Posted 7th Apr 2017
A species of duck, decimated by one of the worst oil spills in shipping history over 20 years ago, is making a 'remarkable' recovery, Natural Resources Wales has reported
Common scoters were the worst affected casualties when the Sea Empress tanker floundered off the Pembrokeshire coast, spilling 72,000 tonnes of crude oil in the process.
A population of nearly 10,000 was significantly reduced, as roughly 1,700 washed up on the shore.
Surveys for Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has showed numbers managed to increase to 17,000 by 2003, a figure which has since doubled to now stand at around 36,000 last winter in the Carmarthen Bay Special Protection Area (SPA).
Matty Murphy, senior marine ornithologist for NRW, said: "Wildlife is an important part of our environment, our heritage and our culture in Wales and protecting it is fundamental to our aims as an organisation."
"Common scoters in Carmarthen Bay were the worst casualties of the Sea Empress oil disaster twenty-one years ago."
"It's such great news that today the numbers of scoters are double the original estimates."
The figures were released as NRW is giving evidence to the Welsh National Assembly's Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee's inquiry into the management of marine protected areas.
Surveys conducted in December 2016 and February 2017 used thousands of ultra-high resolution aerial photographs. Carmarthen Bay SPA was the first fully marine SPA in the UK, created in 2003 purely for wintering common scoter.
Image courtesy of Flickr