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Individual and colony-specific wintering areas of Pacific northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis)

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Abstract:

Seabird mortality associated with longline fishing in the eastern Bering Sea occurs mainly from September to May, with northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) comprising the majority (60%) of the bycatch. Along the west coast of North America, winter dieoffs of fulmars may be increasing in frequency and magnitude, the most severe on record being a wreck that peaked in October–November 2003. We deployed satellite transmitters on fulmars from the four main Alaska colonies and tracked individuals for up to 2 years. Fulmars from Hall Island (northern Bering Sea) moved to Russian coastal waters after breeding, while Pribilof Island fulmars (southeastern Bering Sea) remained relatively sedentary year-round. Birds from Chagulak Island (eastern Aleutians) preferred passes between the Aleutian Islands in winter or foraged widely over deep waters of the central Bering Sea and North Pacific. Fulmars from the Semidi Islands (western Gulf of Alaska) migrated directly to waters of the California Current. Individuals from St. George Island (Pribilofs) and Chagulak were consistent in the places that they visited in two successive winters. The Pribilof Islands population is most affected by winter longlining for groundfish, whereas the Semidi Islands colony sustains most of the natural mortality that occurs off Washington, Oregon, and California.

La mortalité d’oiseaux marins associée à la pêche à la palangre dans l’est de la mer de Béring se produit principalement de septembre à mai et les fulmars boréaux (Fulmarus glacialis) constituent la majorité (60%) de la pêche accessoire. Sur la côte occidentale de l’Amérique du Nord, les mortalités hivernales semblent augmenter en fréquence et en intensité et la plus importante connue est un échouage massif qui a atteint son apogée en octobre–novembre 2003. Nous avons muni d’émetteurs satellites des fulmars provenant des quatre principales colonies de l’Alaska et nous avons suivi les individus pendant jusqu’à 2 ans. Les fulmars de l’île Hall (nord de la mer de Béring) se déplacent vers les eaux côtières russes après la reproduction, alors que les fulmars des îles Pribilof (sud-est de la mer de Béring) restent relativement sédentaires à l’année longue. Les oiseaux de l’île Chagulak (Aléoutiennes orientales) préfèrent les passes entre les Aléoutiennes en hiver ou alors recherchent leur nourriture sur de grandes étendues en eaux profondes dans le centre de la mer de Béring et le Pacifique Nord. Les fulmars des îles Semidi (ouest du golfe de l’Alaska) migrent directement vers les eaux du courant de Californie. Les individus provenant de l’île Saint-Georges (îles Pribilof) et de Chagulak ont visité les mêmes sites durant les deux hivers successives. La population des îles Pribilof est la plus affectée par la pêche hivernale à la palangre pour les poissons de fond, alors que la colonie des îles Semidi subit la plus grande part de la mortalité naturelle qui se produit au large du Washington, de l’Oregon et de la Californie.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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