The waters off the southern African coast are one of the most productive in the world, thanks to the cold upwelled waters of the Benguela Current bringing nutrients to the surface layers. In addition to the Southern Ocean specialists such as albatrosses and petrels that frequent our waters, South Africa has several species of seabirds that breed on the mainland or inshore islands. Many of these birds are under threat from human activities including fishing, oil spills and the expanding ocean economy and climate change.
The Coastal Seabirds programme aims to conserve some of these threatened and iconic seabirds. Our work includes species-focused projects such as those on the African Penguin (see below and here to read about our work to create new penguin colonies) as well as larger scale efforts to ensure fish stocks are managed to take seabirds into account and to protect important seabird habitats. BirdLife South Africa’s work on coastal seabirds is supported primarily by the Charl van der Merwe Trust and the Isdell Family Foundation.