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    Entanglement in man-made debris of Antarctic fur seals at Bird Island, South Georgia

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    Delegation of UK
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    The incidence of entanglement in man-made debris by Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) at Bird Island, South Georgia, was monitored throughout the austral winter and summer of 1990/91 as part of an ongoing study by the British Antarctic Survey. A minimum of 8 seals were sighted entangled, 7 (88%) of which had their neck collars removed, during the winter months (April – October). During the summer pup-rearing period a minimum of 30 entangled seals were reported, 26 (87%) of which had their collars removed. This represents a reduction of 88% in the number of entangled seals reported in comparison to the same time period in 1988/89. Possible causes suggested for this observed reduction in entanglement include a reduction in fishing activity in the South Georgia area, a decrease in the amount of hazardous material jettisoned at sea or a possible increased mortality at sea of entangled seals. The most common type of neck collar material was polypropylene straps (50%) of the type used in packaging bands, followed by twine (16.7%) and fishing net fragments (16.6%). Apart from the increase in the incidence of twine, the proportions of the various neck collar materials were similar to those reported in 1988/89.