Industry and Nature in Harmony

Operation Seabird 2022 launches ahead of Easter break

Operation Seabird 2022 launches ahead of Easter break

The launch of this year’s Operation Seabird will take place on Thursday 14th April, with organisations across the Yorkshire, Humber and Lincolnshire coast coming together to raise awareness of our spectacular wildlife.  First launched in August 2020 on the Flamborough Headland, the Humber Nature Partnership will be supporting this day of action, as the coastline prepares for the Easter break.  The day will involve visible police patrols along the Humber Estuary European Marine Site to look out for disturbance and antisocial behaviour, and offer advice to visitors about how they can minimise their impact on our coastal wildlife.

Regarded as one of the most important estuaries in Europe for its wildlife and habitats, the Humber Estuary is home to a number of protected bird species and vital habitats. 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) unfortunately received nearly 100 reports of wildlife disturbance from members of the public during 2021. Many of these incidents were likely by people who did not know they were causing an issue such as impacting breeding success or the overall health of these legally protected species and habitats.

Wildlife and Heritage Crime Officer Richard Fussey said: “Unfortunately we have a number of reports each year of members of the public on the water, approaching too closely to the wildlife that lives in the area, including the nesting seabirds and marine mammals. The key focus of Operation Seabird is to ensure that members of the public who are using the waters along the Yorkshire coast and Humber Estuary do so in a responsible way. We want to ensure they keep their distance from the wildlife to prevent intentional disturbance and to safeguard this stretch of coastline, allowing future generations to enjoy the spectacle we see today.”

Jackson Sage, Project Manager for the Humber Management Scheme at Humber Nature Partnership saidThe Humber Estuary is 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. We want people to enjoy the beautiful landscapes we have on our doorstep, but do so in a way that does not come at the expense of the important species and habitats that we are so lucky to have.”

Inspector Geoff Edmond, National Wildlife Coordinator for the RSPCA said “Operation Seabird has gone from strength to strength since the beginnings in Humberside and North Yorkshire and it is encouraging to see it being adopted further across England and now in Wales in 2022. April 14th sees it launch again where it started which shows how popular this initiative has become in encouraging people to enjoy the wonderful marine life off our coastline but to respect it and enjoy it from a distance. Working in partnership has really embraced the many organisations involved to raise awareness and I would like to thank our partners in the Police Wildlife and Rural Crime teams in Humberside, North Yorkshire and across the country who are working together to make this happen.”

Heather Davison-Smith, Development Officer for the Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership saidOperation Seabird action days are a great opportunity to highlight how important our marine wildlife is, but also how sensitive it can be.  Through this initiative, and the Partnership’s work around protected areas like Flamborough and Filey, we’re really encouraging everyone to be mindful of their actions.  The simple message is: Enjoy spending time in nature.”

More information about how to responsibly enjoy our great outdoors can be found on Countryside Code ( or the Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership website (

14 April 2022 by Jackson Sage

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