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Red Throated Diver Survey

Red throated diver survey: by-catch of birds in drift nets in the Thames The Outer Thames Estuary is designated a Special Protection Area (SPA) for the threatened red-throated divers (Gavia stellate) that over-winter here. Static and drift net fisheries have been shown to be a hazard to diving seabirds globally with some studies reporting red-throated divers amongst the casualties. Entanglement in netting was identified by Natural England as a moderate risk to the designated Red Throated Diver population in the Outer Thames Estuary SPA.   K&EIFCA conducted surveys along with Natural England in winter 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 to gather data on the scale of netting by-catch of Red Throated Divers in the Outer Thames Estuary SPA. Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Officers boarded fishing vessels undertaking netting activities in this SPA 40 times over the two winter survey periods. Netting activity was recorded along with the number of red-throated divers caught as by-catch by set and drift netting and the effect of disturbance by fishing vessels and set nets on the birds. No red-throated divers were observed as by-catch in both winters and disturbance to the birds by small fishing vessels operating in this area is negligible.