Protecting Alderney's Wildlife

Fishing line tangled onto the tail and leg of a Northern GannetFishing line tangled onto the tail and leg of a Northern Gannet

As a Crown Dependency Alderney is responsible for its own Wildlife protection law and policy.



Alderney's wildlife and habitat protection is as of 2013 largely dependent on land use planning legislation and policy.   This designates a signifcant area of the island as 'Protected' or 'Conservation Areas' on the basis of cultural and environmental factors.  However, there is verly little legal protection for wildlife other than as a direct result of a development proposal.  

The Alderney Wildlife Trust (AWT) was formed in 2002 by concerned residents and with the support of the island's government, to help respond to this gap in nature protection. The AWT now manages land on behalf of the States of Alderney and private landowners, and responds to wildlife welfare and protection issues.  

Thanks to the care and support of the island's population the island is blessed with fewer environmental pressures than many other parts of the British Isles. However, the AWT still has to respond to numerous planning proposals, deal with dozens of wildlife emergencies and has to sit on the Environmental Emergency Response Group for the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

In response to the now increasing pressure on the island's natural environment, the AWT maintains several key objectives:

  • The creation of an Wildlife (Alderney) Law - such an act would cover the protection of both terrestrial and marine habitats and species.  
  • The creation of a Marine Protected Zone (MPZ) - to support the island's designation as a Ramsar site, with formal protection created with contributions from all commercial and recreational users.
  • The creation of a Red Data Book for Alderney - a list recognising the status of species and habitats within the island and priortising their care.

In 2012 the AWT, supported by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, started along the path towards these objectives by commisoning the drafting of the first Environmental Impact Assessment framework and policy on behalf of the Building Development and Control Committee of the States of Alderney.

Existing Legislation

Wild Birds (Alderney) Ordinance, 2005

Fishery Control Regulation, Enforcement of Community control measures and the enforcement of community satellite monitoring measures - Extended to Alderney EU 1999/45.

Sea Fish Licensing (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2012

Conventions & Agreements 

Bonn Convention - Guernsey code A.8 Extended to Alderney 1979.

Conservation of Afro-Eurasian Migratory water birds (part of Bonn) -

EC/GEN 1993/10. Alderney amended law 1995

Bonn Convention Agreement on Conservation of Bats in Europe

ASCOBANS - Agreement on the conservation of small cetaceans of the Baltic and North Sea - UN Agreement 60 Guernsey code C.33. Extended to Alderney 1999

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of Importance 

Environmental Impact Assessment in Transboundary Context - UN convention Extended to Alderney 2004.

Convention on Climate Change - Alderney 1992

Conservation of European wildlife - Agreed 20.04.93

CITES - Extended to Alderney 1997

Alderney's Protected Species

All birds, excepting those species listed in Annex 1. - Wild birds (Alderney) Ordinance, 2005


Puffin Friendly Zone
(Français ci-dessous)

Following observations of a decline in Burhou’s puffin population and concerns of disturbance impacting breeding success, The Alderney Wildlife Trust (AWT), in collaboration with the States of Alderney, the Alderney Marine Management Forum, Alderney Harbour Office and local fishermen, designated a “Puffin Friendly Zone” in 2018. This zone, which is in place during the puffin breeding season every year, aims to provide the puffins with a safe area to rest, undisturbed by visiting or passing boats. Puffins are easily disturbed when rafting on the water, leading them to take flight which uses up vital energy reserves and interrupts feeding and parenting habits. This sort of disturbance can have a significant impact on breeding success.

We kindly ask all mariners to help protect puffins by following the associated code of conduct (below) when near Burhou. Anyone can help by raising awareness of the Puffin Friendly Zone and helping to police it by informing the Alderney Harbour Office or the AWT if they see marine users within the zone.

The AWT, working on behalf of the States of Alderney, monitors the puffins as part of the management of the Alderney West Coast and Burhou Islands Ramsar Site. The Puffin Friendly Zone represents a practical conservation response to the information gathered via monitoring, recording a decline in the puffin population on Burhou between 2012 and 2017, with recent signs suggesting numbers may be beginning to stabilise, highlighting the importance of the Puffin Friendly Zone.

Atlantic puffins are currently listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an endangered species in Europe, with rapid population declines likely due to threats including human disturbance, climate change, renewable energy production, pollution and shifting species distributions. Such threats, compounded with the species low breeding rates (1 chick per pair per year), makes puffins very sensitive species.

La « zone de refuge pour les macareux »

La « zone de refuge pour les macareux » est située au large de Burhou (un îlot situé à environ 23 km de la côte normande). Pendant la saison de reproduction du macareux moine, de mars à août, il est recommandé aux utilisateurs de la mer de ne pas entrer dans la zone protégée et de réduire au maximum la vitesse et le bruit lorsqu'ils se trouvent à proximité de Burhou.