2014 was the worst year for bird breeding on Skomer,Island.
One school of thought places the blame on the winter storms,but fails to take historic factors into account..
Returning birds down by a half , only a quarter of those nesting reared one chick.
Only half of these will survive leaving the island for the open sea.
Overfishing is one of the important reasons,factory fishing of sand eels for fertiliser pet food and as food for salmon farming,leaving only species such as pipefish with little food value for the birds to feed their young.
Acidification of seawater by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide a very small change in the Ph from alkalinity towards acid affects the efficiency of all fertilisation membranes.
This affects the breeding of their food sources pelagic surface living fish.
Seabirds which breed on Skomer are long lived, we have not taken account of the increase of ultra violet light which causes cataracts among other changes in visual acuity.
We can see the effects of increasing exposure to UV causing an increase of cataracts in human beings, spectacles prescribed for our children are now being fitted with lenses which block Ultra Violet light,our sea going friends, birds, cannot wear sun glasses.
Past experience has shown that man facilitated disease organisms can spread rapidly through these dense nesting colonies.
We cannot quantify the coastal effects of land based viruses on marine organisms as we no longer use methods to kill them before they are released form our sewage sea outfalls.
Sea bird colonies and seals are vulnerable to disturbance non existent in 1955, 2014 an overwhelming 24 hour revenue raising human presence.
There are few undisturbed and undegraded spaces on our coasts, access for human leisure must not be allowed to cause further harm.
Annual Report SWWNT 2014
University of Bristol