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    Entanglement of Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazella in man made debris at Bird Island, South Georgia during the 1999 winter and the 1999/2000 pup rearing season

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    Delegation of the United Kingdom
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    Results of the survey of entanglements of Antarctic fur seals at Bird Island, South Georgia for thetenth consecutive winter (1999) and twelfth consecutive summer (19999/2000) are reported here. Only six entangled seals were observed during the winter, representing a 53% decrease from1998 and a 94% decrease on the highest previous total (1992). Four of these animals wereentangled in plastic packaging bands, double that observed in the 1998 winter, and a return to thehigh levels observed before the CCAMLR prohibition on their use in1994. The number ofanimals showing severe injuries was down on the 1998 winter. The number of seals observed entangled in the summer was the second lowest recorded to date,being 42% lower than in the 1998/99 season. The proportion of adult animals affected was down1% on the previous summer and constitutes the lowest total recorded. The proportion of animalsshowing severe injuries (21%) is down 4% on the previous year and is the second lowest total onrecord. The number of entanglements in polypropylene straps showed an increase by12.5% onthe 1998/99 season. The low occurrence of entanglements in summer and winter has continued the downward trendin numbers since the peak in the early 1990's. Incidences of severe injury have also decreased. Entanglements in polypropylene bands comprise the major proportion of observations, despitethe ban on their use introduced by CCAMLR. This highlights the need for sustained monitoringand continuing publicity aimed at preventing the disposal of debris at sea.