The grounding, early in 1996, of the oil tanker Sea Empress, outside Milford Haven in South Wales, released large amounts of oil into the coastal waters around Pembrokeshire and the outer areas of the Bristol Channel. Following reports from the island warden of oil having come ashore at the south eastern tip of Lundy Island, off North Deveon, a survey of the shore was commissioned by English Nature as part of their statutory duty towards the protection of the Lundy marine nature reserve. This survey was conducted as soon as weather conditions allowed. The prime aims of this survey were : to survey, using standard Marine Nature Conservation Review (MNCR) methods, the upper shore rockpools reported to have been oiled, recording species present and their abundances for future reference. To record whether oil persisted and record any indications of deterioration in species present; to survey, to phase 1 level, caves used by seals and record any signs of oil contamination within the caves. The second part of this survey was to be conducted in conjunction with John Heath, who was conducting on-going studies of Lundy’s seal population and during this survey was responsible for mapping the caves and checking for oil contamination on seals.
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