Sandeel ban?

Monday 19th December comments: Some promising news for seabirds in the North Sea has been highlighted at the weekend by the Guardian newspaper. The news concerns the potential of banning sandeel fishing in U.K. waters which would be a huge boost to struggling seabird populations.

Sandeels are a small silvery fish with a high nutrient content and the vast majority of seabirds which breed on seabird reserves like the Isle of May which feed exclusively on these fish. The classic photograph of Puffins with fish in their mouths is often of sandeels and these fish are the heartbeat of seabird colonies. Last year the government asked for evidence from both industry and environmental organisations regarding industrial sandeel fishing and the next step is due to start. Sandeels are harvested for a variety of reasons but are used for livestock such as farmed salmon but now the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are putting in the motion early next year, starting with consultation of stakeholders in January.

This is certainly a positive step for declining seabird populations and a real boost for the future, and we’ll keep you updated of this story as it breaks.

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