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MP Sir Alan Beith christens new RSPB vessel

July 22, 2011 2:41 PM

Sir Alan Beith, MP for Berwick upon Tweed, was at Amble Marina last week where he christened a new RSPB boat in style with a bottle of Champagne.

Christened Tirrick - meaning tern in old Shetland dialect - the vessel will be used by RSPB staff to get to and from Coquet Island so they can carry out conservation work at the seabird sanctuary. During the breeding season, wardens spend a week at a time on the tiny island and the boat is their lifeline to the outside world.

After toasting Tirrick with RSPB staff, Sir Alan took a trip to Coquet Island on the boat to experience the sights and sounds of the thousands of sea birds, which include puffins, kittiwakes and England's only breeding colony of roseate terns.

Sir Alan was joined on Tirrick by Helen Quayle, the RSPB's regional marine conservation officer who talked to him about the importance of the designation of Marine Conservation Zones in the North Sea.

Helen said: "Coquet Island is a real sanctuary for seabirds and they enjoy legal protection while they are there. However, the birds have no such protection when they leave the island to forage for food. The Government has committed to creating a network of Marine Conservation Zones by the end of 2012 and we are campaigning hard to ensure we get these in the right areas including the sea around Coquet Island."

Sir Alan said:

"It was a real privilege to see the excellent work the RSPB are doing in conserving the remarkable and unique bird life on Coquet Island. I hope it will continue for many years to come."

For further information about the RSPB's work to protect seabirds visit www.rspb.org.uk/marine.