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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 660:171-187 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13586

Year-round offshore distribution, behaviour, and overlap with commercial fisheries of a Critically Endangered small petrel

Johannes H. Fischer1,*, Igor Debski2, Derek B. Spitz3, Graeme A. Taylor2, Heiko U. Wittmer1

1School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
2Aquatic Unit, Department of Conservation, Wellington 6143, New Zealand
3Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Without insights into the threats affecting species across their distributions and throughout their annual cycles, effective conservation management cannot be applied. The Whenua Hou diving petrel Pelecanoides whenuahouensis (WHDP) is a Critically Endangered small seabird whose offshore habits and threats are poorly understood. We tracked WHDPs year-round in 2015/16, 2017/18, and 2018/19 using global location-sensing immersion loggers to identify offshore distribution, movements, behaviour, and overlap with commercial fishing effort. During the breeding period, WHDPs ranged from southern Aotearoa (New Zealand) to Maukahuka (Auckland Islands). After breeding, WHDPs migrated southwest towards the Polar Front south of Australia, exhibited clockwise movements, and returned to their breeding grounds via the Subantarctic Front. During the non-breeding period, WHDPs exhibited extreme aquatic behaviour and spent >95% of their time on, or under, water. The core areas used consistently during breeding and non-breeding periods warrant listing as Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas. Spatiotemporal overlap of commercial fishing effort with breeding distributions was considerable, in contrast with non-breeding distributions. Spatiotemporal management of anthropogenic activity around the breeding colony during the breeding period could help protect WHDPs, but such measures should be subjected to a structured decision-making framework. Our results illustrate the importance of year-round studies to inform conservation of marine species.


Māori abstract

TUHINGA WHAKARĀPOPOTO: Ki te kore e mātau i ngā āhuatanga mōrearea e pātahi ai ki ngā momo kararehe i ā rātou nohoanga huhua, i ia tau rānei e kore e whakatau ai tētahi ara whakauka e whai hua ana. He manu paku o te moana e ngaro haere ana tōna whare ora te Kuaka Whenua Hou Pelecanoides whenuahouensis e kore e mātau pai ana i āna whanonga ki tai, i ngā āhuatanga mōrearea rānei e pātahi ai ki a ia. Nā te pūrere whakaroki-mahi pūoko-wāhi mātou i whāia ai ngā Kuaka i ngā tau 2015/16, 2017/18 me te tau 2018/19 ki te tūtohu i ā rātou hōrapa ki tai, nekehanga, whanonga me tā rātou tūtaki ki ngā pakihi hī ika. I te wā o te whakatipu, i noho ai ngā Kuakas ki te tonga o Aotearoa tae rawa atu ai ki Maukahuka. Ka mutu te whakatipu, i heke whaka-te-māuru-mā-tonga ki te Hauaitū kei te tonga o Ahitereiria, i rere whakatekaraka kia hoki atu ai ki te whenua whānau ai ngā hua kei te Haunui-o-Tonga. I te wā kāore rātou i te ai i noho roa ngā Kuaka ki te moana, nui ake i te 95 ōrau o te wā, kei te kawara, kei roto rānei i te moana. Ko ngā wāhi mātua ai te noho, te hokihoki atu ai hoki o ēnei manu ahakoa whakatipu rānei, ahakoa kai rānei me noho ki te rārangi Wāhi Manu, Wāhi Rerenga Rauropi Whakahirahira. He nui hoki tā rātou tūtaki ā wā, ā wāhi ki ngā pakihi hī ika i te wā whakatipu e, karekau i te wā kai noa. Ka whai hua pea he herenga a wāhi i te mahi o te tangata ki ō ngā pūrei kōhanga i te wā whakatipu, engari me whai anga whakatau kia whakatauhia ai tēnei. Mātua tohua ai ā mātou putanga i te whakahirahira o te āta whai, i te aromatawai ā-tau kia mātau ai te whakaukahanga o tētahi momo kararehe o te moana.


KEY WORDS: Biologging · Conservation · Global Fishing Watch · Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas · Pelecanoides whenuahouensis · Whenua Hou diving petrel


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Cite this article as: Fischer JH, Debski I, Spitz DB, Taylor GA, Wittmer HU (2021) Year-round offshore distribution, behaviour, and overlap with commercial fisheries of a Critically Endangered small petrel. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 660:171-187. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13586

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