Threats and protection of seabirds

Threats and risk factors

Various factors in the life history of seabirds make them particularly vulnerable to the effects of human activities in the marine environment. For example:

Due to these factors, the deaths of breeding adults can have a substantial impact on populations over time.

Some of the threats and risks that can result in death to seabirds and potentially affect their populations are described below.

Interactions with fisheries

The unintentional catch (bycatch) of seabirds from fisheries is an issue affecting thousands of seabirds each year in Canada.

Seabirds are particularly vulnerable to longline, gillnet and trawl fisheries’ activities:

A combination of factors contribute to the vulnerability of seabirds to injury or death from bycatch:

Presence of debris in the marine environment

Contact with oil

Attraction to offshore structures

Other threats to seabirds

Protecting seabirds and reducing threats

Most seabirds are protected by laws or regulations.

Find out about Canada’s role in reducing the risk of seabird mortality from human activities at sea.

To address the sources of chronic oil pollution, Canada:

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