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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 676:159-172 (2021)  -  DOI:

Light-level geolocators reveal spatial variations in interactions between northern fulmars and fisheries

Benjamin Dupuis1,2,#, Françoise Amélineau2,#,*, Arnaud Tarroux3, Oskar Bjørnstad4, Vegard Sandøy Bråthen5, Jóhannis Danielsen6, Sébastien Descamps2, Per Fauchald3, Gunnar Thor Hallgrimsson7, Erpur Snær Hansen8, Morten Helberg9, Hálfdán Helgi Helgason2,13, Jón Einar Jónsson10, Yann Kolbeinsson11, Erlend Lorentzen2, Paul Thompson12, Thorkell Lindberg Thórarinsson11, Hallvard Strøm2

1Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon I, Université de Lyon, 69342 Lyon Cedex 07, France
2Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
3Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
4Grødheimvegen 18, 4280 Skudeneshavn, Norway
5Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, PO Box 5685 Torgard, 7485 Trondheim, Norway
6Faroe Marine Research Institute, Nóatún 1, 100 Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
7Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland, Sturlugata 7, 102 Reykjavik, Iceland
8South Iceland Nature Research Centre, Ægisgata 2, 900 Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
9Østfold University College, PO Box 700, 1757 Halden, Norway
10University of Iceland’s Research Centre at Snæfellsnes, Hafnargata 3, 340 Stykkishólmur, Iceland
11Northeast Iceland Nature Research Centre, Hafnarstétt 3, 640 Húsavík, Iceland
12Lighthouse Field Station, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, IV11 8YL, UK
13Present address: East Iceland Nature Research Centre, Mýrargötu 10, 740 Neskaupstaður, Iceland
#These authors contributed equally to this work
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Seabird-fishery interactions are a common phenomenon of conservation concern. Here, we highlight how light-level geolocators provide promising opportunities to study these interactions. By examining raw light data, it is possible to detect encounters with artificial lights at night, while conductivity data give insight on seabird behaviour during encounters. We used geolocator data from 336 northern fulmars Fulmarus glacialis tracked from 12 colonies in the North-East Atlantic and Barents Sea during the non-breeding season to (1) confirm that detections of artificial lights correspond to encounters with fishing vessels by comparing overlap between fishing effort and both the position of detections and the activity of birds during encounters, (2) assess spatial differences in the number of encounters among wintering areas and (3) test whether some individuals forage around fishing vessels more often than others. Most (88.1%) of the tracks encountered artificial light at least once, with 9.5 ± 0.4 (SE) detections on average per 6 mo non-breeding season. Encounters occurred more frequently where fishing effort was high, and birds from some colonies had higher probabilities of encountering lights at night. During encounters, fulmars spent more time foraging and less time resting, strongly suggesting that artificial lights reflect the activity of birds around fishing vessels. Inter-individual variability in the probability of encountering light was high (range: 0-68 encounters per 6 mo non-breeding season), meaning that some individuals were more often associated with fishing vessels than others, independently of their colony of origin. Our study highlights the potential of geolocators to study seabird-fishery interactions at a large scale and a low cost.

KEY WORDS: Seabird-fishery interactions · Global location sensor · GLS · Fulmarus glacialis · Activity budget · Discards · Management policy

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Cite this article as: Dupuis B, Amélineau F, Tarroux A, Bjørnstad O and others (2021) Light-level geolocators reveal spatial variations in interactions between northern fulmars and fisheries. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 676:159-172.

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