New measures are being discussed to help protect some of the most important seabirds in Europe.
These birds often fall casualty to the North Yorkshire fishing industry, where just last summer hundreds of birds (including guillemots and razorbills) were killed after getting trapped in fishing nets.
Reports from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) led to the close of the Filey Bay fishery, where the casualties took place, for two weeks during the 2008 season.
Following these events, the Environment Agency is recommending a bylaw that can help to minimise the risk to birds being drowned.
The fisheries, alongside conservation experts, are now proposing changes in the industry. New nets will help to reduce the number of birds caught, and any that are caught will need to be quickly released. This will help to protect birds during the crucial breeding system.
The Environment Manager of the Environment Agency, Simon Firth, states that they are working with sea trout and salmon fishermen to allow a sustainable fishery to remain in Filey. The RSPB also states that it’s important to find a solution that not only protects birds, but also the livelihood of fishermen.
The Environment Agency released an independent report earlier this year, showing that razorbills were the most vulnerable to be caught during the period from March to August 2009. Many of the birds are particularly important in Europe. And when nets are left overnight or unattended, the risk to birds dramatically increases. New rules will help to reduce this risk.