In February 2004 hundreds of dead fulmars washed up on the North Sea coasts of England, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany. When he carried out autopsies, Dr Jan Andries van Franeker of Alterra Texel found that the birds had been suffering from hunger for five months. He believes that this was not due to the climate but human action.
That’s not all; there are other alarming reports. Summer storms killed about half of the two thousand Sandwich tern chicks that breed on the Farne Islands. The number of breeding guillemots has not been as low as it is now since 1977. Danish smelt fishers have difficulty catching 300,000 tons each year, whereas their yearly quota is 800,000 tons. /MW