Hello and welcome to the first Biosecurity for LIFE project update! It has certainly been a busy first year since the project commenced and we’re really excited to be able to start providing you with more regular insights into the exciting world of UK island biosecurity.
For those of you for which this is the first foray into the world of island biosecurity, welcome! So what is it and why is it important?
The UK is home to roughly 8 million breeding seabirds, almost 50% of the seabirds which occur in the EU! Twenty-five species breed here, 13 of which breed in globally important numbers. These include 90% of the world's Manx shearwater, nearly 70% of the world’s Northern gannet population and 60% of the world's great skua. Seabirds often choose to nest on islands with no land predators and as such are especially vulnerable to the introduction of non-native predators. These include brown rats, stoat and American mink amongst others.
The importance of our islands for seabirds is reflected by the UK having 42 of them designated especially for their internationally important numbers of breeding seabirds. From the Isles of Scilly to St Kilda, the Biosecurity for LIFE project is working with land managers, island communities and visitors to ensure that these special places continue to provide seabirds with safe places to breed. Biosecurity is all about prevention. Continuing to give our seabirds safe places to breed by preventing invasive non-native species from reaching their island homes. And this is what the Biosecurity for LIFE project has at its heart.
Save Our Seabirds from Invasive Predators
In May, the project partners, RSPB, National Trust for Scotland and National Trust launched our flagship Save Our Seabirds from Invasive Predators campaign aimed at informing visitors to the islands about the importance of biosecurity is and the practical measures that can be taken to prevent any unwanted stowaways hitching a lift. From checking your bag before you board a boat to ensuring that all food is stored in rodent proof containers, we can all do our bit for seabirds! For more information on the campaign and the project plus how you can help please visit our website https://biosecurityforlife.org.uk/