BirdWatch Ireland is Ireland’s leading voice on marine conservation. We advocate for the sustainable management of our seas. We are actively working to end overfishing, and to promote marine protected areas and sustainable marine spatial planning.
Speaking out for the marine environment
Marine Advocacy & Policy
As an island nation Ireland is home to a rich diversity of coastal and marine habitats which support internationally important populations of marine species. Our rugged and diverse coastline is some 7,500km long. When our vast marine waters are taken into account Ireland is one of the largest EU states. Our naturally biodiverse marine environment supplied by deep water and surface currents, supports high levels of primary productivity, the building blocks of the marine food web upon which fish, seabirds and many other marine organisms depend.
These productive waters support giants like Blue Whale and Basking Sharks as well as hundreds of thousands of seabirds including globally important numbers of breeding Manx Shearwater and European Storm-petrel. Some seabirds such as Northern Gannet, Northern Fulmar and Black-legged Kittiwake form spectacular breeding colonies in summer, forming ‘high rise’ settlements as on Little Skellig (Co. Kerry). Arctic Terns choose to come to our waters to breed and feed in often very localised areas, travelling massive distances across the globe as part of their annual breeding and foraging cycle.
As an island nation, we have only recently come to realise the potential value of our ocean resources. Improved technology and market pressures such as the demand for seafood and exploration of energy sources offshore have also produced new and additional ambitions for our seas with social, economic as well as ecological implications. We believe Ireland can be a world leader in marine conservation and the sustainable fisheries management.
Life on the Edge
The seas around Ireland’s coast and out beyond the shelf edge are so important for seabirds and their survival. Fisheries management and marine policy must allow marine systems to recover and provide for the multiple needs of fish, fisheries and marine wildlife into the future.