UK proposes measures to protect England’s much loved seabirds - Defra

puffin head with beak full of sandeels
Puffin with sandeels on Skomer Island, Haverfordwest (photo: Glen Hooper on unsplash)

Defra to consult on proposed measures to ban industrial sandeel fishing within UK waters

Kittiwakes, puffins and razorbills are some of England’s most treasured seabirds that could benefit from proposed measures to ban sandeel fishing, Defra has announced today (Tuesday 7 March).

According to experts at Natural England, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, seabird abundance could increase within 10 years as a result of the full banning of industrial sandeel fishing in UK waters.

Defra has  launched a consultation on proposed management measures for sandeel fishing within English waters, with the aim to reduce further negative impacts on important marine biodiversity.

Katie-jo Luxton, Director for Conservation at the RSPB said: "This is huge news for the UK’s efforts to save our iconic seabirds. Decades of increasing ‘human-induced’ pressures in our busy seas have left our seabirds in a precarious state, and a ban on industrial trawling for sandeels would throw our most threatened seabirds a lifeline in the face of mounting pressures in our seas. This is a crucial moment; after last year’s devastating outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu and with major new offshore energy developments planned, there is an urgent need to build the resilience of our seabird colonies as well as helping to rebuild the overall health of the North Sea for all marine wildlife. Defra are to be congratulated in coming forward with this consultation, which is a vital first step in securing the UK-wide ban our seabirds need." 

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Posted On: 07/03/2023

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