Bird flu measures on Calf of Man

By Gemma Nettle   |   Reporter   |
Thursday 28th July 2022 11:43 am
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Controls have been introduced on the Calf of Man to deal with bird flu.

Recent testing of dead seabirds in the Isle of Man has found the presence of avian influenza after more than 50 carcasses were collected along the west coast since last week.

The birds tested positive for the HPAI H5N1 strain of avian influenza, the same strain as the recent outbreaks in seabirds in Scotland.

Manx National Heritage and Manx Wildlife Trust have been monitoring the situation and, in line with responses coordinated in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, increased biodiversity controls have been put in place on the Calf of Man with immediate effect.

These include the closure of Cow Harbour and the track providing access to it due to proximity of one of the Calf of Man’s gull colonies, closure of the east coast track to reduce risk of transmission to the Manx shearwater colonies, installation of disinfectant mats at the south harbour and the dock, suspension of all access to seabird colonies, and suspension of seabird ringing.

Manx National Heritage properties manager for land use and sustainability Shaun Murphy said: ‘The decision to implement increased biosecurity measures on the Calf of Man, including the suspension of vital monitoring activities is not without cost, with bird ringing providing a powerful conservation tool to understand the drivers to change in bird populations and facilitating targeted conservation practice.

‘Fortunately, the main seabird ringing season has now passed but it will impact on some remaining Manx shearwater and storm petrel ringing, which is suspended for the next two weeks, with increased biosecurity measures in place for the ringing of non-seabirds.

‘The situation is evolving and information will be reviewed and kept as up to date as possible.’

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