London: Collins, 1974. — 288 p. — ISBN 0-00-216753-0.In recent years attention has been focused on seabirds in many parts of the world: huge numbers have been killed in oil spills at sea olf America, South Africa, Europe and elsewhere; the guano-producing seabirds of the Peruvian coast have been declining; hundreds of thousands of auks are caught and killed each year in nets off the Greenland coast; DDT residues have been recorded in Antarctic penguins. Nearer home the spectacular increase in Fulmar numbers and breeding range has been well documented while the recent apparent decline in the Puffin, especially on our western seaboard, has not. Increasing numbers of Herring Gulls have led to drastic control measures being taken on some of our islands, while species like the Little Tern become scarcer. To detect these changes and assess their magnitude we require a base-line of information against which the necessary comparisons can be made, and also continuing surveillance to record the geographic extent and size of fluctuations in numbers which are occurring ‘naturally’ as well as in response to exploitation or environmental crises. Britain and Ireland provide the most important breeding places for sea-birds in the north-east Atlantic, and our seabird colonies are of outstanding international importance, and a great tourist attraction. We also are situated in part of the world where many of the current threats to seabirds are manifestly destructive. The development of the North Sea oilfield, the discharge to the sea of industrial effluents, sewage and refuse from the cities of Western Europe, the impact on on-shore breeding colonies of changing land-use and holiday crowds, the pesticide problem, and the development of commercial fisheries - all of these are at this very moment having their effect on the distribution and numbers of seabirds. Further, these birds, by their conspicuousness and the general interest taken in them, often provide the first indication that things are going wrong in the marine environment, as shown by the massive mortality in the Irish Sea in the autumn of 1969, leading to concern about the discharge of PCBs into the sea.
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