Travel Tips - Good Stewards of the Sea

 In the PAST ... Marine birds and mammals once lived far from human influence.

TODAY ... People are everywhere – and that places some of these marine animals at risk.

They need all of us to be "Good Stewards of the Sea."

Habits that place marine animals at risk:

•Most seabirds come to land only to nest and raise their chicks. This is a critical time in the survival of each species.
•Marine mammals need to gather together to breed. Seabirds nest together, often in huge colonies. The spectacle of these colonies lures people to come close to view them.
•Sea lions, seals, and walrus need beaches and the nearshore waters in front of where they come ashore. They can be spooked from both areas.
•Some cliff-nesting seabirds lay their eggs directly on rock ledges. When frightened, seabirds panic, often bumping eggs or chicks off the cliffs.
•Some seabirds dig burrows in the soil or lay their eggs in caves between rocks. Trampling and rock slides could destroy their nests.
•Some seabirds come out of their burrows only at night. The island looks deserted during the day, fooling people into thinking they will do no harm by wandering ashore.  

Tips for PILOTS

Aircraft flying low and close to cliffs or beaches can spook the birds, seals, sea lions, or walrus breeding or resting there.

Seabirds take flight in panic and bump eggs or chicks off ledges. Mammals rush for the water, running over pups in the way. Sonic booms cause the same panic.

How can I help? 

Please, keep a good distance between you and seabird nesting colonies or gatherings of marine animals. Recommended distance – one kilometer or more.
Safety Warning: Bird-strikes are a life-threatening hazard. They can cause aircraft crashes or major damage.


1 -- Nesting seabirds fly away in panic when they hear loud noises. Marine mammals rush for the safety of the water, injuring pups in the way or separating mothers and pups.

How can I help?
Please observe and photograph from a distance.
Use binoculars and telephoto lenses.
Avoid going near colony islands.

Peter T. Puffin says:
* Unprotected eggs and chicks can chill or overheat, depending on the weather.
* Predators take advantage of chaos and eat unprotected eggs and chicks.

2 -- Seabird burrows often collapse if stepped on. Dogs and cats can dig into burrows and chase or kill the chicks.

How can I help?

One seldom knows where burrows are until -- crush!! -- it's too late. It's best to avoid going ashore on seabird islands. If you must go ashore, watch your step!

Peter T. Puffin says:
* Many seabirds have no natural land predators.
* They are helpless against dogs or other introduced mammals such as rats and mink.


1 -- Seabirds gather in waters below and near their nesting colonies. If you set your gillnets or longlines nearby, you'll catch birds instead of fish. That wastes birds, your time, and your money.

How can I help?
Fish at a distance from seabird colonies.
If you hook or net a seabird, carefully free the bird. If the bird is hooked, remove the hook or cut the line next to the hook.

2 -- Curious seabirds, sea otters, seals, and sea lions can entangle themselves in trash or mistakenly eat indigestible plastics. In both cases, they are doomed to starve.

How can I help?
Purchase items with a minimum of packaging.
Be rigorous in keeping trash out of the water and off the beach.

3 -- Oil and birds don't mix -- even a little oil smeared from adult breast feathers to eggs can kill the growing embryo.

How can I help?
Please keep oil on board until you reach a port with proper disposal sites.

4 -- SOS from seabird colonies -- stop a rat invasion!

Rats devastate island wildlife -- killing and spreading disease. Rats must be kept off islands.

How can I help?
Mariners to the rescue! Keep your ship rat free
*Eliminate sources of food and water (keep trash and food in metal containers)
*Clean up debris that can provide shelter for rodents
*Inspect cargo for rodent sign
*Install traps
*Use line guards when tied in port

Peter T. Puffin says:
Remember, don't throw live rats overboard. They are good swimmers and may reach islands.