The RSPB is calling for better protection for the thousands of seabirds that breed on the Cumbria coast.
Every year, almost 10,000 seabirds nest on the cliffs at St Bees Head including guillemots, razorbills, puffins and England's only nesting black guillemots. When these birds are on land they enjoy special legal protection. But as soon they go out to sea to find food they have no such protection and are at risk from fishing nets and disturbance from recreational boats.
Recently, the Government designated the stretch of sea from Whitehaven down to the mouth of the Ravenglass Estuary as the Cumbria Coast Marine Conservation Zone, which will form part of a network of protected areas around England's seas. The site protects rare underwater habitats and fascinating creatures including the blue mussel and honeycomb worm reef.
However, Seabirds are not covered by the new legislation. Furthermore, the area that is protected around St Bees Head, only goes out around one km from the coast so the Zone also needs to be extended to make sure these birds are protected while they are at sea.
Calum Booth, RSPB Marine Conservation Officer, for North West England, said: "As the only breeding site in England for black guillemot, it's essential that we maintain a strong foothold for this species at St Bees Head.
"Thérèse Coffey, Minister for Environment will soon be finalising the details of this Marine Conservation Zone so we are lobbying for it to be extended and for black guillemots and the other important breeding seabirds to be added a feature. This means that protection and management for this wildlife can be put into place.
"We need people to show they care about the future of Cumbria's seabird colony by writing to their MP and getting them to tell the Minister why these birds need to be protected."
You can find your MP and the various ways to contact them via the Write to Them website. Also, all MPs can be reached by writing to them at House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
Last Updated: Tuesday 28 August 2018