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.
In 2017, Falklands Conservation started a programme to survey sei whales and other cetaceans in the near-shore waters of the Falkland Islands. The result of this process was an application for the near-shore region to be designated a Key Biodiversity Area for sei whales. It is expected for the application to be confirmed in mid-2021, and once official this will be not only the first KBA in the world for the endangered sei, but for any whale species.
To complement this work, Falklands Conservation are also investigating the waters of the Falklands to see if the coastal regions reach the KBA criteria for a range of seabirds, including gentoo penguins, endemic steamer ducks, black-browed albatrosses, and kelp gulls. This project, titled “Unlocking Falkland Islands Marine Management: Key Biodiversity Areas for Seabirds”, and funded by Darwin Plus, will be reviewing all available data to identify regions that are of special importance to seabirds. Community engagement will form an important part of this work.
Sei Whale Projects
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.