Wonderful Welsh Seas
Take a look at what makes Welsh seas so special
Surrounded on three sides, Wales has a staggering 870 miles of coastline for you to explore, including more than ten islands. Habitats off the coast of Wales are unique and range from sandy bottoms to seagrass meadows and colourful rocky reefs. With three important currents, meeting offshore and creating food and warmth for a wealth of wildlife, Wales is home to a special underwater world. It is no surprise that wherever you choose to visit, there is always something amazing to see.
The world’s second largest fish, the ten-metre long basking shark, can be spotted feeding on plankton in Welsh waters during the summer months. The first thing you’ll see is their enormous dorsal fin poking out of the water.
Over two-thirds of inshore waters are in some form of protection for the unique wildlife Welsh seas support. They support some of the best examples in Europe of rocky reefs, sea caves and estuarine habitats and marine mammals such as harbour porpoise and grey seals.
Cardigan Bay off the coasts of mid Wale is one of the best places in the UK to see bottlenose dolphin breaking the waves.
There are up to 30 species of shark found in UK waters, ranging from dogfish(pictured above) to porbeagles, but they pose little threat to humans. Some species you might be lucky enough to encounter include the blue shark and the thresher shark.
One of the largest turtles ever recorded was found washed up at Harlech beach, North Wales in 1988 and weighed over 2,000 lbs!
Turtles often explore Welsh shores, feeding on jellyfish and there have been records of kemp’s ridleys, loggerhead, hawksbill and leatherbacks washing up on beaches around Wales.
There are five main species of jellyfish that regularly visit the Welsh coast: barrel, lion’s mane, moon, compass (pictured above) and blue jellyfish. Occasionally there have even been sightings of the deadly Portuguese-man-o-war.
Did you know?
Over 60% of the population of Wales either lives or works on the coast, and coastal tourism contributed more than £602 million to the Welsh economy in 2013.