Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, taking off from water, Farne Islands, Northumberland

Homes for Sealife appeal

  • 600,000 Number of seabirds the UK lost between 2000-2008
  • 80% Decline in the number of Arctic skuas in Scotland
  • 51 Number of new homes for sealife we want to create

Our seas are in deep trouble.

Seabirds sit at the top of a marine food chain that is under serious pressure. Due to a lethal combination of climate change, poorly sited offshore development and damaging fishing practices, many are starving and failing to raise young because they simply cannot find enough food in the sea. 

That's why we're asking for your help today to raise £400,000 for our Homes for Sealife appeal. 

Between 2000 and 2008 alone, the UK lost around 600,000 seabirds - 9 per cent of our entire breeding population.

In Scotland, almost half of breeding seabirds have been lost since the 1980s, including 80 per cent of Arctic skuas and nearly 70 per cent of kittiwakes.

Over the last decade, RSPB supporters have helped us campaign for Marine Protected Areas to be created around the UK. Their determination and generosity has paid off. A partially complete network of Marine Protected Areas now exists - protecting some of the marine life that lies within their borders. But the task is far from finished. 

With seabirds and other sealife facing threats in many areas around the UK, the next two years are key. Governments around the UK will consider creating 51 new Marine Protected Areas - from the seas off Foula in the Shetland Isles, to Land's End in Cornwall. 

They're all places that have been identified, through research by the RSPB and other organisations, as important for the survival and protection of threatened species. 

Kittiwakes

The work we'll be doing

It's not just the number of Marine Protected Areas that matters. Too often governments don't include all species that need safeguarding, leaving seabirds, seals, dolphins and other sealife at risk. 

Your donation will help fund the science that helps us identify and make the case for new Marine Protected Areas. And you can help us monitor how effective the existing sites are. Your donation can help us form government policy and develop a strong, fully-functioning network of sites around our shores that could help ensure a future for our marine life. 

We've already helped to protect the seas off Bempton Cliffs in East Yorkshire. Bempton is a great place to see smaller seabirds like puffins, kittiwakes and razorbills, and larger species such as the spectacular gannet. 

By tracking gannets with lightweight satellite devices, our scientists have discovered they forage much further out to see than the current protected area close to shore. 

Your support will help us present scientific evidence like this to the Government, to make sure the needs of gannets and the rest of Bempton's rich seabird community are taken into account.

Only by creating a 'blue belt' of protected areas can we give our UK marine life the protection, space and time it desperately needs to thrive again.

In the long term, our hope is to create an even bigger and better network of protected areas at sea, so that UK sealife enjoys the same protection that our wildlife does on land. 

That's another reason why your donation is so important today - you'll be helping to bring us closer to a network of sites that could give our seas the protection they deserve. 

Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve

Why we need your help

£10

could help towards surveying and monitoring sealife.

£20

could help towards securing scientific evidence to protect sealife. One satellite tag typically costs £3000.

£25

could help towards influencing government policy and the development of a network of protected marine sites around the UK.