Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fishermen Are Killing Brown Pelicans With Kindness, UF Expert Says

Date:
April 26, 1999
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
People who feed brown pelicans chunks of fish left over from a day of fishing are unwittingly contributing to a painful death for the birds, a University of Florida scientist says.

MIAMI---People who feed brown pelicans chunks of fish left over from a day of fishing are unwittingly contributing to a painful death for the birds, a University of Florida scientist says.

So UF and the Florida Sea Grant program are launching an educational campaign to let fishermen know they are hurting -- not helping -- the protected species, says Harrison Bresee, a marine agent based in the Miami-Dade County extension office, a part of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

"The problem," Bresee says, "is that a lot of people get to a cleaning station, clean their fish, put the filets in their cooler and feed pelicans the leftover carcasses, thinking the free meal is helping the birds."

Actually, Bresee says, it's hurting them. Pelicans can't catch large-boned fish such as dolphin or grouper on their own. And they can't digest the bones of the larger fish. The birds fly off, bones caught in their throat or pressing against their stomach lining.

"If the bones make it into the pelican's stomach they can puncture the stomach and other organs," Bresee says. "If the bones get caught in the pelican's throat, they can block the passage of other food and the pelican literally starves to death.

"People that feed pelicans feel like they are doing something nice by giving them a meal," Bresee said. "But by feeding them, they are killing them with kindness."

That theme appears on the educational signs Bresee and other marine agents are posting at about 1,000 marinas statewide. The signs, produced with help from the Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament, are aimed at alerting fishermen to the dangers of feeding pelicans.

For those who can't resist feeding the birds, Bresee recommends giving them boneless chunks or smaller fish that would be part of their natural diet: pinfish, grunts, small mullet. He also recommends disposing of the carcasses of larger fish by putting them in a covered waste bin or grinding them up so pelicans cannot reach the remains.

Harry Kelton, president of the Pelican Harbor Seabird Station in Biscayne Bay, has seen the harm humans can do to pelicans firsthand. He says 300 injured birds come in to the rescue station each year, and about 250 can be rehabilitated and returned to the wild.

It has only been in the past 10 years that the brown pelican has been upgraded to the protected species list from the endangered species list. During the 1970s the brown pelican was in danger of extinction because of many years of poor reproduction rates resulting from exposure to DDT, a now-banned pesticide.

Today, the coastal birds are common from Virginia south to Florida and from San Francisco south to Mexico, but during the summer can be found in more northerly seaports.

Kelton says humans are the pelicans' main threat.

"We're at the root of the problem," said Kelton, whose seabird station is also supporting the educational campaign. "There aren't any wild places left in Florida; we're surrounded by condominiums and sea walls, and pelican habitat is the prime habitat for building condominiums. So it's important not to do any more damage."

Bresee says the signs, printed in English and Spanish, should help prevent pelican deaths at a time that could be critical to the pelican population.

"Even though their habitat has been reduced and degraded over the years, the brown pelican population is starting to increase," Bresee said. "That is why it is important to educate fishermen about this issue."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "Fishermen Are Killing Brown Pelicans With Kindness, UF Expert Says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990426062257.htm>.
University Of Florida. (1999, April 26). Fishermen Are Killing Brown Pelicans With Kindness, UF Expert Says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990426062257.htm
University Of Florida. "Fishermen Are Killing Brown Pelicans With Kindness, UF Expert Says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990426062257.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins