Biosecurity for LIFE is set up to safeguard the UK’s internationally-important seabird islands. It is well documented that invasive non-native mammalian predators can have serious detrimental impacts on seabird colonies on islands through the predation of eggs, chicks and adult birds.
Whilst mammalian predators are found on the UK mainland, they are not native to most of our offshore islands, making them special havens for breeding seabirds. Preventing these mammals being accidentally introduced to our seabird islands is critical for the protection of our seabird populations, which face multiple pressures at sea where they spend much of their lives.
In 2016, we carried out an audit of the biosecurity measures in place on each of the UKs 41 seabird island special protection areas (SPAs). The results showed that many of our most important seabird islands have no protection against the threat of invasion by non-native mammalian predators.
The Biosecurity for LIFE project will work with communities, businesses, government agencies and conservation NGOs to raise the level of biosecurity protection across all our 41 seabird island SPAs. By working together, we can minimise the likelihood of non-native mammalian predators establishing on these special islands and avoid having to carry out expensive eradication operations.
To help, there are six easy steps you can take when visiting any island:
1. Pack any food on the day you travel.
2. Store food in rodent-proof containers.
3. Check your baggage/hold/bilges for signs of stowaways.
4. Most mammals are good swimmers. If you see a stowaway on board your vessel DO NOT push it overboard and DO NOT land at an offshore island.
5. Report any potential sightings of invasive non-native mammalian predators to the island owner or manager.
6. Take home your rubbish.