Open sea

Habitat characterized by open sea with few or no islets.

Typical species:

  • Pelagic diving sea birds: Open sea is foraging area for the auks, large flocks of mixed species may be observed, indicating presence of fish prey. 
  • Pelagic surface feeding sea birds: Open sea is foraging area, larger numbers indicate presence of fish
  • Cetaceans (whales): Foraging/migration


Combat strategy:

  • Mechanical recovery is first choice as oil will be removed from the environment.
  • Chemical dispersal should be considered, but must be carried out at a safe distance from the birds and mammals, as the dispersant chemicals can be expected to cause harm to the birds’ water-proofing of the plumage and marine mammal eyes. Also, large flocks of sea birds are an indication of presence of fish schools in the water column, contra-indicative of the use of chemical dispersants.
  • Monitoring the location of sea birds, especially of large flocks, is important during oil spill combat. Location will vary continuously with the movement of their prey. Larger flocks on the sea surface can be identified from the air.
  • Observations of marine mammals and seabirds should be reported.