Skip to main content

    Marine debris and entanglements at Bird Island and King Edward Point, South Georgia, Signy Island, South Orkneys and Goudier Island, Antarctic Peninsula 2017/18

    Request Meeting Document
    Document Number:
    C. Waluda
    Submitted By:
    Dr Chris Darby (United Kingdom)
    Approved By:
    Dr Chris Darby (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 2017 to March 2018. Surveys of beached marine debris at Bird Island recorded a total of 371 items during austral winter (April to September 2017) and 111 items during summer (October 2017 to March 2018). Thirteen items of beached debris were recorded at Signy Island (operational during summer only; 6 November 2017 to 31 March 2018). Twenty-seven items of beached marine debris were recorded at Goudier Island (operational 16 November 2017 to 6 March 2018). Entanglements of seven Antarctic fur seals were observed at Bird Island and two at King Edward Point with no marine mammal entanglements recorded at Signy Island or Goudier Island. In total, 70 items of marine debris were found in association with seabird colonies at Bird Island, most commonly in association with wandering albatrosses (36 items; 51 %). One incidence of an entangled wandering albatross was reported; a bird with a white cable tie around its leg - this was 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 above the long-term mean at both Bird Island and Goudier Island but below the mean at Signy Island. The incidence of marine mammal entanglements was below the long-term mean at all sites surveyed. Debris associated with seabird colonies was above the mean level for black-browed albatrosses, but below the mean for wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses and giant petrels.