Scotland Must Protect Endangered Seabirds

Target: Linda Rosborough, Director of Marine Department, Scotland

Goal: Assign protected marine areas to struggling bird species

A recent census shows a sharp decline in seabird populations in Scotland, particularly in the common guillemot. Puffin, razorbill, and gull numbers are in decline as well, suggesting that the issue could lie in food shortages. The guillemot has seen reductions of 45% in some areas, with an average reduction of around 30% in the southern portion of the country. Protected areas near known colonies should be established and studies should be conducted to assess necessary conservation measures.

The struggling guillemot population is now down to an estimated population of 4.5 thousand, and needs expedited protection in order to survive. The species is considered to be near extinction in some areas of the country, and endangered in others.

Common guillemots choose rocky seaside cliffs as nesting grounds. Such areas where the birds are known to assemble should become wildlife sanctuary areas protected from development and traffic. Waters near these areas should be no-fishing zones in order to preserve their food sources so their populations can grow.

Dwindling puffin, razorbill, and kittiwake numbers must also be addressed immediately in order to prevent any further detriment. The sooner conservation efforts are begun, the better the chance of eventual recovery and population stability.

Scotland is home to over 20 native species of seabirds, some of which are endangered and receiving no protection. Your signature will urge Scotland’s Marine Department to quickly protect the breeding and feeding grounds of struggling bird species.


Dear Linda Rosborough, Director of Marine Department, Scotland,

According to a recent census, there has been a sharp decline in seabird populations in Scotland. The common guillemot, in particular, has seen a drop off of nearly half since 2000 and is now nearly extinct in some areas of the country. Puffin, kittiwake, and razorbill numbers are also in decline, and require immediate conservation to increase chances of population survival.

I request that protected marine reserves be established to protect the breeding grounds of seabirds and their food sources. Known seabird colonies and their surroundings would be excellent candidates for such conservation.

I request that Scottish Parliament begin an assessment of the needs of endangered seabirds in the country, and implement measures that see these needs met. It is imperative to the survival of guillemots and other seabird species that these population issues receive immediate attention.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Grantus4504 via WikiMedia Commons

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One Comment

  1. I wrote directly to Scottish Government about this matter, and they replied:
    “Thank you for your email our Director regarding seabirds. I have been asked to respond on behalf Linda Rosborough as I am working on designating MPAs in Scotland.
    There is a range of work ongoing to complete the Scottish MPA network and to complete protection for seabirds. Of most relevance to seabird foraging areas is the work on Nature Conservation MPAs and marine SPAs.
    This work is ongoing to identify SPAs at sea for other species of seabirds. This will include areas used by seabirds for foraging. Both the new Nature Conservation MPAs and the additional marine SPAs are intended to complement existing SPAs, 31 of which were extended into the marine environment in 2009 and already provide some foraging areas. The MPAs highlight six proposals for black guillemot which is the only species of seabird that does not currently enjoy full protection, as all other seabirds have both species and habitat protection. All of these contain areas used for foraging.
    In both the inshore and offshore MPA proposals for sandeels are to ensure a sustained supply of sandeel recruits to other sandeel grounds around Scotland and the rest of the UK as the MPA proposals for sandeels represent a source of sandeels to other grounds. By protecting the sources of sandeel in Scottish waters, MPAs may help conserve the current overall population of sandeels, including those in the marine waters of Orkney, which is of vital importance to feeding seabirds as both a primary and indirect food source.
    I trust you find this useful.”

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