ESR prepress abstract  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00969

Eastern Pacific migration strategies of pink-footed shearwaters Ardenna creatopus: implications for fisheries interactions and international conservation

Jonathan J. Felis*, Josh Adams, Peter J. Hodum, Ryan D. Carle, Valentina Colodro

*Email: jfelis@usgs.gov

ABSTRACT: The pink-footed shearwater Ardenna creatopus has a breeding range restricted to 3 central-Chilean islands and travels north in the eastern Pacific Ocean during the non-breeding period. Despite its IUCN status as Vulnerable, the locations and relative importance of core non-breeding areas and migratory pathways of the species are not well understood. During 5 years between 2006 and 2015, we tracked the movements of 42 after-hatch-year pink-footed shearwaters in the non-breeding season using satellite tags. Tracked shearwaters exhibited 2 post-breeding-season migration strategies: 28% of individuals traveled 1600–2500 km north from their colonies to spend the entire non-breeding season off Peru, and 72% traveled 8000–11000 km north to waters off western North America (Baja California, Mexico, to southernmost Canada). Individuals that traveled to North America stopped in Peruvian waters on each leg of the migration, making this a migratory bottleneck that was disproportionately important for all birds. Core non-breeding-season areas included continental shelf and slope waters off Trujillo to Lima (Peru), central Baja California (Mexico), southern to central California (USA), and central Oregon (USA) to southern Vancouver Island (Canada). Of 12 national exclusive economic zones (EEZs) encountered north of their breeding range, birds primarily utilized the USA, Peru and Mexico, and to a lesser degree Chile, Canada, and Ecuador. Bycatch in fisheries was recently identified as a significant at-sea threat to pink-footed shearwaters, and we found evidence of pink-footed shearwater bycatch in 6 EEZs encountered by tracked birds, although quantification of bycatch magnitude is variable and not all fisheries have been studied.