Dear Reader,

A recent BirdLife study reveals that a staggering 400,000 birds are killed each year in gillnet fisheries. This is the first time the massive scale of this problem has been laid bare - making it clear that urgent action is needed. The study points out that the huge death toll should be viewed as a minimum estimate because of the gaps in data and other factors like ‘ghost fishing’, where lost fishing gear continues to capture birds. In view of these shocking numbers, the current negotiations among EU Fisheries Ministers on reforming the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) become even more essential, something that a coalition of NGOs pointed out in its action All Aboard! which was staged right outside the EU Council building.

Marine and fisheries is only one of the subjects that will be discussed at the upcoming BirdLife International World Congress, which takes place in Ottawa, Canada, during the week of 17 June. The BirdLife Partnership is coming together for what is likely to be an extraordinary event with energising and challenging issues on the agenda, such as our next joint strategy to 2020 and tours into Canada’s wilderness. Working with communities and governments, and across sectors and country borders, BirdLife Partners will demonstrate that it is possible to bring about the changes necessary for a positive future for our planet. As the oldest international conservation organisation – in our 90th year – we have a rich history of pioneering achievements and innovation, which participants will be able to draw on and enrich during the congress.

BirdLife Europe thanks its sponsors HeidelbergCement and Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) for their support and engagement in the Congress.

Welcome to the issue!

Caroline Jacobsson
Head of Communication and Marketing, BirdLife Europe

Take action

Help save the Albatross!
Nowadays 18 of the world's 22 albatross species are at risk of extinction. Find out how you can help save this majestic bird.

Stop killing of migratory birds in Greece
Contribute now to the campaign “Safe havens for Wild Birds” and help to change attitudes towards illegal killing.

Campaign against bird trapping in Egypt
Sign a petition to be sent to the Egyptian and the German government or make a donation to support the work on the ground.

BirdLife Europe e-news
Volume VII, Issue 4, May 2013

Gillnets - a fatal attraction to seabirds

400,000 seabirds are killed each year in gillnet fisheries, more than the estimated number of deaths by longlines, as reveals a study published recently by BirdLife scientists and marine biologist Dr. Ramunas Žydelis. Reducing seabird bycatch is easy for longline and trawl fisheries, but research into similar measures for gillnets has been very limited to date, and further efforts are urgently required. 

The latest on seabird bycatch and the EU fisheries policy reform
The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is currently under negotiations between the European Council, Commission and Parliament.
Green Infrastructure – Enhancing Europe’s Natural Capital On Monday 6th May the European Commission launched a new strategy to encourage the deployment of green infrastructure.

EU legislation to tackle invasive alien species long overdue Research funded by the European Commission has found that there are now over 12,000 alien species in Europe.

How can tourism play an important role in Portuguese seabird conservation?  Tourists have the opportunity to enjoy a bird watching adventure and contribute to the monitoring of several seabirds at some IBAs or during a trip along the coast line.

NABU International launches fund to support families of rangers killed in action About 40 rangers annually lose their lives to poachers in search of ivory and rhino horn in Africa.

World Migratory Bird Day 2013 highlights importance of site networks for migratory birds The weekend 11-12 May World Migratory Bird Day was celebrated in over 65 countries, including events held by BirdLife Partners around the world from Paraguay to Lebanon to China.

BirdLife on the move

All aboard for sustainable fisheries! On Monday 13th May, the day of the opening of the EU Fisheries Council in Brussels, BirdLife Europe together with other NGOs, politicians, fishermen and chefs joined forces to stop overfishing and preserve our oceans in the campaign All Aboard!

Watch swallows dance in Croatia You can see for yourself how beautiful they are via the Spring Alive YouTube channel, where you can find a video film shared by Partner from Croatia Association BIOM.

What's more

Awareness on biodiversity is growing worldwide The summit of the St. Michael and St. Gudula cathedral is the breeding home of a pair of these birds for the tenth year in a row.

Watch that

  • Carbon Omissions: how the UK outsourced its carbon footprint – video animation
  • Green shoots nature photography
    The Guardian asked readers for photos of migrant species coming and going with the change of season. Here is the pick of the best.


BirdLife-HeidelbergCement Partnership - Breaking New Ground

On the occasion of the BirdLife International World Congress in Ottawa HeidelbergCement organises the side event ‘Emerging Markets and Biodiversity’. It takes place on Thursday 20 June 2013 at 12H00-14H00.

The event will focus on HeidelbergCement’s approach to biodiversity and its integration into the group’s business model and sustainability strategy. It will also celebrate the HeidelbergCement  - BirdLife Partnership as a key tool for achieving the sustainability ambitions.

The event includes the premiere of ‘Giving nature a second chance’, a film produced jointly by BirdLife and HeidelbergCement describing the opportunities that quarries provide to biodiversity development. It was shot at HeidelbergCement quarries in Germany in April 2013, and filmed by Jake Churchill.

The launch of the book Quarry Life – Quarry Wonders, together with a photo exhibition, will also take place.

The event will provide a particular focus on Emerging Markets in Africa and South-East Asia, mainly on the following questions:
- What are the key expectations from the conservation NGO side towards the industry in order to establish similar partnership in emerging countries?
- What is the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ model? Is such a “European” model also feasible and suitable?

Attending from HeidelbergCement:
- Dr. Michael Rademacher, Global Manager Biodiversity and Natural Resources
- Thomas Chizmadia, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Public Relations and Sustainability

For more information please contact Caroline Jacobsson, Head of Communications and Marketing at BirdLife Europe.


Golf - problem or opportunity?

