Kittiwakes are dying out due to climate change and overfishing, RSPB warns

ITV News Reporter Sangita Lal reports from the Yorkshire coast on efforts to protect England's native seabirds

Climate change and overfishing are threatening England's native seabirds - the kittiwakes.

Their numbers have halved since the 1960s.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is warning about the devastating impact of humans on England's native Kittiwake. Its message coincides with World Oceans Day.

Dr Euan Dunn, from the RSPB said: "The sea is warming dramatically around us and that is unravelling the food web, particularly hitting sand eels, the staple diet of kittiwakes, very dependent on this small shoaling fish.

"And many other seabirds are also suffering through lack of sand eels."

Seabirds at Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire Credit: ITV News

Overfishing of the seabirds' favourite food also means there is not enough to go around.

Every year, about a quarter of a million seabirds come to Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire to raise their families because it's the perfect location with the cliff edge and waters. It is the only place in England where seabirds breed on this scale.

But that's changing. The population kittiwakes are now on the endangered list and conservationists say we are running out of time to save them.

Conservation scientist Saskia Wischnewski said she does not want to tell her children in a few years' time that there are no more seabirds Credit: ITV News

The government has said it is creating protection zones to reduce fishing to try to protect species, including the kittiwakes.

Conservation scientist Saskia Wischnewski said it would be "terrifying" for the kittiwakes to disappear.

She said: "I don't really want to show this to my children and just say: Look, this is where mum used to monitor seabirds and there are none left."