Size: 23.57 hectares

% of SSSI's on tenancy: 5.80%

Designated features: Common Tern, Manx shearwater, Puffin, Storm Petrel

General Description

Rising no higher than 18m above sea level and heavily affected by the wind, the sea and salt spray Annet SSSI lies 1km west of St Agnes and boasts the largest (6000 pairs) and most diverse number (10 species) of breeding seabirds throughout the archipelago.  The island is closed year-round to people to permit the nationally important number of seabirds to breed successfully. 

The island is notified for several species including; Storm Petrel, Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed Gulls, Puffin, Razorbill, Fulmar and the archipelagos largest colony of Manx shearwater.  The north of the island during May is spectacular as the hummock-forming Thrift provides continuous colour and cover and is thought to represent the best developed example in the British Isles.  The island is also noted for the nationally rare Shore Dock, found in freshwater gullies on the shingle beaches and the lichen Rocella fuciformis found on the exposed granite carns.  The island also supports a large colony of Atlantic Grey Seals, which can be seen throughout the year, but mostly during August to February when the females are pupping.  The island now also boasts its second mammal with recent records of Lesser White-toothed (Scilly) Shrew being recorded. 

Practical Management

Management is classed as minimal intervention.  Long-term annual seabird monitoring takes place to record the numbers of breeding birds on the island, to help provide data for seabird numbers nationally, along with productivity counts for some species of gull.  This requires only 2-3 visits a year, for one day at a time to keep disturbance to a minimum.  Future plans for the island could include creating new breeding habitat for Common Terns, to encourage successful breeding of a species that continues to decline locally.  Management would take place during the winter and we’d take the opportunity to remove any marine debris, particularly marine plastics at a time when there are no breeding birds and disturbance to seals is minimal.