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Swale SPA

Qualifying features

Table 1. Qualifying features of Swale SPA

Table 2. Supporting habitats of Swale SPA

Site overview
Located in north Kent, the Swale SPA covers an area of 65.15 km2. The river Swale forms a single tidal system with the river Medway, and separates the Isle of Sheppy from the Kent mainland. There is a wide range of intertidal habitats on this site which provide important feeding and roosting areas for birds, including floodplain grazing marsh, intertidal saltmarsh and intertidal mud-flats. In addition, eel grass beds and mussel beds are also found on site. This site is of importance to bird species year round, with marsh Harriers and breeding waders using it in summer, and migrating geese, ducks and waders present from autumn to spring.

Conservation objectives
Ensure that the integrity of the site is maintained or restored as appropriate, and ensure that the site contributes to achieving the aims of the Wild Birds Directive, by maintaining or restoring; 

- The extent and distribution of the habitats of the qualifying features

- The structure and function of the habitats of the qualifying features

- The supporting processes on which the habitats of the qualifying features rely 

- The population of each of the qualifying features, and, 

- The distribution of the qualifying features within the site.

Site uses
Fishing within the Swale SPA is varied. Beam, otter and pelagic trawling occurs occasionally within the site, as does drift netting for bass. There is some intertidal handwork gathering native oysters as well as bait digging along the shore. There is a private fishery within the site, with Faversham Oyster Company responsible for managing the dredging activities in the site.

KEIFCA's role
KEIFCA is responsible for assessing the effects of commercial fishing within this site and must implement appropriate conservation measures to avoid damage to EMS by fisheries activities. In addition to assessing the site and creating management plans, KEIFCA is also responsible for the enforcement of fisheries bylaws and regulations within this site.