Wildlife charities renew calls for oil additive PIB to be reclassified after deaths of hundreds of seabirds in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset

 

A A A

A wildlife charity has renewed calls for oil additive PIB to be reclassified by the International Maritime Organisation to prohibit discharges at sea after “a whole generation of seabirds” died.

Hundreds of dead and distressed birds have been found washed up along the south west of England's coastline during the last week, two months after a similar spill caused widespread destruction to marine life.

Animal charities said the birds - mostly guillemots but also a smaller number of razorbills and puffins - have been found covered in a sticky, oily substance on beaches across Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

The Devon Wildlife Trust said that the proportion of dead birds among those washed up has increased, with hundreds of stricken seabirds found on beaches around the West Country over the weekend.

Abby Crosby, marine conservation officer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said: "It has been a terribly sad time for everyone seeing these beautiful birds washing up dead in horrific numbers along our coastline. Something must change in the legislation managing our seas to stop this happening again."

Although PIB - polyisobutene, an oil additive which has a chemical mixture ranging from oils to solids - is considered to present a hazard to the marine environment, it is currently legal to discharge it in certain quantities directly into the sea.

Ms Crosby said: "Urgent action is required to prevent PIB causing further death and destruction within the marine environment through its discharge into the sea.

"In this one incident, a whole generation of seabirds of many species has been wiped out, not to mention the young they would have had this year.

"To support a campaign to change the law, we need to get a more accurate picture of just how many birds have been affected."

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it had been unable to trace the source of the spill, although it appears to be the same type of chemical as that which affected more than 300 birds earlier this year along a 200-mile stretch of coastline.

The Devon Wildlife Trust said the pollutant could even be from the same ship, affecting the coast once more due to a change in wind direction.

The Cornwall Wildlife Trust has today called on members of the public to record the numbers of dead birds being washed up on the coastline in an effort to understand the full extent of the pollution.

The 24-hour Marine Stranding Network Hotline can be reached on 0845 201 2626.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A long-established, technology rich ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable