Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fisheries linked to decline in Galapagos waved albatross population

05.10.2006
Fishermen caught and killed about 1 percent of the world’s waved albatrosses in a year, according to a new study by Wake Forest University biologists.

“If that happens every year, that is not sustainable,” said Jill Awkerman, a Wake Forest graduate student who is the lead author of the study published online Sept. 26 in the journal Biological Conservation. “In a matter of decades, you could be talking about extinction.”

Awkerman’s research shows the waved albatrosses are unintentionally killed when caught in fishing nets or on fishing hooks, but are also intentionally harvested for human consumption.

She worked with David Anderson, professor of biology at Wake Forest, on the study. Since 1999, Anderson and his research team have studied survival rates of waved albatrosses on Española Island in the Galapagos Islands, located off the coast of Ecuador. Española is a small island where almost all of the waved albatrosses in the world nest and breed.

Identification bands from 23 waved albatrosses killed in 2005 were returned to the researchers by fishermen. The researchers put bands on a total of 2,550 albatrosses, so almost one out of every 100 birds is being killed unintentionally or intentionally by fishermen.

As part of the study, the researchers and colleagues in Peru also surveyed 37 major fishing communities to investigate albatross interactions with fisheries in the main areas where they forage for food off the Peruvian coast. They sent observers out on fishing vessels to find out what happens when fishermen encounter the giant seabirds. The observers found that some albatrosses became tangled accidentally in submerged gillnets. Although some of the birds caught in nets could be released, fishermen often killed them for food instead. The fishermen also intentionally caught albatrosses on baited hooks.

More males (82 percent of all captures) were killed than females, Awkerman said. That is particularly troubling because albatrosses require both parents to raise chicks. Fewer males in the population limit the number of breeding pairs. For a species that depends on a lifespan of several decades to successfully reproduce even one offspring that outlives the parent, the implications of their shortened lives are grim.

“Fishing mortality could be partially responsible for an apparent decline in the breeding population,” Awkerman said. “Our study puts together a frightening picture of what the potential for this species is. But, with educational outreach and further research there is potential to turn this around before too much damage is done.”

Communicating with the fishermen about the consequences to the species of killing each waved albatross is the key, Awkerman said. Collaborators in Peru continue discussions with both fishermen and government officials to address these conservation concerns. “Our study has already had a positive political effect, alerting the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Ministries of Environment of the problem occurring in their two countries, and they have recently had meetings to begin to deal with it,” Anderson said.

Cheryl V. Walker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfu.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>