Research is being conducted at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) to assess seabirds’ potential as a monitoring tool for marine litter in Ireland. Countless marine species have been known to ingest debris that could mimic their prey. Seabirds are highly affected. Because debris such as plastics are buoyant, seabirds mistake them for food when searching for prey on the sea surface. These pieces of plastics can be particularly hard to regurgitate for some species and they tend to accumulate them in their stomach, leaving no space for real food and leading the animal to starvation.
Beached birds can be used as a good environmental tool reflecting the health of our waters. In fact, they have been heavily used as indicators of good environmental status throughout the North Sea, under OSPAR (Oslo-Paris Convention) and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). This project intends to open the way for Ireland to use seabird stranding to comply with monitoring targets under the EU MSFD and to acquire knowledge and be able to advise on marine litter in our waters.
If you wish more information about this project or if you can collaborate with beached, stranded or bycatch seabirds, please contact me on 086 361 5575 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Published by Heidi Acampora