Operation Seafarer was a census conducted in 1969 -
1970 by the then recently formed Seabird Group. Over 1000
surveyors took part, co-ordinated by David Saunders, guided by a
Census Committee chaired by James Fisher, who sadly died in
1969 before the project was completed. Coverage was confined
to coastal colonies but was thought to be complete apart from gaps
in Foula, Shetland and in Caithness.
Operation Seafarer provided the first comprehensive, detailed
account of the abundance and distribution of seabirds breeding
around the coasts of Britain and Ireland. However, the work also
highlighted major problems in accurately counting some species,
particularly storm-petrels, Manx Shearwaters, Razorbills, Common
Guillemots, Black Guillemots, and Atlantic Puffins.
The results of Operation Seafarer are
published in: Cramp, S., Bourne, W.R.P. & Sanders, D. 1974. The
Seabirds of Britain and Ireland. Collins, London.
The data from Operation Seafarer
was entered on to the SCR database and summarised by Lloyd
et al. (1991) in order to compare directly with the
results of the SCR Census and to take account of changing
administrative boundaries between the two censuses.