Protecting seabirds habitats at sea

A recently approved project  in the Seychelles will help in the demarcation of Marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in the country. Nature Seychelles has signed a grant agreement to carry out activities that will lead to the creation of Marine IBAs as part of a Global Environment Facility (GEF) financed project, "Strengthening Seychelles Protected Area System through NGO Management Modalities" - being implemented by the Seychelles Ministry of Home Affairs, Environment and Transport with support from UNDP.
The project is aimed at strengthening the management of Seychelles' Protected Areas and will create new terrestrial and marine protected areas through the joint efforts of government and non-government organisations. The Marine IBA sub-project is  being funded for USD 80,000.

Seychelles has globally significant colonies of seabirds. "Identification of Marine IBAS is therefore important for Seychelles. The significant industrial tuna fisheries around Seychelles also lend urgency to this work. We will work with BirdLife’s Global Seabird and Global Marine IBAs Programmes to deliver this sub-project,” says Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles Chief Executive.

Worldwide, seabirds are increasingly threatened. Following the success of the terrestrial Important Bird Areas programme, BirdLife International (Nature Seychelles is BirdLife in Seychelles) has proposed the creation of Marine IBAs to afford seabirds elevated protection.

The sub-project intends to apply the seaward extensions approach developed by BirdLife to current and potential IBAs. Information on existing terrestrial IBAs that host breeding seabird populations will be collated and seabird population data updated. The project will also compile existing at-sea datasets for seabirds from previous projects such as electronic tracking studies and map the proposed marine extensions to these IBAs.  

The results will feed into the Seychelles’ ongoing process to review and augment its protected area system as well as into BirdLife’s global inventory of Marine IBAs. It will be aligned with the Convention on Biological Diversity process for identifying Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas.

More information: BirdLife's IBA programme and Marine IBAs

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