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Artificial roosts for cormorants. A pioneering global initiative for aviation safety

Photo @Ferran Navàs, MINUARTIA

During the last major expansion work on the port of Barcelona, ​​the final section of the Llobregat river was diverted, which entailed an important approach of the channel to the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat airport. The environmental impact statement (EIS) of the Barcelona Port Master Plan (from 2000) established a long list of measures related to the execution of the filling and conditioning of the channel but did not include any related to aeronautical safety conditioned to the cormorant roost. large existing in the old channel. This natural roost was 3.3 km from the nearest airport runway and with its disappearance due to the works, the cormorants established new roosts only between 0.3 and 0.8 km from the runways with a notable increase in the risk of collision. of cormorants and planes. In 2006, the Barcelona Port Authority (APB), which had assumed the work management of the filling of the old channel, decided to act and three replacement artificial roosts were designed to keep the cormorants away from the airport runways and thus minimize aeronautical safety due to collisions with birds.

To carry the job, ABP had the collaboration of Professor Xavier Ferrer from the Institute for Biodiversity Research of the University of Barcelona, ​​an expert in the field and advisor to AENA, and contract MINUARTIA, a company specialized in managing conflicts with animals and also a collaborator of AENA and the UB. This action is a pioneer worldwide in the prevention of bird and aircraft collisions in airports and a rare example of coordination of various organizations (port, public university, private company, nature reserves and airport) to combine public works, biodiversity conservation and security aeronautics.