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ESR 43:409-420 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01076

Important marine areas for the conservation of northern rockhopper penguins within the Tristan da Cunha Exclusive Economic Zone

Antje Steinfurth1,2,*, Steffen Oppel1, Maria P. Dias3,4, Thomas Starnes1, Elizabeth J. Pearmain3, Ben J. Dilley2, Delia Davies2, Mara Nydegger1, Chris Bell1, Fabrice Le Bouard1, Alexander L. Bond1,5, Richard J. Cuthbert1,6, Trevor Glass7, Azwianewi B. Makhado2,8, Robert J. M. Crawford8, Peter G. Ryan2, Ross M. Wanless2,9, Norman Ratcliffe10

1RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QZ, UK
2FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, South Africa
3BirdLife International, David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QZ, UK
4MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Center, ISPA - Instituto Universitário, 1100-304 Lisboa, Portugal
5Bird Group, Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, Tring, HP23 6AP, UK
6World Land Trust, Blyth House, Bridge Street, Halesworth, IP19 8AB, UK
7Tristan Conservation Department, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, Tristan da Cunha, TDCU 1ZZ, South Atlantic
8Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, PO Box 52126, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
9Institute of Marine Affairs and Resource Management, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, 20224, Taiwan
10British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0ET, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The designation of Marine Protected Areas has become an important approach to conserving marine ecosystems that relies on robust information on the spatial distribution of biodiversity. We used GPS tracking data to identify marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) for the Endangered northern rockhopper penguin Eudyptes moseleyi within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. Penguins were tracked throughout their breeding season from 3 of the 4 main islands in the Tristan da Cunha group. Foraging trips remained largely within the EEZ, with the exception of those from Gough Island during the incubation stage. We found substantial variability in trip duration and foraging range among breeding stages and islands, consistent use of areas among years and spatial segregation of the areas used by neighbouring islands. For colonies with no or insufficient tracking data, we defined marine IBAs based on the mean maximum foraging range and merged the areas identified to propose IBAs around the Tristan da Cunha archipelago and Gough Island. The 2 proposed marine IBAs encompass 2% of Tristan da Cunha’s EEZ, and are used by all northern rockhopper penguins breeding in the Tristan da Cunha group, representing ~90% of the global population. Currently, one of the main threats to northern rockhopper penguins within the Tristan da Cunha EEZ is marine pollution from shipping, and the risk of this would be reduced by declaring waters within 50 nautical miles of the coast as ‘areas to be avoided’.


KEY WORDS: Eudyptes · Important Bird and Biodiversity Area · Marine protected area · Penguin · Seabird · Tracking


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Cite this article as: Steinfurth A, Oppel S, Dias MP, Starnes T and others (2020) Important marine areas for the conservation of northern rockhopper penguins within the Tristan da Cunha Exclusive Economic Zone. Endang Species Res 43:409-420. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01076

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