Oil and gas operators from across the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) have signed up to the portal to aid in the recording and safeguarding of offshore species that visit assets based in the North Sea.
The OBP has expanded its reach across the North Sea’s energy sector in the past six months with interest from offshore wind developers and seafarers.
Dr MacNeill Ferguson, Ecological Specialist at Xodus said: “We are pleased with the response to the portal in its first few months of operation. With more than 50 platforms signed up to contribute bird sighting data to the wider energy community, interest in the OBP has expanded to sectors beyond oil and gas.
“These industries share common goals in better understanding the distribution of birds at sea.”
The OBP was established to improve the long-term gathering of relevant geographic and seasonal data relating to seabirds and migrants (passerines) on offshore platforms and structures. The database and toolkit are aimed at bettering scientific understanding, and ecological awareness across the energy industry.
Managed by Xodus, a team of ecologist work to maintain the portal, handle data submissions and provide a bird identification service to help offshore personnel with challenging species observations.
Dr Ferguson added: “We hope the OBP will become the central repository of up-to-date sightings data that will benefit us all, providing spatial and temporal distribution data for both seabird species and migrants on passage.
“Following a successful first six months, we look forward to continuing OBP's expansion. The facility to record other sea life such as marine mammals, bats and insects as well has also proved of interest to our contributors. The greater the spread of contributions and data points we have, the more informative the dataset will become.”