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    Marine debris and entanglements at Bird Island and King Edward Point, South Georgia, Signy Island, South Orkneys and Goudier Island, Antarctic Peninsula 2015–2016

    Request Meeting Document
    Document Number:
    Delegation of the United Kingdom
    Submitted By:
    Dr Phil Trathan (United Kingdom)
    Approved By:
    Ms Kylie Bamford (United Kingdom)

    Marine debris data were collected at Bird Island and King Edward Point, South Georgia, at Signy Island, South Orkneys and at Goudier Island, Antarctic Peninsula for the period April 2015 to March 2016. Surveys of beached marine debris at Bird Island recorded a total of 56 and 123 items during winter (April to September 2015) and summer (October 2015 to March 2016) respectively. One item of beached debris (a piece of lumber) was recorded at Signy Island (operational during summer only; 16 November 2015 to 1 April 2016). 12 items of beached marine debris were recorded at Goudier Island (operational 15 November 2015 to 4 March 2016), which is the highest number since recording began in 2010/11. Entanglements of two sub-adult Antarctic fur seals and one juvenile elephant seal were observed at Bird Island, with three instances of entangled fur seals observed at King Edward Point, and no marine mammal entanglements observed at Signy Island or Goudier Island. In total, 127 items of marine debris were found in association with seabird colonies at Bird Island, most commonly in association with wandering albatrosses (65 items). Two incidences of entangled adult wandering albatrosses and one entangled snowy sheathbill were recorded; all were removed successfully. There were no observed incidences of hydrocarbon soiling at any site during the reporting period. Overall, the occurrence of beached marine debris was below the long-term mean at both Bird Island and Signy Island. The incidence of marine mammal entanglements was below the long-term mean at all sites surveyed. Debris associated with seabird colonies was below the mean level for wandering albatrosses and black-browed albatrosses, but above the mean for grey-headed albatrosses and giant petrels.

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