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Draft Light Pollution Guidelines for seabirds.

Chris Surman, July 19, 2018
 

Hi All,

As you are all Subject Matter Experts with respect to seabirds I thought it would be appropriate to touch base regarding the preparation of Draft Light Pollution Guidelines and potential issues with seabirds.

I recently inherited the seabird scope from Airam Rodrıguez which is being prepared along with scopes covering turtles and migratory shorebirds by Pendoley Environmental.

Having worked myself in the oil and gas industry I have certainly experienced lighting management scenarios, and more recently we have begun a study on reducing light impacts to shearwaters at this site. Having also been exposed to the fishing and tourism industries at the Houtman Abrolhos, I have tried myself to encourage fishers and other vessel owners to turn off spotlights at night, but this still occurs often and sadly at a time when fledgling shearwaters are undertaking their all critical first flight.

I have included a background blurb below (which is geared towards industry and agencies) and would greatly appreciate any input from anyone interested in contributing to the development of the guidelines.

Thanks, Chris Surman for Pendoley Environmental

Dr Chris Surman Director - Halfmoon Biosciences 45 Heather Road, Ocean Beach, WA 6333 Mob: 0429 099 090 Office: 08 98482926 halfmoon.biosciences@westnet.com.au http://www.halfmoonbiosciences.com

Pendoley Environmental have been contracted by the Commonwealth Government (Migratory Species Section, Biodiversity Conservation Division, Department of the Environment and Energy) to draft the ‘National Light Pollution Guidelines for Marine Turtles, Seabirds and Migratory Shorebirds’ (the Guidelines)’, which are listed species under the Environmental Protection for Biodiversity and Conservation Act (1999). Our contract is being managed by Ms Fiona Bartlett (Director) and Dr Karen Arthur (Biologist).

As part of the process the Commonwealth has asked us to consult widely with both Subject Matter Experts and potential end users to both gather as much information as we can but also to make everyone aware that these guidelines are being prepared and will be released publicly by mid-2019.

We have been asked to take all sources of artificial light into account in the preparation of the Guidelines, including agricultural facilities, airports, fisheries, industrial developments, island infrastructure, oil and gas infrastructure, ports and marinas, resorts, seismic vessels, shipping, sports areas, street lighting, tourist ships, and town planning and urban areas.

Light has not been formally recognised as a pollutant under legislation anywhere in Australia and is only just starting to be acknowledged overseas. The production of the National Guidelines is expected to raise awareness of the issue for EPBC Act listed species in Australia and may lead to future regulation.

As part of the Subject Matter Elicitation process I would appreciate a brief chat with you about your agency and how you might use these Guidelines and what you might like to see included in them. Some specific topics to consider might include: 1. What type of lighting is typically used in your industry/facility? e.g. metal halide, high pressure sodium, LED 2. Approximately how many are there? 3. Where and how are the lights typically used? e.g. safety, navigation 4. Are the lights managed at all? e.g. colour, wattage/intensity, orientation and directivity, shielding, switching, curfews. 5. What HSE regulations dictate lighting? 6. Are you aware of the impact of lighting on populations or critical habit for marine turtles, seabirds or migratory shorebirds? 7. Are you aware of any incidents or issues involving wildlife and interactions with lighting? 8. Are you aware that existing luminaires are being phased out and will cease to be manufactured (starting early 2020’s in Europe) ? 9. How do you see the Guidelines being received and used by your industry/staff? 10. What can we do to help roll the Guidelines out and to make them user friendly? 11. Is there anything you think we should specifically ensure is included in the Guidelines?

I am happy to chat with you or any other person you may wish to nominate who can help to ensure all relevant information is elicited and that news of this initiative reaches all experts and end users. I can be contacted on my numbers shown in the address block below. I can also meet with you at your offices if that is more convenient.