Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Endangered albatrosses under threat from commercial fishing

Endangered albatrosses under pressure due to commercial fishing, UC researcher says

November 7, 2012

Endangered albatrosses which nest in New Zealand are under increasing threat as they compete for the same food in the same waters as major commercial fisheries, a University of Canterbury (UC) researcher said today.

UC PhD student Lorna Deppe said both the longline and trawl fisheries imperil albatrosses at sea. She has spent three years studying the movements of Chatham albatross, Northern Buller's albatross and Northern Royal albatross, all of which are endemic to New Zealand.

New Zealand waters are the breeding grounds for 60 percent of albatross species worldwide. The Chatham albatross is an extreme example as its breeding population comprises only about 5000 breeding pairs, all of which breed on a single island, The Pyramid, in the Chathams.

She said New Zealand has a huge responsibility for the conservation of such species. However, far ranging species like albatrosses do not stick to jurisdictional boundaries and it was important to know where they went once they finished breeding. The development of small electronic tracking devices now allows scientists to follow birds wherever they go, even across entire ocean basins.

``Using geo-locator devices, I was able to track both Chathams and Northern Buller's albatrosses from New Zealand and I found highest densities of wintering birds in northern Chilean and Peruvian waters, an area known for being one of the world’s most productive fishing grounds.

``Since bird and man go for the same resource, this is not necessarily a surprise, but poses a two-way threat: mortality as by-catch in fishing gear and potential depletion of food needed to refuel during winter due to human over-fishing. It’s similar for the Northern Royal albatrosses which winter on the Patagonian shelf in Argentina.

``And it’s the same again for the Chatham albatross during the breeding season. I studied the birds’ foraging movements over three years and found they restricted their range to the Chatham Rise, an area intensely used by commercial fishing operations.’’

In the last two decades, a better understanding of the movements of seabirds and their habitat requirements, had taken on new urgency, she said.

A total of 19 out of 22 albatross species are currently considered threatened. In some cases, the decline is associated with habitat loss, pollution and the introduction of invasive animals onto nesting islands. However, for most species, the primary threat appears to be increased adult mortality associated with commercial fisheries, Deppe said.

``Due to naturally low population numbers and low reproduction rates, adult mortality has a particularly strong impact on population dynamics. Many species are in decline.

``Given the threatened status of many species, my objective has been to answer questions about the distributional patterns of albatrosses at sea. One particular aim has been to provide a year round overview on which areas become important at different stages of the life cycle. Such information would allow a better understanding of when and where conservation action may be needed.

``It is hoped that the new insights into distributional patterns this work provides will benefit the conservation of albatrosses and in particular New Zealand's role in this work.’’

Deppe is carrying out her thesis under the supervision of UC Associate Professor Jim Briskie and Dr Paul Scofield of the Canterbury Museum.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Prefu Roundup: Forecasts Revised, Surplus Intact

The National government heads into the election with its Budget surplus target broadly intact, delivering a set of economic and fiscal forecasts marginally revised from May to reflect weaker commodity prices and a lower tax take. More>>

ALSO:

Convention Centre: Major New SkyCity Hotel And Laneway For Auckland

Today SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited revealed plans to build a new hotel and pedestrian laneway of bars, restaurants and boutique shopping on land it owns in the Nelson and Hobson Streets block, expanding the SKYCITY Entertainment Precinct. More>>

ALSO:

Igniting The Spark: Bringing The Digital Enabler To Life

Changing a name is, relatively speaking, the easy part of a re-invention. Changing a culture, getting all the ducks in a row, turning yourself inside-out to become customer-inspired is a much bigger challenge. More>>

ALSO:

Ebola And NZ: Targeted Screening At Airport But Risk Low

The risk of any cases of Ebola in New Zealand remains very low, but health and border authorities are well prepared... anyone arriving in New Zealand who in the last three weeks has visited countries affected will be screened for symptoms of the disease. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Brewer Seeking Crowd-Funding Cancels Shareholders’ Dividends

Shareholders in Renaissance Brewing company, the first business to seek equity through crowd-funding in New Zealand, have cancelled their claim on $147,000 of accumulated earnings “to make Renaissance a more attractive investment opportunity.” More>>

ALSO:

It's Spark Now:
Why Telecom Wanted To Change

New Zealand led the world when Chorus demerged from Telecom. It gave us a telecommunications industry structure where the network is completely separated from the products and services it delivers. The changes brought about a new market dynamic and it dramatically changed Telecom’s role. More>>

ALSO:

Glass Half Empty: Dairy Prices Fall To Lowest Since 2012

Dairy product prices slumped to the lowest level since October 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, paced by whole milk powder and cheddar. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news