘A lot of them have stayed at home and we are seeing their bad behaviour.’