Operation Seafarer


Operation Seafarer was a census conducted in 1969 - 1970 by the then recently formed Seabird Group. Over 1000 surveyors took part, co-ordinated by David Saunders, guided by a Census Committee chaired by James Fisher, who sadly died in 1969 before the project was completed.  Coverage was confined to coastal colonies but was thought to be complete apart from gaps in Foula, Shetland and in Caithness.


Operation Seafarer provided the first comprehensive, detailed account of the abundance and distribution of seabirds breeding around the coasts of Britain and Ireland. However, the work also highlighted major problems in accurately counting some species, particularly storm-petrels, Manx shearwaters, razorbills, common guillemots, black guillemots, and Atlantic puffins.


The results of Operation Seafarer are published in: Cramp, S., Bourne, W.R.P. & Sanders, D. 1974. The Seabirds of Britain and Ireland. Collins, London.


The data from Operation Seafarer was entered on to the SCR database and summarised by Lloyd, C., Tasker, M.L. & Partridge, K. 1991. The status of seabirds in Britian and Ireland. Poyser, London in order to compare directly with the results of the SCR Census and to take account of changing administrative boundaries between the two censuses.