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    BEACHED MARINE DEBRIS SURVEYS AND INCIDENCES OF SEABIRD/MARINE MAMMAL ENTANGLEMENTS AND HYDROCARBON SOILING AT BIRD ISLAND, SOUTH GEORGIA AND SIGNY ISLAND, SOUTH ORKNEYS, 2008-2009

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    Document Number:
    WG-IMAF-09/09
    Author(s):
    C.M. Waluda (United Kingdom)
    Abstract

    Surveys of beached marine debris at Bird Island, South Georgia recorded a total of 142, 96 and 148 items during summer 2007/08 (October 2007 to March 2008), winter 2008 (April to September) and summer 2008/09 (October 2008 to March 2009). Surveys at Signy Island, South Orkneys recorded a total of 113 items during summer 2008/09 (November 2008 to February 2009). Plastic, trawl webbing and ropes were the most commonly observed items (in varying quantities) during all three seasons at Bird Island, whereas high numbers (67 items; 59%) of packaging bands were collected at Signy Island during the survey period. Entanglements of 19 Antarctic fur seals (7 involving packaging bands), two giant petrels, one wandering albatross and one gentoo penguin (all involving fishing line and/or hooks) were observed at Bird Island, while one entangled fur seal was seen at Signy Island. In total, 147 items of marine debris were found in association with seabird colonies at Bird Island, with the highest number (89 items; 61%) associated with wandering albatrosses. A total of 20 incidences of hydrocarbon soiling involving nine gentoo penguins, eight king penguins, two Antarctic fur seals and one wandering albatross were observed, also at Bird Island. Overall, levels of marine debris at Bird Island and Signy Island during 2008/09 were below or just above the long-term mean for the majority of parameters measured. However, the highest levels on record were observed for both marine debris associated with giant petrels and hydrocarbon soiling of seabirds and mammals at Bird Island.

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