At the end of 2023, the implementation of the LIFE Artina project ended. Over the past 5 years we have been working on improving the conservation status of three globally and/or regionally endangered seabirds in the Adriatic: Yelkouan shearwater, Scopoli’s shearwater and Audouin’s gull. During the implementation of the project on Lastovo we managed to greatly improve breeding conditions for these birds through the removal and population control of invasive mammals on the seabird colonies, in particular for both shearwater species.
The next steps should now focus on also improving the conditions for these species at sea. Based on GPS-tracking and movement analyses the LIFE Artina team designated the first fully marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas – IBAs in Croatia, and proposed the expansion of two existing IBAs. In 2024, each of these sites should be converted into a Special Protection Areas (SPA) and become part of the Natura 2000 network in Croatia. These SPAs will have management objectives and measures in place to make sure that threats to seabirds will be mitigated. Threats such as seabird bycatch, overfishing, marine pollution, climate change and energy infrastructure.
As part of LIFE Artina, we made some first steps in dealing with these threats, for example by engaging with fishermen to test different types of modified fishing gear in order to find ways to mitigate seabird bycatch. However, we have just started scratching the surface, while the pressure on the marine domain is increasing, even more so now with the development of renewables. To address these issues, the LIFE Artina project has created two policy briefs. The first is about bird-friendly marine policy and the second is a policy brief focused on seabird bycatch.
Policy briefs were sent to relevant stakeholders at national and international level. This includes ministries responsible for nature protection and fisheries, public institutions for the management of protected and Natura 2000 areas, institutions, non-governmental organizations, and networks dealing with nature conservation, local action groups in fisheries (FLAGs), as well as representatives of the EU Parliament who deal with environmental and fisheries issues.
We hope that these policy briefs will be an inspiration to continue working together to preserve seabirds in the years to come.