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Majority of seabirds have ingested plastic - study
Dr Alex Bond, RSPB senior conservation scientist, said solutions to this problem require “more concerted action at its source on land".
Report underlines major threat to marine life

A new report has found 74 per cent of seabirds in the northeastern Atlantic region have ingested plastic.

Scientists collated data from all known studies on plastic ingestion and nest incorporation in seabirds around Northern Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Greenland, Svalbard, the Faroes and Iceland.

Marine plastic pollution is a growing environmental issue which poses a “major threat” to marine biodiversity, experts say.

Millions of tonnes of plastic enters the oceans every year, and plastic production is on the rise. Seabirds can ingest it, become entangled in it, or incorporate it into their nests, with potentially negative consequences for reproduction and survival.

Dr Alex Bond, RSPB senior conservation scientist, said solutions to this problem require “more concerted action at its source on land - 80 per cent of marine litter is thought to come from land - especially by producers and users.”

Around half of all plastic products are single-use only, but plastic never breaks down - it breaks up into smaller fragments that stay in the environment.

“As its density varies, it can be found throughout the water column, increasing the number of species which come into contact with it,” Dr Bond explained.

The northeastern Atlantic Ocean is an area of international importance to seabirds, yet there has been little research on how marine plastic affects different species over time, and regionally.

Dr Nina O’Hanlon, from the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso, said: “We actually know very little about the current prevalence of plastic ingestion and nest incorporation for many species, several, like the Long-tailed Duck and Atlantic Puffin, which are globally threatened.

“Only 49 per cent of the 69 species which are commonly found in the region have been investigated for plastic ingestion.”

Scientists say a multi-directional, coordination and collaborative effort is needed to gain a proper understanding of this issue.

 

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Avian flu outbreak at RSPB Minsmere

News Story 1
 RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in Suffolk has confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on its site. The coastal nature reserve has seen an increase in dead birds recently, and has said that it is 'extremely concerned' about the potential impacts on bird populations, with 2021 and 2022 seeing the largest ever outbreak in the UK.

In a statement, RSPB said: "We appreciate that it is distressing, for both visitors and staff, to see dead or dying birds at our site but we ask that if visitors see any dead or unwell birds, they do not touch or go near them and that they report it to us at our Visitor Centre during its opening hours, or by emailing us on minsmere@rspb.org.uk outside of these times."  

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Moredun Foundation Award opens for applications

The 2022-2023 Moredun Foundation Award (MFA) is now open for members, with up to £2,000 available for successful applicants.

The MFA honours the contribution that education, teamwork, life experience, and travel have made to the understanding of cattle health and welfare. Through its charitable endeavours, Moredun offers its members the opportunity to pursue projects that support personal development.

The prize is open to a wide range of project applications, including those that include producing educational tools, conducting a small research project, or studying farming methods in other nations. For more information and to apply, visit moredun.org.uk