Final Notes on the World Seabird Conference

Keith and Viv have now wrapped up their time at the World Seabird Conference, and have been busily telling us about the connections made and ideas gained. With over 600 scientists, biologists, students, community activitists and representatives from environmental organizations spanning 52 countries, it was 3 rich days of learning and exchange. Keith's talk and Viv's poster on citizen science were both extremely well received, and we've been making plans for the 2016 field season based on what was learned.

I learned a lot that we will be able to incorporate into planning for the future of LBCS, and I met so many people. It is important that the society continues to undertake relevant and important research, and with the new knowledge gained and new connections that we made I will be able to continue to help LBCS do this in the future.
— Viv Pattison

Presentations at the conference show that many of the seabird species in the world - the penguins, the albatrosses, the petrels, the terns and others - are in great trouble. They are impacted by global climate change, disappearing sea ice, warming ocean temperatures, diminished fish stocks, conflicts with fisheries and especially the impacts of introduced predators. Fortunately, much is now being done to find ways to address some of these threats and to improve and restore seabird colonies, especially through programs that connect scientists, local community activists and NGOs.

What we are doing is very much in line with what is starting to happen with seabird conservation in many other parts of the world. Even at Limestone Island, and here on Haida Gwaii, we see some of the same impacts. Over the years, LBCS, in our small way, has pioneered an approach that is now being developed globally. It was very rewarding to see that we are part of a global network of people getting local communities more involved in the global environmental issues.
— Keith Moore

A few resources from the conference that might be of interest...

A great video by the World Seabird Conference highlighting some of the amazing seabird research going on around the world. Keith is near the end!

Days 3 and 4 at the World Seabird Conference

Hello again from Capetown.  Day 3 was a big day for LBCS at the conference.  Viv unveiled our poster in the morning and talked to many people through the day and at the reception in the evening.  Keith did a 15 minute presentation to about 60 people as part of a 5 paper symposium entitled Community-Based Seabird Conservationand then joined a follow-up Discussion Workshop with about 15 people on this subject.   It is pretty clear from both the responses to the poster and from the feedback following the presentation that LBCS is pioneering a program of community participation that is not yet common in the world, but that is increasingly seen as a model for an approach to island restoration and seabird conservation that increasingly needs to be adopted by the research and scientific communities in other parts of the world.  We received praise from numerous people from different parts of the world and quite a few expressions of interest in our volunteer and internship programs.  It was a fun day.
We actually met up with 4 different people who were, years ago, volunteers on Limestone, and who are now researchers working in different institutions in Canada and Europe.  It was really rewarding to talk with them.  We also talked with Ken Summers who did the first ANMU survey on East Limestone back in 1971 and CWS biologists and university profs who knew about what we do.

Viv and a past LBCS volunteer

Friday featured some really good sessions on programs to eradicate invasive predators and restore seabird colonies and on the new global approaches to funding these programs.     Many of the seabird populations in the world are in serious decline and in serious trouble, and seabirds dominate the IUCN red lists of threatened and endangered species – this as a consequence of many factors, but primarily invasive predators, over fishing of seabird food stocks, fisheries by-catch of seabirds in nets and on long-lines,  and global warming.  But the good news on Friday is that there are now quite a number of successes in eradicating various introduced predators and restoring and expanding seabird populations on over 1000 islands around the world.  Islands Conservation is a big player in this around the world, and they mentioned LBCS a couple of time in presentations.  In addition, there are many innovations to address the fishing issues, usually involving communities and fishermen.  So all of these new approaches involve serious engagement with local communities, and there has been some significant change in the approach of researchers and scientists, even since the first WSC in Victoria in 2010.
Attending this conference has been a great experience for Keith and Viv.  We have met and shared ideas with many people, and we are preparing ideas to share with LBCS directors and the community, and preparing for a strategy session in February 2016.  We are already following up with some of the people we met.

Days 1 and 2 at the World Seabird Conference

Viv and I have now wrapped up two full days of sessions and symposiums at WSC2!

View of Table Mountain from the conference centre

We have filled our days with presentations and workshops on topics ranging from the impacts of fisheries bycatch and windfarm development and ocean warming, to seabird navigation, the status of the worlds 22 penguin species and many other topics. There has also been lots of time for meeting up with people we already know, and meeting new people.

We both attended the opening video address by Jane Goodall, which was bothinspiring and a challenge to do more to protect the world seabirds.

LBCS was featured in a video compilation during that Opening Session - a video that Lindsay and Keith shot on Limestone this summer. Our main events happen tomorrow: Viv will set up the poster and will tell people all about LBCS when they visit it during the evening poster reception, and Keith will give the presentation, that he has been paring down to fit the (very short) 15 minute time slot! The presentation is part of session with people from Iceland, New Zealand, Chile and the US entitled "Community based Seabird Conservation".

Ryan and Viv at the welcome reception

It has been exciting to hear from many people who already know of Limestone Island and LBCS. There are past grad students who have worked on the island, and other researchers who have come to volunteer. We hope by the end of the week that even more people know who LBCS is and what we do!

Monday in Cape Town at the World Seabird Conference

This week, Keith and Viv are at the World Seabird Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. This is a first update from Keith after their first day!

Hi - all friends of Laskeek Bay Conservation Society - Viv and I and our partners Ryan and Helen have all arrived safely in Cape Town. Tonight we attended the Opening Reception for the Conference which opens tomorrow. Lots of people, good food and some very vigorous drumming to open the event. Tomorrow morning we get serious.

The Registration desk tells us that there are almost 600 people registered from 55 countries. The program is a daunting 56 pages with a total of 500 presentations and posters in many interesting sessions. It will be fun, and we hope to learn a lot to bring home to inform our on-going programs at Limestone.

South Africa has penguins and we have visited the colonies of the wonderful little African Penguins close to Capetown. The biggest colony is about 2000 birds. It was a busy place on the blustery day we visited, smelling much like a very odorous Cassins Auklet colony, with lots of young and many little artificial shelters to create additional habitat. Africa also has black oystercatchers, looking very much like our own Haida Gwaii BLOY. And of course we have taken the opportunity to visit game parks, looking at elephants, rhinos and the many beautiful birds. I did a safari on foot with armed Zulu guides; Viv did a horseback safari. Lots of pictures.

More on the conference later. Thanks again for all your work and support to get us here.