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    BEACH DEBRIS SURVEY AND INCIDENCE OF ENTANGLEMENT OF ANTARCTIC FUR SEALS ARCTOCEPHALUS GAZELLA AT SIGNY ISLAND, SOUTH ORKNEY ISLANDS 2007/2008

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    Document Number:
    WG-FSA-08/26
    Author(s):
    M.J. Dunn and C.M. Waluda (UK)
    Abstract

    This report details the twelfth annual survey of the incidence of entanglements of Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazella and eighteenth beach survey of man-made debris at Signy Island, South Orkney Islands. Data are reported for the period 14 November 2007 to 13 March 2008. Three seals were observed with neck collars formed from fisheries related debris. Beach surveys recovered a total of 56 items weighing 11 kg, representing an increase from 2006/07 of 11% (by number) and 33% (by mass). There was a decrease in the number of plastic packaging bands with only two found in the current season (both of which had been cut open), marking a break in the otherwise continued rise in packaging bands observed. Styrofoam and other plastic waste was predominant, making up 64% of all items recorded. Fishing related debris contributed 11% of all items (9% rope and 2% trawl net webbing). These results show that the longevity of plastics and other materials with a high resistance to degradation in the marine environment remains a problem. The need for continued monitoring to ensure that vessels are aware of, and comply with, regulations prohibiting the disposal of debris at sea is paramount.

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