In the beginning of December a meeting of the Marine Task Force was held at the BirdLife International head office in Brussels. The task force has been established in order to strenghten and coordinate the activities for the conservation of marine birds and their environment within the network of the European BirdLife partners.
Seabirds are globally the most endangered group of birds. Many activities which are detrimental to their populations are going on in remote areas far from our eyes. Moreover, due to logistically demanding research, the most important areas for their viability were being identified only since recently.
The group meets only once a year thus the program of the meeting was packed. The central conservation themes were touching the inventarization of the marine IBAs, European policy for the conservation of marine environment, European integrated marine policy, and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, as well as concrete conservation issues such as fisheries bycatch and marine litter. All presentations and discussions were very motivating since they focused on concrete proposals and ideas for our further work in the area of seabirds conservation. Quite some stress has been given to mutual presentations of the partners’ priorities. It turned out that our directions are very similar but our seabird conservation programs are in different stages of the implementation.
In the group with participants from 14 European maritime countries we recognized a strong need for regional cooperation, since our seas and oceans are natural entities only apparently devided by political borders. Several countries “share” their marine IBAs. Conservation of sebirds at these sites is thus going to be even bigger challenge than at the “undivided” areas. At the same time this challenge can be accepted as an opportunity for networking with colleagues from neighbouring countries which will strenghten us still more in our efforts to protect our seas.
author: Urška Koce