South West Fulmar Project

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental problems that we face at present, comparable in severity to climate change (1). Marine litter is a global problem, and monitoring is key for mitigation. Scientists have been monitoring plastic ingestion by seabirds as a tool for understanding oceanic plastic pollution for decades, however we need your help.

 

Van Franeker, J.A. (2015)
Source: Van Franeker, J.A. (2)

The South West Fulmar Project works together with the Save the North Sea campaign to monitor plastic ingestion by northern fulmars: an oceanic seabird in the same family as albatross. They live and feed at sea, only returning to land to breed, and yet 99% of fulmars in the English Channel have plastic in their stomachs that they have mistaken for prey.

 

Our projects rely on beached birds to investigate how much plastic is in their stomachs. We therefore ask that if you ever find a fulmar on the beach, please collect it and get in touch. Wherever you are in the UK or Europe, we will be able to put you in touch with someone nearby to arrange transport or collection.

Together, we will be providing valuable data to highlight the extent of the marine litter problem: a valuable tool for influencing marine policy for the future.

Hopefully,  our  efforts  now  will  help  secure  the  safety  of  our  seabirds,  and  the  beauty  of  our  beaches,  from  plastic  litter  for  the  generations  to  come.

You can identify a fulmar by the tube on top of its beak. Photo: Andrew Colenutt
You can identify a fulmar by the tube on top of its beak. Photo: Andrew Colenutt

Get in touch at soutwestfulmars@gmail.com if you have any questions or would like to register interest, and please start keeping an eye out for fulmars washed up on your beaches!

For more information, download this information pack:

SWFP Getting Started

Follow the project on facebook here!

 

(1) UNEP Year book 2011

(2) Van Franeker J. A. (2015) Fulmar litter EcoQO monitoring in the Netherlands – Update 2014. IMARES Report C123/15 . IMARES, Texel. 55 pp. Accessed here.

 

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