The incredible wildlife found in the waters around the Falkland Islands are not its only users; others include fishing, tourism, oil exploration and international freight. To ensure the use of the marine environment is sustainable, can provide for future generations, and does not damage the significant biodiversity of the Islands, management is necessary.
Damaging practices can be modified to mitigate impacts and valuable areas in the ocean can be identified and protected. Falklands Conservation are advocating for strong and sustainable use of the marine areas, are supporting marine spatial planning, monitoring key indicators of the health of the marine environment, and progressing the network of marine Key Biodiversity Areas.
KEY BIODIVERSITY AREAS
Key Biodiversity Areas are an important tool in the marine management process. They provide international and data-driven recognition that an area is vitally important for certain species, and contributes to global biodiversity of life. Through two Darwin Plus projects we have achieved Key Biodiversity Area qualifications for 10 native species.
We began studying sei whales in Falklands’ waters in 2016, and our multiple years of data have highlighted the special importance of the region for this Endangered species. We began the process of achieving international recognition of Falklands’ inshore waters as a Key Biodiversity Area for sei whales in 2020, and our application was successful in April 2021. This was the first KBA for sei whales anywhere globally.
To complement this work, Falklands Conservation also investigated the waters of the Falklands to see if the coastal regions reached the KBA criteria for a range of seabirds, including gentoo penguins, endemic steamer ducks, black-browed albatrosses, and kelp gulls. This Darwin-Plus funded project culminated in the fantastic achievement that Falklands’ inshore waters were confirmed as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) for nine seabird species in April 2022.
Seabird KBA Project
As well as advocating for a sustainable use and management of the fantastic marine areas of the Falkland Islands, Falklands Conservation also respond to wildlife emergencies. If you find wildlife in distress, or see evidence of disease at seabird colonies, please contact us.