Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discards ban could impact seabird populations

Date:
March 14, 2013
Source:
University of Plymouth
Summary:
Species of seabirds could successfully return to their natural foraging habits following changes to European fisheries policies, scientists have suggested.

Species of seabirds could successfully return to their natural foraging habits following changes to European fisheries policies, scientists have suggested. The European Parliament recently voted to scrap the controversial discards policy, which has seen fishermen throwing thousands of edible fish and fish waste back into the sea because they have exceeded their quotas.
Credit: Valeriy Kirsanov / Fotolia

Species of seabirds could successfully return to their natural foraging habits following changes to European fisheries policies, scientists have suggested.

The European Parliament recently voted to scrap the controversial discards policy, which has seen fishermen throwing thousands of edible fish and fish waste back into the sea because they have exceeded their quotas.

Scientists at Plymouth University believe this could have a negative impact on some seabirds, which have become used to following the fishing vessels and are increasingly reliant on their discards.

But they say others could return to using foraging as their sole source of food, as long as there are sufficient numbers of fish to meet their needs.

Dr Stephen Votier, Associate Professor in Marine Ecology at Plymouth University, led the study. He said: "Policy changes can have unforeseen consequences, and the recent decision on the EU discards policy will pose challenges for a number of species. Many seabirds have come to rely to some extent on fishing vessels for food and globally, commercial capture fisheries generate huge quantities of discards. However, we believe there is a level of resilience among seabirds which means they will be able to overcome these challenges." The study focused on populations of northern gannets on Grassholm Island, in Wales, with tiny cameras and GPS trackers being attached to birds to monitor their foraging habits.

The cameras captured more than 20,000 images, allowing scientists for the first time to analyse where the birds had flown to source food, precisely what they had fed on, and other details such as their sex and reproductive status.

The findings showed 42% of birds regularly targeted fishing vessels, as well as searching for naturally occurring prey, while 81% of male gannets used fishing vessels to source food and 30% of female birds did so.

Dr Votier added: "We have used cutting-edge technology to reveal the private lives of seabirds at sea -- in this instance how they interact with fisheries -- and the findings suggest scavenging is more common in this species than previously thought. This suggests a discard ban may have a significant impact on gannet behaviour, particularly so for males, but a continued reliance on 'natural' foraging shows the ability to switch away from discards, but only if there is sufficient forage fish to meet their needs in the absence of a discard subsidy." The research study, which also involved scientists from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chize in France, was conducted under licence from the Countryside Council for Wales and the British Trust for Ornithology.

It received funding from the National Environment Research Council, and the full findings are published in the latest issue of the PLOS ONE scientific journal.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Stephen C. Votier, Anthony Bicknell, Samantha L. Cox, Kylie L. Scales, Samantha C. Patrick. A Bird’s Eye View of Discard Reforms: Bird-Borne Cameras Reveal Seabird/Fishery Interactions. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (3): e57376 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057376

Cite This Page:

University of Plymouth. "Discards ban could impact seabird populations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314111640.htm>.
University of Plymouth. (2013, March 14). Discards ban could impact seabird populations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314111640.htm
University of Plymouth. "Discards ban could impact seabird populations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314111640.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) 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