Scotland's seabirds need help
4 November 2013
Scotland's seabirds are in trouble.
Lack of food, climate change and poorly planned marine developments have led to a series of poor breeding seasons, decimating populations in many parts of the country.
In some areas of Orkney, kittiwakes have decreased by as much as 91 per cent, and scientists predict regional extinctions are possible within a decade.
Overall the picture is not good; a recent report from Scottish Natural Heritage told us that we have lost nearly half of Scotland's seabirds since 1986.
However, there is something that can be done to help stop these terrible declines. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are similar to the protected areas we have on land. They could help seabirds by offering them safe places at sea to feed, giving them strength to raise young and survive for another year.
Unfortunately, MPAs have been proposed for only one of Scotland's 24 iconic seabird species. This leaves puffins, kittiwakes, terns and the rest of Scotland's dwindling seabird populations with no protected areas at sea.
The Scottish Government must do three things to make their proposals work for seabirds in Scotland:
- Designate all the proposed MPAs but also add seabirds to the list of species to be protected
- The Firth of Forth Banks Complex proposed MPA must have sandeels added to the list of species to be protected
- All proposed MPAs for black guillemot must be protected.
The consultation is finished and the Government must now decide whether or not to protect Scotland’s iconic seabirds.