For the 25th time, BirdLife International is inviting people throughout Europe and Central Asia to discover the fascinating world of bird migration on the 6th October. At this time of the year, millions of migratory birds leave Europe and fly to their wintering grounds in Africa.
With the arrival of the 2018 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) fishing season, the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS) would again like to state its position regarding the conservation of this species.
The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/21860/0), which is considered the most authoritative guide to species’ conservation status. Under the scientific criteria that it uses, the IUCN considers that the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna “faces a high risk of extinction in the near future”, with the assessment for the species stating that it “has become rare relative to historical levels because of massive overfishing”.
GONHS urges the Government not to raise the quota later on in the season, as it did last year. Furthermore, although the introduction of regulation was a positive step in principle, GONHS believes that Gibraltar’s quota should be lowered to bring it in line with that of other Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic jurisdictions, all of which have proportionally much smaller quotas.
GONHS believes that Gibraltar should lead by example in the conservation of this endangered species and as such, should explore the possibility of not allowing the landing of tuna, which could be replaced instead with a tag-and-release programme. This would make sense in Gibraltar, where there is no recognised commercial fishing of tuna and all tuna fishing is supposedly recreational.
GONHS welcomes the Government of Gibraltar’s establishment of a Dolphin Protection Zone within the Bay of Gibraltar, in order to prohibit tuna-fishing methods that can be harmful to dolphins, and also supports the new requirement for anglers to report catches of billfish species. This should be coupled with a more realistic approach to Atlantic Bluefin Tuna conservation that is commensurate with the species’ conservation status.
GONHS notes that HM Government of Gibraltar (HMGoG) presented its plans to construct a new car park at Grand Parade at the most recent meeting of the Development and Planning Commission. Our organisation has a number of concerns regarding this proposed development, which we outlined at this meeting and in a letter to the Minister for the Environment.
The increase in parking spaces shall inevitably lead to an overall increase in traffic and emissions in an already congested Gibraltar, with the consequent adverse effects to the environment. GOG should instead be looking to encourage the public to drive less and consider either walking or using the bus service, which is free.
Although GONHS accepts that the area is currently covered in tarmac, the proposal would place two storeys where there is currently an open area that is surrounded by gardens. This is the last remaining open area until Europa Flats to the south and Commonwealth Park to the north.
We can also expect considerable disruption and air pollution due to dust and increased emissions during the construction phase, as well as noise pollution, which will inevitably have an adverse impact on wildlife within the Alameda Gardens, such as the Spotted Flycatcher, which breeds nowhere else on the Rock.
GONHS urges the Government to consider a more imaginative and environmentally friendly approach, both to the area and traffic management in Gibraltar.
Millions of migrating birds are leaving Europe towards their wintering sites in Africa. Birds overcome thousands of kilometres and many dangers along their flyways. BirdLife Europe organises a Europe-wide event for people to discover the fascinating world of bird migration.
This year, 40 of the national partners of BirdLife International in Europe invite people to observe and learn about bird migration. GONHS will hold two events to celebrate EuroBirdwatch in Gibraltar: a sea watch from Europa Point during the afternoon of Sunday 1st October (3-6 pm) and our typical activities at the Alameda Gardens, including bird ringing and a bird of prey display, on Saturday 7th October as from 9 am.
The main aim of EuroBirdwatch is to bring people closer to nature by watching birds and observing their migration. All of the results from events are collected and compiled. Last year, EuroBirdwatch involved 37 Partners and almost 30.000 participants, who observed the fascinating migration of seven million birds, including many rare and interesting species.
For further information on European Birdwatch please visit: www.eurobirdwatch.eu
BirdLife International is a global alliance of conservation organizations working in more than 120 countries, which, together, form the leading authority on the status of birds, their habitats and the issues and problems affecting bird life.
Please also see our Events page where you can also find links to these events on our Facebook page.