First Marine Protected Area for Birds Proposed

Arctic Tern
Arctic Tern, credit Ben Lascelles

By MarEx 2016-10-17 19:38:45

BirdLife International has presented a proposal to create a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) under OSPAR, the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic. If accepted by OSPAR, the MPA will be the first of its kind to be identified using seabird data as the principle data source.

BirdLife International worked in collaboration with marine scientists around the Atlantic, with additional guidance from Nature & Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), to identify the proposed MPA, named Evlanov Seamount and Basin High Seas. 

The aim of the Evlanov Seamount and Basin High Seas MPA is to protect an area of the North Atlantic that is not only vital for many seabird species, but also for other marine megafauna such as tunas, sharks, whales and sea-turtles, by maintaining the natural richness and resilience of this pelagic ecosystem.

If accepted, this site, which falls outside the jurisdiction of any country, will offer protection to one the most important sites for seabirds in the high seas of the North Atlantic.

OSPAR is the mechanism by which 15 governments and the European Union cooperate to protect the marine environment of the North Atlantic. The 15 governments are: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

Ana Carneiro, Marine Technical Officer at BirdLife International, said: “We estimate that more than two million seabirds use the area every year, including some long distance migrants such as the Arctic Tern and the threatened Atlantic Puffin.”

The proposed MPA will now be examined by OSPAR.