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Concerns grow that new UK Marine Strategy will mean UK governments are no longer accountable for seabird recovery - RSPB

razorbill - black and white bird - paddling in the ocean the image is half above / half below the water level and the paddling webbed feet are also visble
Razorbill (photo: RSPB-images)

Our coastline and isles are becoming a flurry of activity as the next generation of seabirds begin to emerge from eggs and parents are busy flying out to sea to bring back food to give their young the best possible start to life. However, the RSPB is concerned that a recent consultation has revealed that UK governments are looking to write themselves a loophole having failed to meet current commitments to halt population declines at our globally important seabird colonies.

Seabirds are a key indicator of the health of our seas and coastal environment, and this is reflected in the UK Marine Strategy. The Strategy was first published in 2012, setting out a legal duty for the governments of the UK to meet 15 measures to achieve Good Environmental Status by 2020. Yet, the UK failed to meet 11 of those targets, with progress towards the goal of halting seabird decline worsening from the 2012 starting point.

Seabird population numbers have kept declining and 24 of the 25 UK breeding seabird species are listed as Red or Amber status on the UK list of Birds of Conservation Concern. This includes puffins, kittiwakes and razorbills that are among the amazing seabird species that live, feed and raise their young around the coastline and islands of the UK.

An updated programme of measures for the UK Marine Strategy will be published this summer and will set out the how the UK governments plan to achieve the new benchmark of clean, healthy and productive oceans and seas for marine life and people by 2024. Yet, in the latest draft seen by the RSPB, UK governments are showing signs that they are intending to undermine this aspiration by applying for exceptions to its legal duty, leaving the future of our seabirds even further in jeopardy.

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Posted On: 13/05/2022

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