At present it’s not known if this has any impact on their vision, or their ability to hunt fish successfully, but researchers were unable during the study to see any behavioural differences in the birds.


Normally a pale blue colour (top), the irises of gannets that have recovered from avian flu turn black – possibly providing a quick and easy way to determine how widespread infections have been in different colonies. (Photo: Jude Law, RSPB)

The study, led by the RSPB and involving several Scottish universities, looked at colonies of gannets around the UK, nearly all of which were struck by avian flu last year. It spread around the British Isles in a clockwise direction, over a period of several months.

Key gannet colonies, such as those at Bass Rock, St Kilda and Grassholm, saw a significant number of deaths.

Read the study in full here.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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