Fair Seas releases new video and visits one of Europe’s rarest breeding seabirds


  • Boat trip to Rockabill highlights new report on marine protected areas

A coalition of Ireland’s leading environmental networks and non-governmental organizations have released a new video to highlight their report on marine protected areas. The group also led a boat trip to the Rockabill Islands off Dublin today as part of European Oceans Week.

Ireland has publicly pledged to support the goal of protecting 30% of the global ocean by 2030. Only 2% of Irish waters are currently protected and Fair Seas has released a new report aimed at starting the conversation on the location of marine protected areas. . The study identifies 16 ‘areas of interest’ covering 175,504 km2 of Ireland’s ocean territory. It provides information on the best places to protect marine species based on the geographical distribution of 87 species.

The 120-second video titled ‘A Letter from the Sea’ is narrated by Irish environmental scientist, Dr Tara Shine of Change by Degrees, and highlights the importance of protecting our oceans to give species, habitats and coastal communities the opportunity to thrive. It was created by Dublin-based agency Thinkhouse.

Rockabill is located 6 km from Skerries and is home to the largest colony of roseate terns in all of Europe. Rockabill at the Dalkey Islands is the largest Special Area of ​​Conservation off the east coast covering 273 km2. Fair Seas has proposed that an area stretching over 4,300 km2 from Carlingford Lough to Wicklow Head be considered when reviewing marine protected areas.

Aoife O’Mahony, Fair Seas Campaign Manager, says:

Ireland has a truly unique and fascinating marine environment. Today we organized two boats for stakeholders and Fair Seas representatives to see Rockabill. This is where thousands of roseate terns travel from West Africa every year to breed each year. It’s only when you visit places like Rockabill, the Saltees, Blaskets or any number of islands off our coast that you see how important Ireland is to so many different species. Our ocean territory is home to endangered sharks, colonies of globally significant seabirds and endangered animals. It is vital that we act now to restore critical habitats, protect wildlife and help tackle the climate crisis. Now is the time to act and our report is the starting point.

Linda Lennon, CEO of BirdWatch Ireland, said:

Rockabill is arguably Ireland’s greatest conservation success story. Thanks to the dedicated conservation work of BirdWatch Ireland in conjunction with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Roseate Tern population has increased more than 10-fold between 1989 and 2021. This is proof that targeted conservation efforts work. Ultimately, what happens or doesn’t happen in the sea around colonies will determine the fate of seabirds. It’s not just the nest site that needs protection, it’s everything around it. Significant, large-scale conservation efforts at seabird colonies and at sea are urgently needed. The government must act quickly to protect and appropriately manage large areas of the sea for marine wildlife.

The report ‘Revitalizing our seas – Identifying areas of interest for MPA designation in Irish waters’ was commissioned by Fair Seas and uses scientific research and available data to identify potential areas most in need of protection. Fair Seas is a collaboration between Irish Wildlife Trust, BirdWatch Ireland, Sustainable Water Network, Friends of the Irish Environment, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Coomhola Salmon Trust, Irish Environmental Network and Coastwatch. It is funded by Oceans 5, Blue Nature Alliance, BFCT and The Wyss Foundation.

A letter from the sea can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfWOzkJTIZg

The report is available at www.fairseas.that’s to say


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