Twenty-eight species of seabird were reported from observations during longline setting operations that targeted toothfish (Dissostichus spp.) in 2001–03 in Sub-areas 88.1 and 88.2. The distribution of fishing effort was dictated by the presence of sea ice and there are differences in the seabird composition reported each year because of variation in the spatial distribution of the seabirds. At-sea identification of some species is difficult and some of the species that were reported from outside their known distribution range may have been misidentified. The most commonly seen seabirds were cape petrels (Daption capense), Antarctic petrels (Thalassoica antarctica), Wilson's storm petrels (Oceanities oceanicus), and snow petrels (Pagodroma nivea). The highest species diversity was in waters north of about 70º S off the continental shelf. Seabirds were not always seen in attendance at the setting operation and appeared to be generally uninterested in the line setting and were more likely to be well astern of the vessel. There were very few observations of seabirds diving on the bait during the set. Lost bait or bycatch fish species, mainly rattails (Macrourus spp.), were taken by some seabird species during hauling, but this feeding was away from the vessel activity. Nine marine mammal species were observed close to vessels during hauling, but there were few observations.
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