Oil Leak 83 – what about the birds?

Much of our focus until now has been on the potential impact on dolphins. However, we must not forget the importance of the area being proposed for STS for birds – this has been largely forgotten about by Intertek in their application, maybe the new one will fare better? Don’t take our word for it – here’s what the SSSI citation says:

“The population of cormorants breeding on the North Sutor is one of the largest in Scotland and the largest in the Inner Moray Firth. The site supports more than 2% of the national breeding population……..The foreshore along the full length of this site is rich in marine invertebrates. The cliffs around the North and South Sutors support the only breeding seabird colonies in the Inner Moray Firth. Breeding seabirds at the North Sutor include cormorant, guillemot, black guillemot, kittiwake and razorbill with smaller numbers occurring elsewhere on the Black Isle coast, for example the South Sutor.”

The importance of the area for seabirds has not been overlooked by SNH and it is currently in the process of being designated a Special Protection Area (SPA) for its bird life. In the event of a spill, oil will be ashore in less than half an hour, covering the cliffs where the seabirds live, not to mention the waters where they fish. The effect would be catastrophic.