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    Marine debris and fishing gear associated with seabirds at sub Antarctic Marion Island – 1998/99

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    Delegation of South Africa
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    Most (52%) of the 306 debris items found in association with seabirds at Marion Island, during the season May 1998 to April 1999, originated from the fishing industry. The most common items found were rope nooses (79) and fishing hooks (28), both originating from the Patagonian toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides longline industry. Wandering albatrosses Diomedea exulans took the highest proportion of fishing gear, followed by southern giant petrels Macronectes giganteus. Standardized searches of wandering albatross study colonies showed that there had been a slight decrease in the accumulation rate of marine debris, and in particular fishing gear, since the 1997/98 season, however, these levels were still much higher than the 1996/97 season. This is consistent with a decrease in the number of unsanctioned fishing vessels present in the close vicinity of the island. Standardized searches of greyheaded mollymawk nests also showed a dramatic decrease since 1997. An adult wandering albatrosses was found with a hook through its wing, while the carcasses of a wandering albatross chick and an adult northern giant petrel Macronectes halli were found with ingested Patagonian toothfish hooks.