Ceredigion AM Elin Jones has questioned the Welsh Government on its response to the increase in deaths of seabirds in the wake of the winter’s exceptional storms.

Scientists have warned that this winter’s weather is causing one of the largest ever seabird ‘wreck’, with thousands of dead birds such as puffins, guillemots and razorbills washed up on the coast of west Wales, Cornwall and western France. It’s thought that the deaths – caused by birds having to endure a long period of high winds and waves and the dispersal of fish shoals by the heavy weather – bears comparison to the effect of man-made disasters such as the Sea Empress oil spill in Pembrokeshire in 1996.

But the crisis comes as Natural Resources Wales has decided to cut funding for research into seabird populations in west Wales.

Elin Jones AM said:

“We’ve seen a large number of dead birds washed up on the Ceredigion coast after the storms, with probably more to come.

“I’ve written to the Natural Resources Minister to raise this issue, and particularly to ask why funding for research into these bird populations has been cut. It’s a tiny proportion of the budget of Natural Resources Wales, and the cut threatens the future of scientific projects which have been running for 40 years.

“Research into seabird populations can tell us much about the impact of climate change on the environment. I’ve therefore questioned this decision with the Minister, and asked how the Welsh Government intends to respond to this seabird ‘wreck’.”