RSPB- Global seabird appeal-

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Our appeals

Global Seabird appeal

Every year, hundreds of thousands of seabirds drown needlessly in fishing gear


A fishing catastrophe is driving seabirds to extinction. You can help save hundreds of thousands of seabirds from drowning needlessly every year.

Imagine diving into the sea, only to find yourself trapped beneath the surface, never to take another breath. That’s how hundreds of thousands of seabirds are dying every year, when they dive for food and get caught in fishing gear.

Known as ‘bycatch’, this is a global issue that has dragged the most iconic group of seabirds, the albatrosses, among others, into the depths of an extinction crisis. But you can help prevent these tragic losses, by donating to the RSPB’s Global Seabird Appeal today.

What we’ll be doing

Your donation is critical for two RSPB-led projects that protect seabirds from fishing gear.

Firstly, you can help to build on the Albatross Task Force’s (ATF) decade of progress, successfully protecting albatrosses in the Southern Hemisphere. Secondly, you can help the BirdLife Seabird Task Force – a joint RSPB-BirdLife International project – follow in the ATF’s footsteps as we seek to tackle a major emerging threat to the world’s seabirds – gillnet fisheries.

Nobody wants to see seabirds drowning. Especially the world’s fishermen. That’s why we’re collaborating with them, working shoulder-to-shoulder to overcome this global crisis.

Turn the tide with the Albatross Task Force

Interview with the RSPB’s Oli Yates

For 10 years, the Albatross Task Force (ATF) has been working in eight different countries, taking to the oceans in the name of scientific research, tackling 10 of the most deadly fisheries for albatrosses in the world.

Our dedicated instructors work alongside fishermen in notoriously difficult conditions, even battling the tempestuous South Atlantic Ocean. It’s a gruesome part of day-to-day life to see the corpse of a giant bird, with a wingspan of over three metres, being hauled on deck.

But, by working with fishermen who want to protect these wonderful birds, and by utilising many years of knowledge on how to solve this problem, the ATF have focused on three methods that are highly effective:

  • colourful streamers that scare away seabirds
  • weights to sink dangerous hooks out of reach of the birds
  • setting the lines at night when fewer seabirds are active.

These methods have been adopted in 7 out of 10 of our priority fisheries. It’s huge progress in a short period of time. But, still, albatrosses are fighting extinction. Your donation is crucial for the ATF’s next five years, when you can help to strengthen and broaden our work.

The birds affected

Velvet scoter drowned in gillnet
Black-browed albatross drowned in fishing gear
Black-browed albatross chick

Gillnets – a catastrophe for seabirds

While albatrosses are needlessly drowning due to longline and trawl fisheries, gillnetting is an even more deadly form of fishing that, worldwide, is killing yet more seabirds.

Gillnets are made from a fine nylon that’s essentially invisible underwater. The fishermen only want to catch fish – but they’re also entangling over 400,000 seabirds a year, including guillemots, razorbills and long-tailed ducks.

You can help by supporting BirdLife International’s Seabird Task Force with your gift today. Your donation today can help us:

  • pinpoint the most dangerous fisheries
  • find ways to make gillnets more visible for seabirds
  • work with fishermen to find the best methods
  • put our research into practice worldwide.

As we’ve seen in the achievements of the ATF, this is truly a model of success. It means we can go to fisheries across the globe and show them that we can be trusted, that our methods work, and that our only agenda is to stop seabirds from dying.

But, for the inspiring work of our Task Forces to continue over the next five years, they desperately require funding. To save the lives of hundreds of thousands of seabirds, we need your help.

Donate now

Donating online is easy and ensures that more of your money is used for conservation.

Donate now

Or you can also donate by:

Telephone: Our Supporter Services team can also take donations over the phone. Call 01767 693 680, 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday

Post: We can accept donations by cheque too. Please make cheques payable to The RSPB and send them to: Global Seabird appeal, The RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL

Why we need your help

More than 100,000 albatrosses still die in fishing gear each year, but the Albatross Task Force has developed methods to stop this. Meantime, gillnets entangle over 400,000 seabirds a year, but fishermen are desperate for a solution to these unnecessary deaths. Please help to get our sealife off the hook.

£10could pay towards equipment for a Task Force instructor
£25could pay towards sending a Task Force instructor to sea for a day
£50could pay towards our vital advocacy work.

Donate today

Global Seabird appeal

A fishing catastrophe is driving seabirds to extinction. You can help save hundreds of thousands of seabirds from drowning needlessly every year.

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