There is no national program for monitoring of seabirds in Russia. Extensive seabird studies were initiated in the Russian part of the Barents Sea in the 1920-1930s and systematic studies on seabirds were started in 1938 in the Seven Islands archipelago (eastern Murman coast) at the same time as the archipelago was protected as a strict nature reserve. It also included two of the largest seabird colonies on Novaya Zemlya; Gribovaya and Bezymyannya Bays on the Southern Island, Novaya Zemlya, in 1947–1951.
Since then seabird monitoring in Russia has been based on a network of strict nature reserves (zapovedniks; IUCN category I). Only selected colonies situated within the boundaries of such specially protected areas are monitored routinely. The longest monitoring series are within the territory of Kandalaksha State Nature Reserve (KSNR; including former Seven Island reserve). Monitoring in this reserve is concentrated in three areas including Kandalaksha Bay (White Sea) and West and East Murman areas (south Barents Sea coast). For some species regular monitoring started in KSNR as early as the late 1920s, resulting in a nearly 80-year time series for some sites.
Monitored species include European shag Phalacracorax aristotelis, great cormorant Phalacracorax carbo, common Uria aalge and Brunnich’s guillemots U. lomvia, black guillemot Cepphus grylle, Atlantic puffin Fratercula arctica, black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, herring Larus argentatus, great black-backed Larus marinus and mew Larus canus gulls, arctic skua Stercorarius parasiticus, arctic tern Sterna paradisea and common eider Somateria mollissima. Long-term monitoring data from the Murman coast was reviewed by Krasnov et al. (1995). Unfortunately, the monitoring program in the remote areas on the Barents Sea coast was recently broken due to staff shortage and logistic problems in the KSNR. Monitoring has continued in the Kandalaksha Bay (total counts since 1970s) but now with reduced coverage. In addition to population numbers, monitoring parameters include productivity, diet and phenology.
Since 1999, several new monitoring sites have been established on the southern Barents Sea coast as a scientific initiative by the Murmansk Marine Biological Institute Russian Academy of Science (MMBI RAS). Monitoring efforts are concentrated on the Kola Peninsula both in the breeding colonies and on the inshore nonbreeding grounds. Monitoring of seabird breeding populations was established in 2000 in three sites in Western Murman (Gorodetsky Cape, since 2000) and Eastern Murman (Krutik Cape, since 2003).