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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 08:12 GMT
RSPB calls for seabird protection
The RSPB wants protected marine areas to safeguard seabirds
The RSPB is calling for a series of protected marine areas around the British coast to safeguard declining seabird populations.

Its report names 70 sites in the UK which are of national importance.

In Kent, the list includes Dover to Kingsdown Cliffs, Dungeness, and the Romney Marsh.

Paul Outhwaite, from RSPB South East, said that currently the seabirds' nesting colonies on land are protected, but the offshore feeding areas are not.

He said: "Seabirds provide one of the south east coast's greatest wildlife spectacles.

We are committed to protecting marine species, habitats and birds
Defra statement

"The presence of thousands of black-headed gulls, cormorants and kittiwakes around our coast throughout the year is testament to the richness of the region's seas."

The RSPB has said marine protected areas are needed in addition to areas which qualify for protection under EU legislation.

The report comes as the government is about to publish a draft marine bill.

A Defra spokesman said 1.8m hectares of sea area had already been protected.

He added: "We are committed to protecting marine species, habitats and birds.

"The forthcoming marine bill will provide a variety of measures including a network of protected areas."

RSPB calls for seabird protection
18 Mar 08 |  Scotland

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