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    Entanglement of Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazella in man-made debris at Bird Island, South Georgia during the 2000 winter and the 2000/01 breeding season

    Request Meeting Document
    Document Number:
    SC-CAMLR-XX/BG/03
    Author(s):
    Delegation of the United Kingdom
    Approved By:
    Admin Admin
    Agenda Item(s)
    Abstract

    Results of the survey of entanglements of Antarctic fur seals at Bird Island, South Georgia for the eleventh consecutive winter (2000) and thirteenth consecutive summer (2000/01) are reported here. The number of entanglements showed an increase from recent years, with 20 entanglements reported over winter and 22 during the summer breeding period. There were over three times more entanglements over the 2000 winter than in 1999; some of which can be explained by interannual variation in the fur seal population. Entanglements reported over summer were also up 57% on the previous year. Severe injuries accounted for 35% of entanglements over winter and 23% during the summer. As in previous years, most individuals observed entangled in debris were juveniles (80% of winter and 68% of summer observations). Of those entanglements where the animal could be sexed, males dominated the observations, with 67% of records over winter, and 59% during the summer puprearing period. The higher proportion of entangled males in the winter compared to summer reflects the sex ratio of Antarctic fur seals ashore over the winter months at Bird Island. Plastic packaging bands accounted for the majority of all entanglements in both the summer and winter periods. The prevalence of these bands in the Southern Ocean marine environment is cause for concern, as the number of entanglements involving them has increased to levels comparable with those before the CCAMLR ban on their use. This highlights the need for continued monitoring and increased effort in ensuring correct disposal of debris with the potential to entangle wildlife at sea.