The living conditions of seabirds in the North Atlantic have deteriorated significantly in the past few years, both because of natural causes and human activity.
At a conference in the Faeroe Islands last month, Nordic ornithologists expressed their worries about this trend. They fear that if the living conditions of the seabirds continue to deteriorate so rapidly, the existence of many species in the region, e.g., puffin, fulmar, guillemot and artic tern, may become seriously threatened.
Fishing and oil pollution are among the causes of the decreasing bird populations in the region but the biggest factor is believed to be climate change. Because of higher temperatures at sea, red plankton has moved further north. Red plankton is the main nourishment of sand lance, which are, in turn, the most important food source for seabirds.
In an interview with Morgunbladid daily, Aevar Petersen, ornithologist at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, argues that one of Iceland’s seabirds, the shag, is already vulnerable and may disappear altogether from the Iceland’s fauna. He points out that every year more than 150,000 seabirds get caught in the nets of Icelandic fishing boats.