Bangor Flats

53.234, -4.107


Oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus




In a number of extensive coastal areas in northwest Europe, large numbers of long-lived migrant birds eat shellfish that are also commercially harvested. Competition between birds and people for this resource often leads to conflicts between commercial and conservation interests. One policy to prevent shellfishing from harming birds is to ensure that enough food remains after harvesting to meet most or all of their energy demands. Using simulations with behaviour-based models of five areas, we show here that even leaving enough shellfish to meet 100% of the birds’ demands may fail to ensure that birds survive in good condition. Up to almost eight times this amount is needed to protect them from being harmed by the shellfishery, even when the birds can consume other kinds of non-harvested prey.

Funding and Collaboration

Related Paper(s):

Goss-Custard, J.D., Stillman, R.A., West, A.D., Caldow, R.W.G., Triplet, P., le V dit Durell, S.E.A. and McGrorty, S., 2004. When enough is not enough: shorebirds and shellfishing. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 271(1536): 233-237.