Seabird conservation in Europe:
Extending the IBA Programme at sea
Pep Arcos, SEO/BirdLife
Partner of BirdLife International in Spain
IBA = Important Bird Area
• Worldwide initiative aimed at identifying and protecting
a network of critical sites for the conservation of the
• First pan-European inventory published in 1989, last
one in 2000.
• 3,404 IBAs identified in the EU 27.
IBAs form the reference list for sites to be classified
under the EU Birds Directive/Natura 2000 (SPAs) –
World class framework to protect sites and
accommodate sustainable use.
BirdLife IBA Programme
Why marine site protection regarding seabirds?
• Seabirds are among the most threatened birds in the World.
Several species threatened with extinction. EU most threatened
are Balearic shearwater (CR) and Zino’s Petrel (EN).
• Population declines often related to threats at sea.
BirdLife IBA Programme: the marine component
• Site-protection efforts at sea focused on benthic habitats and
associated bottom-dwelling, low-mobile organisms.
• Seabird conservation efforts focused on land (breeding
• Efforts at sea regarding seabirds so far devoted to coastal
species and shallow areas.
• Urgent need to account for the most pelagic species
Where are we?
Main BirdLife Marine IBA Initiatives (Europe)
Many marine IBAs are already identified and need to be classified under
Natura 2000 immediately. But there are further projects under way to close
gaps and further refine the criteria
-North Sea (1995) and Baltic Sea (2000) inventories.
-SEO/BirdLife (Spain) & SPEA (Portugal) LIFE Projects 2004-2008.
1st addressing the pelagic environment.
- Eastern Baltic LIFE Project, 2005-2009. BirdLife International and Partners in
Estonia and Latvia involved; bird inventories following IBA concept.
- BirdLife Malta, LIFE Project 2006-2010.
- Greece, efforts towards IBA identification in the Cyclades (Leventis Foundation).
- BirdLife Partners in France and Italy preparing LIFE+ proposals.
• IBA are id