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

 

Scoop Business: NZ Dollar Catches Breath After "Goldilocks" Slump

The New Zealand dollar edged up following its dramatic slump yesterday after the Reserve Bank confirmed speculation it intervened in the currency market last month and PM John Key suggested a “Goldilocks” level far lower than at present. More>>

ALSO:

Biosecurity: Kiwifruit Claim To Hold Officials Accountable For Psa

Kiwifruit growers have joined forces to hold Biosecurity NZ accountable in the courts for its negligence in allowing 2010’s Psa outbreak that devastated New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry and exports. Foundation claimants representing well ... More>>

ALSO:

Poison: Anglers Advised Not To Eat Trout In 1080 Areas

With the fishing season opening in just a few days (1 October 2014), anglers are being warned by the Department of Conservation(DOC) not to eat trout from pristine backcountry waters and their downstream catchments, where the department is conducting 1080 poisoning operations. More>>.

ALSO:

Quotas: MPI Swoop On Suspected Fraudulent Fishing Activity

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) compliance officers swooped on a Hawkes Bay fishing enterprise today to secure evidence in an investigation into suspected fraudulent activity... “The investigation involves activity throughout the commercial supply chain – catching, landing, processing and exporting.” More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Fonterra Slashes 2015 Milk Payout, Earnings Tumble 76%

Fonterra Cooperative Group cut its forecast 2015 milk price payout by about 12 percent, citing weaker global dairy prices and said there is a risk of further declines given strong global milk production. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news