Industry and Nature in Harmony

Operation Seabird – enjoy, respect and protect our estuary and coastline

Operation Seabird – enjoy, respect and protect our estuary and coastline

The Humber Estuary is regarded as one of the most important estuaries in Europe for its wildlife and habitats. Home to up to 140,000 breeding and migratory birds, marine mammals such as seals and Harbour Porpoise, all supported by tens of thousands of hectares of delicate habitats protected under UK law.

During the spring and summer months, the reedbeds and shingle on the beaches support elusive and sometimes rare species such as Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Little Tern during their breeding season. Over the autumn and winter months, the land and skies around the Humber Estuary fill with migrating birds such as Pink-Footed Geese, with the rich and fertile habitat providing a welcome food source after their long journey from Scandinavia, Iceland and beyond.

Humber Nature Partnership (which includes local authorities along the Humber and Lincolnshire Coast, Natural England, Environment Agency, RSPB, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and many other stakeholders) have unfortunately received nearly 100 reports of wildlife disturbance from members of the public over the past year, impacting breeding success and overall health of these legally protected species. For this reason, Humberside Police, Lincolnshire Police, RSPCA and Humber Nature Partnership are taking part in Operation Seabird, a multi-agency partnership operation to raise awareness about the importance of the wildlife and habitats on the Humber Estuary and Lincolnshire coastline and to reduce wildlife disturbance.

The operation launches on Friday 4th June at Humberston Fitties (nr. Cleethorpes) with local officers from Humberside and Lincolnshire Police on hand along the Humber and Lincolnshire Coast to support the initiative.

PC Jane Proud (Rural Crime Officer for Humberside Police) said “Due to lockdown restrictions impacting national and international travel over the past year, the number of people visiting our estuary and coastline has skyrocketed. So far this year we have been made aware of 24 incidents including off-roading, low flying paramotors and people carelessly starting fires in tinder-dry vegetation. We want people to visit and enjoy the beautiful landscapes we have on our doorstep, but do so in a way that does not come at the expense to the important species and delicate habitats that we are so lucky to have”.

PC Nick Willey (Force Wildlife and Rural Crime Officer for Lincolnshire Police) said “By following the simple guidance we have produced with Humber Nature Partnership, we can ensure that the wildlife and coastal areas that have given us a welcomed respite during a very difficult year can be enjoyed into the future. Although we don’t want to resort enforcement action, we will not hesitate to do so if it is required”.

RSPCA National Wildlife Coordinator Geoff Edmond said: " I am delighted to see the Humber Nature Partnership joining Operation Seabird, launched in 2020 by the RSPCA and the Police this operation is already making a significant impact in raising awareness and reducing disturbance to our marine and estuary wildlife. Partnership working is the key tackling these issues as more local partnerships and the Marine Management Organisation join the Operation we would encourage that our wildlife can be enjoyed whilst disturbance is reduced."

Op Seabird leaflet final w logos page 001

04 June 2021 by Jackson Sage

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