We conducted a satellite tracking study of the endangered short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus) to determine post-breeding season distribution, the amount of time spent within exclusive economic zones of Pacific Rim countries, and assess factors affecting spatial and temporal overlap with commercial fisheries in Alaska. We obtained 6709 locations for 14 albatrosses (131–808 locations and 51–138 days of tracking per bird). Albatrosses ranged widely throughout the North Pacific Rim, spending the majority of time within the exclusive economic zones of Japan, Russia (Kuril Islands and Kamchatka Peninsula), and the United States (Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea, Alaska). We found evidence for gender and age-related differences in distribution and, therefore, potential interaction with regional fisheries. Overall, albatrosses spent the greatest proportion of time within the Alaska exclusive economic zone. Within Alaska, albatrosses occurred most frequently in fishery management zones that encompassed the Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea, and south of the Alaska Peninsula. Short-tailed albatrosses had the greatest potential overlap with fisheries that occurred along continental shelf break and slope regions, e.g., longlining for sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria), where albatrosses occurred most often. Some birds, however, also made frequent excursions onto the extensive Bering Sea shelf, suggesting significant potential for interactions with the large-scale walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) and Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) fisheries. Alaskan longline fishing fleets have been proactive in using seabird deterrent devices, however, our data further emphasize that such efforts beyond the Alaska exclusive economic zone would provide a greater conservation benefit for this species.
Migratory Routes of Short-Tailed Albatrosses: Use of Exclusive Economic Zones of North Pacific Rim Countries and Spatial Overlap with Commercial Fisheries in Alaska
Title: Migratory Routes of Short-Tailed Albatrosses: Use of Exclusive Economic Zones of North Pacific Rim Countries and Spatial Overlap with Commercial Fisheries in Alaska
May 07, 2007
Journal: Biological Conservation
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd.
Suryan, R.; Dietrich, K.; Melvin, E.; Balogh, G.; Sato, F.; Ozaki, K. (2007). Migratory Routes of Short-Tailed Albatrosses: Use of Exclusive Economic Zones of North Pacific Rim Countries and Spatial Overlap with Commercial Fisheries in Alaska. Biological Conservation, 137, 450-460.