Research conducted in Malta shared at two international seabird conferences

October 17, 2016 3:26 pm

Last week, BirdLife Malta attended a meeting in Paris to develop the Species Action Plan for Yelkouan Shearwater, joined by leading bird researchers and experts from Spain, Italy, France, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Libya, Croatia, Malta, Tunisia, Bulgaria and the UK as part of the LIFE EuroSAP project.

The EU-funded project, which is led by BirdLife International, aims to tackle the threats that affect the conservation of iconic birds in Europe, covering a total of 16 species including the Yelkouan Shearwater.


(From left to right) Paulo Lago, Marie Claire Gatt and Ben Metzger at the 6th International Albatross and Petrel Conference (IAPC6) in Barcelona (Photo by Teresa Militao)

During the meeting, BirdLife Malta’s former and current LIFE Arċipelagu Garnija Project Managers Benjamin Metzger and Paulo Lago updated important information about the status of the Yelkouan Shearwater populations in  Malta and together with yelkouan experts worked to identify the main threats and priority conservation actions. Many of the threats this species face are common across a number of countries including predation by rats, light pollution from land and vessels, and disturbance in the colonies.

The Paris meeting also follows from BirdLife Malta’s recent attendance at the sixth International Albatross and Petrel Conference (IAPC6) in Barcelona on the 19th-23rd September to share information on its pioneering seabird research in which Project Manager, Paulo Lago gave a presentation on ‘Integrating multiple data sources to identify marine protected areas for shearwaters and storm petrels in Malta’.


Group photo of the Marine Task Force meeting in Barcelona

At the same conference the seabird researcher and BirdLife Malta volunteer, Marie Claire Gatt gave another presentation on ‘GPS tracks reveal movements of Yelkouan Shearwaters Puffinus yelkouan during the pre-laying period’. This was also followed by attendance at the Marine Task Force meeting with other BirdLife partners to review the European BirdLife Marine Strategy up until 2020.

Paulo Lago said: “It was a pleasure to attend the IAPC6 and a very interesting experience to meet some of the most important seabird researchers in the world. We were able to learn important lessons that can be applied to our current LIFE Arċipelagu Garnija project. This conference in Barcelona was a starting point for collaboration with seabird researchers that we expect will improve the quality of our research and the outcome of the conservation actions to secure Yelkouan Shearwater colonies in Malta.”

Read the Maltese version of the press release here.