Raincoast at the World Seabird Conference

The northern fulmar is one of many seabird species at risk from tanker traffic and energy proposals on the BC coast.

By Caroline Fox

The first ever World Seabird Conference was held last week in Victoria (September 7-11, 2010). Over 800 participants from over 40 countries gathered to put seabird management and conservation into a global perspective.  As seabirds are the most threatened bird group, with an overall trend of declining populations and a number of species with global populations of just a handful of individuals, there is an urgent need to comprehensively address global seabird issues, management coordination and data sharing.

Presentations about seabirds breeding on island colonies in BC, such as Ancient Murrelets and Cassin’s Auklets, were side by side with those about seabirds that visit the BC coast yet breed many tens of thousands of kilometers away, including Black-footed Albatross and Sooty Shearwaters. Updates on the efforts to save seabird species whose global populations number less than 100 individuals were given as was the status of penguins whose breeding colonies are shrinking as the Antarctic begins to heat up.

Raincoast team members Caroline Fox and Daisuke Kawai attended. Daisuke presented a poster on assessing seabird populations in BC and Caroline gave a presentation on Raincoast’s efforts to understand and quantify the risks of industrial development in BC including oil tankers, spills and renewable energy expansion on the north and central coasts of BC.  For us, it was a fantastic opportunity to share our work, connect with like-minded scientists and conservationists across the world and expand our perspective on seabird conservation.

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Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government, and other NGOs to build support and inform decisions that protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the wildlife that depend on them. We conduct ethically applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for conservation deliberations and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. We inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities. We inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.