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    Counts of surface-nesting seabirds breeding at Prince Edward Island, summer 2001/02

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    Document Number:
    WG-EMM-03/9
    Author(s):
    P.G. Ryan, J. Cooper, B.M. Dyer, L.G. Underhill,R.J.M. Crawford and M.N Bester (South Africa)
    Agenda Item(s)
    Abstract

    The first midsummer survey of surface-nesting seabirds at Prince Edward Island was conducted during December 2001. It was also the first census for most species since the early 1980s. Despite concerns about the impacts of longline fishing mortality on various albatrosses and giant petrels, there was no evidence that populations of these species had decreased. Indeed, the estimate of wandering albatrosses Diomedea exulans (Vulnerable) has increased significantly, making Prince Edward Island equal with Marion Island as supporting the largest single-island populations of this species. Species that underwent significant decreases were macaroni penguins Eudyptes chrysolophus (Vulnerable), Crozet shags Phalacrocorax [atriceps] melanogenis and Kerguelen terns Sterna virgata (Near-Threatened). The reasons for these decreases are unclear, but for macaroni penguins may be partly a consequence of competition for space with the burgeoning population of fur seals Arctocephalus spp. The 2001 survey increased the population estimates for Subantarctic skuas Catharacta antarctica, lightmantled sooty albatrosses Phoebetria palpebrata (Vulnerable) and southern giant petrels Macronectes giganteus (Vulnerable), mostly as a result of greater coverage than for previous counts. The 2001 survey confirms that Prince Edward Island remains a globally important breeding site for seabirds.

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