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 July 31, 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 July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
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