Northern Ireland Seabird Report 2013

Editors(s): Kerry Leonard and Shane Wolsey

Published: March 2014  

Publisher: British Trust for Ornithology Pages: 72pp

ISBN: 978-1-908581-36-5

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This is the first edition of the Northern Ireland Seabird Report, covering 2013, a report we plan to publish annually. This report is the published outcome of the work of the BTO Seabird Co-ordinator, appointed in February 2013, and the activities of the evolving NI Seabird Network of volunteers, and organisations such as National Trust, Ulster Wildlife and RSPB that have provided data for 2013 and previous years.

The Co-ordinator, the Network and this report are, in part, a response to the huge increase in our society’s interest in the marine environment. Legislatively there is the EU’s Marine Strategic Framework Directive (MSFD), and the local
instrument that transposes the MSFD regulations, the Marine Act (Northern Ireland) 2013. This includes powers to
designate Marine Conservation Zones as part of a coherent MPA (Marine Protected Area) network. The implied spatial
planning and designations require high quality marine biodiversity data of various types, including for birds. Monitoring, and any further designations, of our SPA (Special Protected Area) network also require high quality bird data.

Added to this is a hugely increased interest in offshore commercial development, particularly energy related developments. There is a large offshore wind farm proposed east of the Lecale coast, two tidal energy proposals off the northeast Antrim coast, and proposals to investigate oil and gas resources in Belfast Lough, Larne Lough and near Rathlin. Two energy storage proposals near Larne just add to this mix of proposed marine developments. Finally, there is our increasing societal awareness of climate change and the impacts it may have: increasing seawater temperatures, changing acidity, increased storminess and thus turbidity, and many other associated changes. The work of the Northern Ireland Seabird Network in gathering robust seabird population data is a vital component in this context. The data in this report, and from future surveying, will underpin marine conservation policy-making and action planning in Northern Ireland.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this report, and to encourage more people to join the Seabird Network and contribute to future reports.


This report is the published outcome of the work of the Northern Ireland Seabird Network – a network of volunteers, researchers and organisations – coordinated by the BTO Seabird Coordinator, and funded by NIEA.

Northern Ireland Seabird Report 2013 cover
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