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First steps for mitigating bycatch of Pink-footed Shearwaters Ardenna creatopus: Identifying overlap of foraging areas and fisheries in Chile

Released: 2016
Carle, R, J Felis, J Adams, V López, V Colodro, J Beck, R Vega, A González, P Hodum. 2016. First steps for mitigating bycatch of Pink-footed Shearwaters Ardenna creatopus: Identifying overlap of foraging areas and fisheries in Chile. 6th International Albatross and Petrel Conference (IPAC6), Barcelona, Spain. 19-23 September 2016. [presentation]

The Pink-footed Shearwater (Ardenna creatopus) is listed as endangered by Chile and as Vulnerable by the IUCN, with an estimated global population of 56,000 individuals. Fisheries bycatch of this species may be a major threat to the species (e.g. previous studies estimated mortality of >1000 birds annually in Peru and Chile). Using miniature GPS and satellite transmitters, we determined foraging areas of chick-rearing Pink-footed Shearwaters during 2002-2006 on the Juan Fernández Islands (JFI) and 2015-2016 on Isla Mocha, Chile. We overlaid shearwater tracking data with data on fishing effort in Chile to identify fisheries and fishing zones with the greatest potential for bycatch. During 2002-2006 (n = 28 birds) and 2015 (n = 18 birds), shearwaters primarily used continental shelf habitat <30 km offshore. Foraging trips occurred between 31.5 and 40.0°S, and birds remained in Chile territorial waters 100% of the time. There were two primary foraging “hotspots”, one offshore near Talcahuano, Chile (approximately 36-37.5°S), and one offshore north of Valdivia, Chile (approximately 39-39.5°S). In 2016, foraging trips of birds from Mocha (n = 16 birds) were of longer duration (up to 15 days) and distance than in 2015. During 2016, birds ranged from approximately 34.0°S and 45.5°S and traveled up to 680 km from Isla Mocha. However, highest use areas were consistent with foraging hotspots identified in 2015. Foraging grounds overlapped extensively with industrial and artisanal anchovy/sardine purse-seine fisheries within Chile, in which Pink-footed Shearwater bycatch has been directly observed. Based on 2015 data, areas of greatest fisheries overlap with shearwater habitat use occurred around the foraging “hotspots” near Talcahuano and Valdivia, Chile. Further work is needed on tracking of Pink-footed Shearwaters during other life-stages and on collaborative efforts with fisheries managers and fishers to mitigate bycatch.

This product is associated with the following project:
Pacific Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment (PaCSEA)

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