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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 00:08 GMT
RSPB calls for seabird protection
Kittiwake
The Kittiwake is among the seabirds under threat
The RSPB is calling for a series of protected marine areas around the British coast to safeguard declining seabird populations.

In a report, it names 70 sites in the UK which are of national importance, including 24 in Scotland.

It is calling on the Holyrood and Westminster governments to make sure their forthcoming marine bills give seabird colonies greater protection.

Scotland has 45% of the EU's breeding seabirds.

Many species have endured a run of poor breeding seasons, including kittiwakes, guillemots and arctic terns.

We don't think that there should be a complete halt to human activity in these areas, simply that these activities should be managed
Lloyd Austin
RSPB Scotland

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

Lloyd Austin, head of policy for RSPB Scotland, said: "Despite many sea cliffs which seabirds use to breed having environmental protection, the sea next to them which forms an important feeding area for seabirds has no such safety net.

"We don't think that there should be a complete halt to human activity in these areas, simply that these activities should be managed so as not to disrupt food sources or breeding success.

"Many species have suffered poor breeding seasons in recent years, and we urge the UK and Scottish governments to work together to produce complementary marine legislation which will protect these areas for seabirds and the wealth of other marine life which uses them."

The society said it wanted extra protection for 24 sites, stretching from the Mull of Galloway to the Treshnish Islands off the west coast, to Papa Stour in Shetland, Ythan estuary in Aberdeenshire and the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth.



SEE ALSO
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