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Breeding seabird census 2015 – 2019


At the time of the last census (Seabird 2000, 1998 - 2002), over 8 million seabirds bred in Britain and Ireland each year. Since then, evidence of widespread declines in productivity (no. of chicks fledged per pair) have emerged which may be driving declines in breeding population size .To understand how seabird populations are changing, another complete census is required to complement the annual Seabird Monitoring Programme (SMP).


Census data are essential for assessing seabird population health and vital for understanding the conservation status of our internationally-important seabirds, the effects of climate change on marine environments and to inform marine planning.


The Seabirds Count census was developed by the SMP Partnership and is being coordinated by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). Census work began in 2015 and, to date, has incorporated data collected by volunteers and professional surveyors as part ongoing SMP annual monitoring and from other survey initiatives such as Common Standard Monitoring of the UK’s breeding seabird SPA network.

During the 2018 and 2019 breeding seasons, the JNCC will be working with the SMP Partnership to increase census survey coverage. This will include continued effort to raise funds for specialist surveys and through the utilisation of the UK’s volunteer surveyor network.


 photo:breeding kittiwake - map of UK colonies - Photo: breeding Shag