Location of Repository

Albatross overlap with fisheries in the Benguela Upwelling System: implications for conservation and management

By Samantha L. Petersen, Richard A. Phillips, Peter G. Ryan and Les G. Underhill


Trawl activity on the continental shelf break off South Africa provides large quantities of food in the form of discards for a range of species, including non-breeding black-browed albatrosses Thalassarche melanophrys and white-capped albatrosses T. steadi. As large numbers of both\ud species are killed in collisions with trawl warp cables, mitigation measures have been introduced that include limitation of discards, yet little is known about the consequences of reduced food supply for scavenging birds. We tracked adult and immature albatrosses in the southern Benguela in the austral winters of 2005 and 2006 and examined their distribution in relation to fisheries, bathymetry and remotely sensed oceanography. Kernel analysis revealed that white-capped albatrosses spent most\ud (85.0%) of their time on the southern African trawl grounds, whereas black-browed albatrosses spent only 39.2% of their time in these areas, and the remainder on return oceanic foraging trips, typically of 8.4 d duration and 2540 km (max. 5320 km) in length. While foraging in South African waters, the presence of trawlers was a strong predictor of albatross distribution. While on oceanic foraging trips, black-browed albatrosses moved predictably along the margins of eddies, typically areas of enhanced productivity and high prey concentrations. This study presents evidence that blackbrowed albatrosses forage to a much greater extent on natural prey than do white-capped albatrosses. Therefore, given the high incidence of albatross collisions with trawl cables, the benefit of a\ud management decision to limit discarding as a mitigation measure is likely to outweigh the disadvantage of reduced food.\u

Topics: Marine Sciences, Zoology, Ecology and Environment
Publisher: Inter-Research
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.3354/esr00132
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:11583

Suggested articles



  1. (1985). Asymmetrical competition: Are larger animals competitively superior? Am Nat 126:261–266 Petersen SL, Nel DC, Omardien A
  2. (1985). Correlations with the sizes of particular sympatric species: displacement and convergence. doi
  3. (1999). Diets of northern fulmars Fulmarus glacialis: Reliance on commercial fisheries? Mar Biol 135:159–170 doi
  4. (1993). Foraging strategy of wandering albatross through the breeding season: a study using satellite telemetry. Auk 110:325–342 Weimerskirch doi
  5. (2006). Molecular provenance analysis for shy and white-capped albatrosses killed by fisheries interactions in Australia, doi
  6. (1968). Seabirds: feeding ecology and role in marine ecosystems. doi
  7. (1992). The use of fishery waste by gull populations around the British Isles. Ardea 80:105–113 Garthe S
  8. (2003). The use of space by animals as a function of accessibility and preference. Ecol Model 159: 239–268 doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.