Alderney gannets electronically tagged for fish survey

Les Etac gannetry
Image caption Les Etac gannetry was settled in 1939 and now has 7,000 resident birds

Gannets on Alderney's Les Etac rock have been electronically tagged as part of a wildlife survey in the Channel Islands.

Global Positioning System (GPS) tags will allow the birds' movements to be followed over a few days, before researchers return to remove them.

It is hoped the data will help increase the understanding of fish populations.

The project is being run by Liverpool University with the support of the Alderney Wildlife Trust.

Roland Gauvain, manager of the trust, said: "This is vital in the battle to understand and protect local fisheries and to help identify potential impacts which might occur due to the development of renewable energy projects in the area."

The Alderney Commission for Renewable Energy (ACRE) is also providing support for the research.

Northern gannets are Britain's largest resident seabirds, with a wingspan of 6ft (1.9m) and can live for 25 years.

There are now thought to be in excess of 7,000 of them living on Les Etac rock, where a gannetry was first settled in 1939.

A previous survey of birds at the Rouzic gannetry off northern Brittany revealed the birds were undertaking journeys of more than 62 miles (100km) in order to feed.

A further tagging project is planned for 2012.

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