Whats Rigsby all about then?

   Rigsby at Aberavon beach.

Some of you may have noticed this little seabird on our facebook page over the last few weeks.

Having recently being named Rigsby thanks to you, its time to explain what his purpose is.

To put it simply. our seabirds lack the protection they need, not just here in Wales, but across the whole of the UK.

Wales has not seen the massive decline in seabirds like other places in the UK, but this means that our seabirds are now more important than ever. Yet we are still faced with limited protection for our seabirds, and their home - the seas that surround us.

Back in 2010, the Marine Bill was passed by UK government, and we hoped this would begin to make a positive change for our seas. Its now 2013, but what’s changed?

To be honest very little. We have had a consultation on making Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in Wales – areas which if used effectively could help provide protection for seabirds, and for other marine species from dolphins to sea fans [see pictures]. We were disappointed with the Welsh Government’s MCZ approach when it announced only 3 or 4 small highly protected areas that would ban all activity within them, including sustainable activities.  We responded to the consultation, calling for highly protected areas to be used in the right place, for the right reason and to ensure that truly sustainable activities were not penalised unfairly. Over 7000 others responded to the consultation, the highest number ever, and Welsh Government listened.

Along with other marine users such as the fishing industry and the Royal Yachting Association, we have contributed our thoughts to developing a new approach to MCZs in Wales. The final proposals will be announced by Welsh Government staff this month.

But its not just about MCZs – we need better management of the seas as a whole. This doesn’t mean banning activities left, right and centre. But it does mean we need to re-evaluate the way we use our seas. Government and decision makers have some nifty tools to manage the seas in a sustainable way – we just need to remind them that its worth doing.

Which brings us back to Rigsby - he will be travelling across Wales over the coming year, highlighting issues and interesting facts about our marine environment. He’ll also be asking you to help out. It might be something as simple as picking up some rubbish next time you’re at the beach, or it might be writing to your local AM to ask for further protection of seabirds and other sealife.

So follow us on facebook (and tell your friends about Rigsby too) – lets make sure that we give seabirds a home and that they get the protection they deserve.

Find us on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/rspbcymru or Rspb Cymru

 Rigsby by Kidwelly