This report describes and quantifies occurrences of fishing gear, marine debris and oil associated with seabirds at Bird Island, South Georgia during the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002. It is the ninth such annual report. Fewer hooks and other longline fishery discards were recorded in association with wandering albatrosses compared to last year, but the number of items (63) remains well above the mean since annual recording began. The number of items of fishing gear associated with grey-headed (12) and black-browed albatrosses (9) was the highest on record for both species, though small by comparison with wandering albatross. Northern and southern giant petrels were observed with ingested fishing line protruding from the bill. Fishing gear associated with white-chinned petrel (longline hook) and snowy sheathbill (synthetic rope) was recorded for the first time in the study. More marine debris was found in association with wandering albatrosses (largely food wrappers and plastic bags) and grey-headed albatrosses (mostly small plastic fragments) than in any previous year. Small quantities of marine debris ingested by black-browed albatrosses, giant petrels, brown skuas and Antarctic prions were also recorded. One black-browed albatross with some oil on its plumage was observed. The evidence of many seabird interactions with longline fishing is of particular concern, and suggests that discarding of offal complete with hooks and line is still occurring on a large scale.
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