Report 556
Determining important marine areas used by European shag breeding on the Isle of May that might merit consideration as additional SPAs
(2015)
Daunt, F., Bogdanova, M., McDonald, C. & Wanless, S.
This report presents analyses of locational data collected from adult European shags breeding on the Isle of May, Scotland from 1987-2010 using animal borne instrumentation. Data were available from 16 years, comprising 322 individuals, 1,111 foraging trips and 20,100 foraging locations.
 

Introduction

Absolute obligations under the EC Birds Directive (EEC 1979) include the creation of a network of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for those birds on Annex I of the Directive and for regularly occurring migratory birds.  In the UK, a programme aimed at establishing such a network has been ongoing since the 1980s.  This programme has focussed almost exclusively on the terrestrial and coastal habitats, but since 2001 the focus has broadened to consider important bird concentrations using marine habitats.  This work has been undertaken by JNCC, where appropriate on behalf of, and with funding from, the statutory nature conservation agencies.

All species of seabird that occur in the UK, with the exception of the black guillemot, are regarded as migratory and several are on Annex I of the Birds Directive.  Most species of duck, grebe and diver that use marine habitats are also migratory and/or on Annex I of the Directive.  Consequently, the most suitable territories at sea for these species must be classified as SPAs.

The European shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis, a medium-sized member of the cormorant family, breeds around much of the UK.  This species, as with others that feed inshore, has not been adequately surveyed in all areas using this method, so alternative approaches are required.  It is considered to be migratory and thereby SPAs should be identified for it.  To date, 13 breeding colony SPAs have been classified for the species, none of which has a marine component. 
 

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ISSN 0963 8901
 
Please cite as: Daunt, F., Bogdanova, M., McDonald, C. & Wanless, S., (2015), Determining important marine areas used by European shag breeding on the Isle of May that might merit consideration as additional SPAs, JNCC Report 556, ISSN 0963 8901