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    Entanglement of Antarctic fur seals in marine debris at Cape Shirreff and San Telmo Islets, Livingston Island, Antarctica: 1988–1997

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    Delegation of Chile
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    We have compiled the records of Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) entangled in marine debris (neck collars) at SSSI N°32 and CEMP site 'Cape Shirreff and San Telmo islets', Livingston island, Antarctica, obtained during the summer seasons between 1988 and 1997.
    Our results indicate that 45% of the entanglement material found in a total of 20 individuals (nine subadult males, four juvenile males, five females, and two pups) corresponded to plastic debris and synthetic packing bands, in contrast to the remaining percentage (55%) which corresponded to discarded fishing debris like net fragments (ghost nets) and nylon ropes. We have managed to liberate 35% of the total entangled animals (four females, one juvenile male, and two pups).
    The total percentage of entangled animals versus total population in the area per season is considered to be low, and never surpass percentages of entanglement reported for the South Georgia islands, where the most important longlining fishery in the Southern Ocean is developed, nevertheless, we consider that our estimates could be underestimations.
    To reduce this type of occurrences, we propose: (1) the monitoring of entangled Antarctic fur seals in marine debris . over the South Shetland archipelago area through a cooperative inter-institutional sighting network to assess with more complete data the impact that marine debris is causing on the marine biota, specially over individuals of A. gazella, and for this purpose we present as an annex to the document, a form for its completion by every Antarctic base, refuge, or camp present in the mentioned area, given the case of observing entangled animals; (2) the implementation of more regulations over fishing vessels operating in CCAMLR's regulated areas of the Southern Ocean, with further instruction of scientific observers in relation to discarded debris; (3) directed education to captains and tripulations of fishing vessels with the aid of an informative booklet; and (4) the ratification and implementation of Annex V of MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) by members who have not yet done so.