Substantial information on the offshore distribution of seabirds exists for the North Sea and nearby areas. This information is extensive but is not easily applicable to management problems, such as oil pollution incidents. A quantitative oil vulnerability index has been developed, based on four easily scored factors, to assess the vulnerability of seabird species to surface pollution. The index has been applied to calculate area vulnerability scores for 15′ latitude x 30′ longitude rectangles in the North Sea by combining the species vulnerability scores with information on seabird densities. Maps of vulnerable concentrations of seabirds for each month of the year have been published with interpretative text. These maps can be used as a management tool, for example, in assessing potential risk or in the event of an oil pollution incident.
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