News archive

May 2015

Monday, 18 May 2015

Speak up to Save Nature!

Speak up to Save Nature!

The EU Nature Directives have provided the highest level of protection to vulnerable habitats and species for the past 30 years - but they're under threat.

European leaders are considering rolling back decades of progress by revising the Directives in the mistaken belief that weaker protection for wildlife is good for business.

In reality, this would be bad for business, and a disaster for wildlife. We urgently need you to add your voice to thousands of others and defend nature. Without a massive demonstration of public support for the Directives, it will be very hard to prevent them being weakened.

Have your say to defend the Nature Directive, the laws that protect our wildlife. Wildlife organisations across Europe are united and together we've prepared answers to the questions that will best stand up for these laws. Just add your details to send yours.

If you'd like to complete the e-consultation yourself you can do this via the EC website. Got any questions? Contact

Click on the link below to go to the RSPB website where you can enter your name and address.

You can also find more information and see the answers that have been prepared to the questions posed by the EU.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The RSPB Goes in Deep

The RSPB Goes in Deep

Alec Taylor, RSPB's Marine Policy Officer, gave us an insight into the machinations that the RSPB has to go through to try and get policies and legislation enacted to protect our seabirds and the areas of the sea and land they depend on. The old EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has not protected the fish and thus, the birds that depend on the state of our seas, in the way it was intended to. After 12 (yes, that's right TWELVE) years of negotiations, a new CFP is about to be implemented.

Alec commented that it was a relief to come and talk to 'real' people tonight rather than the complicated, statistical presentations that he has to give in Brussels to convince the EU Parliament, then the collected Fishery ministers of the various countries and so on!
He had some excellent photos of seabirds to show us, plus some of sea anemones, sand eels etc. We need to protect the areas where sand eels breed so our seabirds have food. The effect climate change is having also needs to be monitored.

He reminded us that the UK has a responsibility for many seabirds in the world due to our Overseas Territories which support significant populations. There are the real success stories where rats and cats have been removed and species that were down to very critical numbers have increased tenfold in a period of ten years - showing that conservation polices really do work.

Research to prove what is happening, developing techniques to reduce bycatch (e.g. Albatrosses being killed on long line hooks, around 400,000 a year) and then persuading the fishing industry and individual fishermen to deploy these techniques is an essential part of RSPB's Marine policies. In one area where the cost-effective techniques have been taken up, the Albatross bycatch has been reduced by 90%.

Currently Alec is investigating bycatch where gill nets are used - Filey Bay and St. Ives are two particular areas being researched. He explained how important it is to get individuals who work in the fishing industry onside - when an RSPB team turned up in Filey, they were barricaded in their accommodation! Now a local fisherman is taking on the task of persuading his fellow fishermen of the benefits of trying techniques to prevent diving seabirds from getting entangled in the gill nets (e.g. bright blue visible nets, attaching lights and bleepers etc.).

I'm sure the importance of this work that the RSPB undertakes was a revelation to many and Alec was thanked by an enthusiastic round of applause.

If you click on the 'Download file' link, then you will see the striking poster that David (our Publicity officer) produced to advertise this talk.

Download file