Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys, in flight Southern Ocean nr South Georgia

Saving seabirds globally

Seabirds are the world’s most threatened group of birds. Many, particularly albatrosses and petrels, have suffered huge declines with some species close to extinction.

A yellow-nosed albatross chick standing on its nest

A global effort to save seabirds

To halt this decline and save our seabirds, we need action on a global scale. The RSPB hosts the BirdLife International Marine Programme which works internationally to tackle the problems.


Seabird declines are often closely linked to the expansion of commercial fisheries in seabird feeding areas, combined with the impacts of invasive non-native species at nesting colonies. Many seabirds range widely across the world’s oceans, so seabird conservation needs to be looked at globally.

School children holding a banner celebrating World Oceans Day

The BirdLife International Marine Programme

The BirdLife International Marine Programme tackles seabird declines by working at a policy level and by working with people at a local level. Influencing international policy is vital for securing conservation management for far-ranging seabirds – but working on practical solutions with fishers and others is needed to find and implement the right management measures.


The Save the Albatross Campaign was launched to tackle the huge numbers of seabirds killed accidentally in longline and trawl fisheries, and is an example of how we are working at a local and international level.

The Tristan da Cunha volcano at dawn.

Shaping policy to protect oceans

The work to identify Marine Important Bird Areas also helps with other global initiatives to protect and sustainably manage oceans, such as the creation of Marine Protected Areas.

BirdLife Partners all over the world have contributed to a global e-atlas of these sites. So far more than 3,000 sites have been identified (and is still growing)!

Tracking Ocean Wanderers

The BirdLife International Seabird Tracking Database is the largest collection of seabird tracking data in the world. It serves as a central store for seabird tracking data from around the world and aims to help further seabird conservation work and support the tracking community.

Thanks to the database, we are able to map the overlap between seabirds and fisheries, and this helps target conservation efforts where they are most needed.

Results presented to Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, especially the world's five tuna commissions, have been key to introducing measures to reduce bycatch in these fisheries.