Professor Robert Furness, SNH board member ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Seminar Presentation - Seabirds as monitors of pollutants and fisheries, and the challenge of conserving seabird populations - Professor Bob Furness

Bob Furness has a longstanding interest in seabirds as monitors of marine pollutants and fisheries. He is a member of NatureScot Board, was Professor of Seabird and Fishing Interactions at Glasgow University, has chaired several ICES working groups and now mainly works on assessing impacts of offshore wind farms on seabirds.

Seabirds are one of the ‘crown jewels’ of Scotland’s outstanding wildlife. Thanks to huge efforts of amateur and professional ornithologists we know a huge amount about the numbers and ecology of our seabirds. I will particularly outline some examples of how seabirds can be useful as monitors of marine pollutants and fisheries. We have over 70 seabird colonies designated as Special Protection Areas for about 24 species of breeding seabirds. However, almost all of our seabirds are declining in numbers. The main drivers of seabird decline are introduced alien predators, fisheries and climate change. However, rapid development of offshore wind farms represents an additional and highly uncertain threat. Only now are we developing a seabird conservation strategy for Scotland. Can it be effective?

Presentation given in Edinburgh, 30 October 2019


NatureScot Seminar 2019.

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