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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 493:297-300 (2013)  -  DOI:

Appropriate scales and data to manage seabird-fishery interactions: Comment on Torres et al. (2013)

John Croxall1, Cleo Small2,*, Ben Sullivan2, Ross Wanless3, Esteban Frere4, Ben Lascelles1, Ivan Ramirez5, Mayumi Sato6, Oli Yates7

1Global Seabird Programme, BirdLife International, Wellbrook Court, Girton Road, Cambridge CB3 0NA, UK
2Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL, UK
3Seabird Division, BirdLife South Africa, PO Box 7119, Roggebaai 8012, South Africa and Percy FitzPatrick Institute, DST-NRF Centre of Excellence, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
4Global Seabird Programme, BirdLife International, Matheu 1246/8, (C1249AAB) Buenos Aires, Argentina
5Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves, Avenida João Crisóstomo, 18 - 4° Dto., 1000-179 Lisboa, Portugal
6BirdLife International Asia Divison, TM Suidobashi Bldg., 4F, Misaki-cho 2-14-6, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
7BirdLife International Global Seabird Programme, Casilla 145, La Serena, Chile
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Torres et al. (2013; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 473:275-289) use fine-scale data on tracked locations of one species of albatross and fishing vessels to make a variety of assertions on interactions between them, especially in relation to risk of bycatch. Some of these assertions are incorrect, and we seek to clarify the issues and perspectives involved. We argue that while a fine-scale approach can provide interesting insights into foraging behaviour, large-scale risk analysis is needed because management measures (e.g. for bycatch mitigation) need to operate across all vessels in a fishery and across all seabird species at risk from the fishing operation. In addition, an estimate of 10% time spent in close proximity to vessels cannot be used to infer low bycatch risk alone: such an inference would need comparison to bycatch rate data. The analysis also does not take into account a number of factors known to affect the nature and duration of the association of albatrosses with fishing vessels, which limits the conclusions that can be drawn. However, fine-scale studies can provide important insight into factors affecting individual bycatch events, and studies at fine and broad scales will be complementary.

KEY WORDS: Bycatch · Satellite tracking · Albatrosses

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Cite this article as: Croxall J, Small C, Sullivan B, Wanless R and others (2013) Appropriate scales and data to manage seabird-fishery interactions: Comment on Torres et al. (2013). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 493:297-300.

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