Golf Environment Organization (Geo) is sponsoring the BirdLife International World Congress in Ottawa with a workshop taking place on 18 June.
There are currently over 33,000 golf courses located in 200 countries, and with the sport accepted back into the Olympics from 2016 thousands more are predicted for development in regions such as Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, South and Central America. Are those existing golf courses environmental and community assets? Are they maximising their ecological value and resource efficiency? What might be the social and environmental impacts of the sport's expansion? What are the solutions for sustainable golf? This workshop will explore the real issues and inform golf's forward strategy for sustainable development. 

  • Welcome from the Canadian Golf Association
  • Golf on One Planet - Jonathan Smith, Golf Environment Organization
  • Industry response - actions towards a more sustainable future - Steve Isaac, R&A and Kimberly Erusha, USGA
  • Roadmap - Jonathan Smith, GEO
  • Open discussion chaired by Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy, BirdLife Europe
Contact: Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive at Golf Environment Organization.

Fundraising Opportunities

30 May (pre-registration): French Biodiversity Research Foundation (FRB)
1st June: Europe for citizens Programme
3 June: UKRAINE - Neigbourhood Civil Society facility 2012 (Environment and rural development components included)
17 June: TURKEY - Civil Society Facillity
17 June: Fondation pour une terre humaine
25 June: LIFE +

30 June: Central European Initiative
15 August - 20 October: Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
10 September: Philip Henman Trust
1 October: Prince Bernhard Nature Fund
31 October: Birdfair/RSPB Research Fund for Endangered Birds 

For more information please contact Stefania MacchioniGrant Writing and Donor Management Officer at BirdLife Europe.

International Events

19 - 22 June: BirdLife International World Congress in Ottawa, Canada

January - June 2013: Irish Presidency of the EU. Learn more about BirdLife Europe's recommendations for a successful Presidency

23 - 24 May, Romania: "Mountain Hay Meadows - economic, social and envionmental value" Conference. More details.

May - June 2013: Bristol, Brussels, Glasgow and Ljubljana shortlisted for European Green Capital 2015! More details.

The latest on seabird bycatch and the EU fisheries policy reform

In November last year the European Commission adopted the long-awaited EU Action Plan for reducing incidental catches of seabirds in EU fishing gears. An issue that Birdlife has been campaigning on for over 10 years. In April this year the EU Fisheries Council discussed the action plan for the first time.

However, this was not the whole story, and it seems that many Member States were concerned about the lack of data and scientific evidence on seabird bycatch and lack of impact assessment, and the Irish EU Presidency concluded not to take the action plan forward at this stage and not to draft any EU Council conclusions on it either.

This is clearly very disappointing to BirdLife, since we were hoping to have the fisheries ministers endorse the action plan and commit to a robust implementation. Now it is down to the Commission to take the action plan forward; in May they gave other stakeholders, such as NGOs, the opportunity to meet in a workshop to express their opinion, and BirdLife was represented by Euan Dunn, RSPB and Pep Arcos, SEO.

The Commission will also establish a database for seabird bycatch by the end of the year and provide a new report to the fisheries council on the action plan and the status of its implementation in a years’ time. This means that we still need to keep up our efforts to highlight the importance of the action plan to stop seabird bycatch in EU fisheries and show that scientific evidence does exist and advocate for seabird data to be collected and mitigation measures to be included in the new technical conservation measures framework.

Status of Common Fisheries Policy reform and the Fisheries Fund

The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is currently under negotiations between the Council, Commission and Parliament (the so called trialogue). NGOs were very pleased by the Parliament vote on the CFP reform in February, which was very progressive and went beyond the Commission’s proposal. The Council, however, has been reluctant to take steps for more environmentally friendly fishing rules and recovery of fish stocks and together with other NGOs we have been targeting EU fisheries ministers to encourage them to take responsibility and adjust their position closer to the Parliament’s so that compromises could be reached.

The Irish EU Presidency aims to conclude the CFP negotiations by end of June, and the EU Fisheries Council on 13-14 May focused on readjusting the Council position and mandate for the trialogue negotiations. Birdlife will keep on advocating for more a sustainable EU fisheries policy and hopefully we’ll have new legislations in place by 2014.

The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is part of the CFP negotiations, but is severely lacking behind in progress, although the Council has agreed on their partial general approach and the vote in the Parliament has been delayed until July. Due to further process the new EMFF might not be agreed upon before 2014 when it is actually meant to already be operational.

It is concerning the level of ambition for the EMFF in the Parliament and the potential inclusion of an increase of fishing capacity in the new fund. Birdlife would like to see financing for the new EMFF to be used for measures that are environmentally beneficial, such as the implementation of the seabird action plan, data collection on impacts of fisheries on the environment, restoration of habitats and Natura 2000 conservation.

In the BirdLife workshop on EMFF held in May we invited Partners to exchange experiences about national programming for EU funds and to plan engagement and how to ensure more funds for environment in the next EMFF financing period 2014-2020.

Awareness on biodiversity is growing worldwide

75% of consumers worldwide are aware of biodiversity, while 48% can give a correct definition of the term, as reveals the 2013 Biodiversity Barometer report launched by the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT). The study, a survey conducted among 6,000 people in six countries, also shows that consumers in Brazil, China and France have a particular concern about the issue.
The report emphasises that biodiversity gives branding opportunities for companies, especially for those targeting young consumers. “The results not only demonstrate a growing consciousness, they also show that respecting biodiversity provides tremendous opportunities for business around the world”, says Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary for the Convention on Biological Diversity. The barometer identifies biodiversity reporting in corporate communication as still weak in beauty companies, and points to the consumers' demand on more information about environmental care in sourcing and production processes.

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This publication receives its support by the European Commission and the RSPB