Consultation launched on protecting England’s seabirds.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has today (13 March) begun consulting on measures to ban sandeel fishing to protect England’s treasured seabirds.

Sandeels are a vital food source for seabirds such as puffins, kittiwakes and razorbills. Industrial fishing in the North Sea however is putting pressure on sandeel stocks which also provide food for commercially important fish species and larger sea mammals including whales.

The department, alongside experts from Natural England, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science believes that banning sandeel fishing in UK waters could lead to seabirds increasing in number within ten years.

Commenting on this Andrew Jones MP said: “Here in Yorkshire we are home to many seabirds along our beautiful coastline. Industrial fishing of sandeels, as well as recent avian flu outbreaks, mean that now is the time to take action to ensure we boost the resilience of our much-loved seabird population.

“I am pleased to see robust and expert-led proposals in the consultation that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has called ‘huge news’ for nationwide efforts to increase seabird numbers.”

This consultation and the proposals put forward form part of the Government’s far-reaching Environment Improvement Plan which aims to reverse the decline of nature and allow wildlife to thrive. You can view, and comment on, the consultation by clicking here.