Fishing boat operating close to Dunnet Head RSPB reserve, Caithness, near Thurso, Scotland

Positive net results for seabirds

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Albatross Task Force (ATF). Euan Dunn, Principal Policy Officer – Marine, reports on the work we’re doing for seabirds closer to home.

New proposal benefits seabirds

It’s a little-known fact that fishing gear inflicts heavy losses on seabirds in Europe, with at least 200,000 seabirds caught and drowned annually, from familiar species like guillemots and razorbills to the highly endangered Balearic shearwater.

Until recently this had been a blind spot for the European Commission. Now, however, this guidance has been given new legislative teeth. 

Under the Commission’s new proposal, influenced by advocacy from the RSPB and BirdLife International, fishing boats will have to ensure that bycatches of seabirds are "minimised and where possible eliminated such that they do not represent a threat to the conservation status of these species".

Sealife guardians

Grey seals pup and adult female lie on the beach together, Blakeney Point

All around the coast of the UK, seabirds and other wonderful marine wildlife are in danger. But unlike on land, there are very few protected areas at sea.

Albatross Task Force

The Albatross Task Force – an international team of seabird bycatch mitigation experts led by the RSPB and BirdLife International – is on a mission to reduce seabird bycatch by 80% in some of the deadliest fisheries for albatrosses.