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    Entanglement of Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazella in man-made debris at Bird Island, South Georgia during the 1993 winter and 1993/94 pup-rearing season

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    Delegation of United Kingdom
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    Surveys of Antarctic fur seals entangled in man-made marine debris were carried out for the fourth consecutive winter and sixth consecutive summer at Bird Island, South Georgia. In the 1993 winter the number of entangled seals was only 39% of the record 1992 total, but still 5 times the numbers in 1990 and 1991. Nearly all animals were juveniles, half with severe injuries and the proportion of females (40%) was the highest yet reported. The proportion of animals entangled in packaging bands was the lowest ever (24%) and less than one-half that in 1992. Fishing net fragments and especially string and bags were important as entangling materials. In the 1993/94 summer the number of seals entangled (23) was the lowest ever and a 70% reduction on the previous year, thereby reversing the upward trend since 1990. For the first time more animals were entangled in net fragments (35%) than in packaging bands (30%), the decrease in the latter mirroring the records of the preceding winter. However, 68% of animals affected were female (previous highest 40%); combined with the highest proportion of adults and of severe injury yet reported, grounds still remain for concern.