Save Our Shoreline Jersey see Jersey’s 45 mile shoreline as possibly the most critical element of our island. It enables our highly concentrated population to obtain release from being cooped up and, although we take it for granted, it is a prime resource for our feeling of well being. With the many recreational possibilities that it also offers, it contributes to our good health and the education of our children. It is a truly short and finite resource which, in earlier days, with a smaller population, could more easily be developed in a way acceptable to fellow islanders. Today, with a much increased population and and very little left to be developed, every metre assumes a huge importance and impacts the many competing interests of the much enlarged community.
On the south east coast, the amazing inter-tidal abundance of species and variety has been internationally recognised as Ramsar Area, a ‘Wetland Area of International Importance’. SOSJ a a member of the Ramsar Management Authority, made up of stakeholders of all types. Sadly this authority has not been operating within the ethos of the Ramsar Bureau, has been neglected by the Environment Department, and stakeholders have walked away. It is a situation that badly needs addressing.
The natural beauty of its skyline and the fauna and flora attracts tourists and contributes a large part of our income and its surrounding waters teem with all species of fish and shellfish providing the local restaurant trade with an enviable resource. On a low spring tide, the area of the island doubles in size, mostly on the south and east, and this resource is available to all. However, our shoreline is constantly under attack from all quarters as money, materialistic greed and ignorance become increasingly prominent. Our system of government with its individual ministries and scrutiny panels is ill designed to cope with such attacks.
There is a lack of a cohesive and holistic approach to them which is exacerbated by the fact that there is also very limited communication between the various parties involved and certain departments exercise overwhelming power over others. Despite its importance there is no single governmental body overseeing ‘the Shoreline’ as such. SOSJ is a non governmental organisation NGO which is able to stand apart from all the above and try to bring together all the various players on a level playing field. In order to do this it encounters considerable opposition from vested interests in obtaining ‘inconvenient’ factual evidence. Above all, it is not bound by the practice of the Public Service Departments’ code whereby employees risk their jobs by expressing their own opinions.
Furthermore, it is able to raise issues on behalf of the public which the public might not otherwise be able to do due to the unwillingness of their local representative or their ability to communicate them to a wider audience. SOSJ comprises a team of experienced volunteers and supporters from all walks of professional and academic life and business on which it is able to draw. If necessary, it is thus able to challenge the public services dictums with authority and debunk those political ‘experts’ who, despite having excellent parish ‘know how’, have little experience at the sharp end in the ‘real’ world.
Attributes: unique shoreline – finite resources – outstanding beauty – great variety – spiritual release – mental health nature reserve – flora and fauna – species preservation – conservation – recreation – angling – sport – physical health – education – tourism – fishing industry – aquaculture – attractive workplace.