Leading conservation charity, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, has issued a warning as Scotland’s internationally important seabirds continue to show worrying declines.
The warning comes in the wake of a new report from the Seabird Monitoring Programme, a partnership project involving several conservation bodies, including the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
The report, published today, indicates that Arctic skua, Arctic tern and black-legged kittiwake have suffered the worst declines over the monitoring period with Northern Isles displaying the most severe declines.
The availability of food is critical to the breeding success of seabirds, and significant declines in both the abundance and quality of North Sea sandeels (their natural prey) has put their future in jeopardy.
Living Seas Policy Officer for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Alex Kinninmonth, said: “The alarm bells have been ringing for the last decade or more, and the Seabird Monitoring Report published today confirms our worst fears that seabirds continue to suffer from changes in Scottish coastal waters.
“There are no more excuses for inaction – powers are available to create protected areas at sea that safeguard key habitats for sandeels, a key prey item for many of our seabirds like kittiwake.
“The proposals for Marine Protected Areas out for consultation at the moment are a good start and the Scottish Wildlife Trust fully supports them. Given Scotland’s global reputation for seabirds, the onus is now on us to take effective steps to safeguard them.”