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Seabirds as Monitors of the Marine Environment

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posted on 2003-01-01, 00:00 authored by ICESICES

This is the third ICES Cooperative Research Report produced by the Working Group on Seabird Ecology, following on from Reports on seabird/fish interactions (ICES Cooperative Research Report No. 216) and the diets of seabirds and the consequences of changes in food supply (ICES Cooperative Research Report No. 232). This ICES Cooperative Research Report focuses on the use that might be made of seabirds as monitors of the marine environment. Section 2 examines the possibilities of using seabirds to monitor marine pollution, and recommends that they be used in monitoring a variety of substances. These recommendations are further developed in Section 5. Subsequent to this work, several of these recommendations have been developed for possible use as Ecological Quality Objectives (EcoQOs) under OSPAR and the North Sea Conference process. Ministers from around the North Sea adopted an objective in relation to the proportion of oiled common guillemots found dead or dying on beaches that “the proportion of such birds should be 10% or less of the total found dead or dying, in all areas of the North Sea (Bergen Declaration). In addition, Ministers requested that work continue towards defining EcoQOs in relation to mercury concentrations in seabird eggs and feathers, organochlorine concentrations in seabird eggs and plastic particles in the stomachs of seabirds. These decisions demonstrate the usefulness of seabirds in this area.


Published under the auspices of the following ICES Expert Group or Strategic Initiative



ICES Cooperative Research Reports (CRR)







Recommended citation

ICES. 2003. Seabirds as Monitors of the Marine Environment . ICES Cooperative Research Report, Vol. 258. 83 pp.

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