Populations of seabirds in the circumpolar region are large and diverse. These species are important components of Arctic ecosystems, and are culturally and economically important for local communities. Since seabirds travel great distances over both marine and terrestrial environments, they are excellent indicators of overall ecosystem health.
Arctic countries often share the same seabird populations. Consequently, there is a joint and equal responsibility for the conservation of seabirds in and outside the Arctic.
The Circumpolar Seabird Monitoring Plan (Irons et al. 2015; CAFF Monitoring Report No. 17) included the USA seabird monitoring sites and actions, which are primarily implemented by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). In turn, the USFWS, through collaboration with other CBird members, refined their monitoring scheme to facilitate comparisons across circumpolar regions, with a focus on three key Focal Ecosystem Components - thick-billed murres, common murres, and black-legged kittiwakes.
The UK's involvement in the CAFF CBIRD group is driven by the following priorities:
Our UK Arctic Policy Framework which has a commitment to help understand and protect the Arctic environment and is based on the principle of respect for the sovereign rights of the Arctic States, the indigenous peoples and others who live there, and for the Arctic environment;
our implementation of multi-lateral environmental agreements which are relevant to the Arctic (AEWA, CBD, CITES and others) including related targets such as the Aichi targets;
our desire to cooperate in the conservation of migratory wildlife we share with the Arctic; and,
our willingness to share the data we gather, whether from the UK or elsewhere, on such shared wildlife.
CBird addresses and coordinates work on issues related to seabird management and research that are very relevant for seabird research and management at the national level in Norway. Issues of particular relevance for Norway are international status assessments (e.g. SAMBR), species-specific conservation strategies and action plans (eiders, guillemots, ivory gull), assessments of seabird harvest and bycatch of seabirds in fisheries, and the development of a joint seabird monitoring programme for the circumpolar Arctic.
CBird helps putting the national work into a larger context and facilitates contact between scientist and managers in the Arctic countries.