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    Entanglement of Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) in man made debris at Bird Island, South Georgia, during the 2006 winter and 2006/07 breeding season

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    Document Number:
    SC-CAMLR-XXVI/BG/17
    Author(s):
    Delegation of the United Kingdom
    Approved By:
    Admin Admin
    Abstract

    Results of the survey of entanglements of Antarctic fur seals at Bird Island, South Georgia for the 17th consecutive winter (2006) and 19th consecutive summer (2006/07) are reported here. A total of 41 winter entanglements were observed in the reporting period compared to 2 observed in the previous winter. This is the second highest winter total since records began in 1990 (the highest was in 1992 when 97 entanglements where reported). The number of entanglements seen during the summer period was 17, an increase of 112.5% over the previous summer, and the highest since 2001/02. During the winter 49% of entanglements were classed as severe (cutting through the skin) or very severe (breaking through both the skin and underlying fat layer). Over the summer period 18% of entanglements were classed as severe or very severe. Synthetic string/rope was the most commonly found item forming neck collars (37% and 35% during winter and summer respectively). On 16 occasions the material was found to be a loop of rope similar to that shown in appendix three. Plastic packaging bands were the second most abundant material overall (28%), closely followed by fishing nets (26%). Juveniles (including sub-adults) were involved in 56% of all entanglements in winter and 53% in the summer. Overall females made up the majority of the sexed individuals in all age classes (43%) compared to males (33%) and the remainder unknown. The increase in the number of winter entanglements (41) and animals with severe wounding (20) was the highest recorded in 14 years, whilst the recent escalation in summer entanglements since 2004/05 is also a cause for concern.