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Seabird movement reveals the ecological footprint of fishing vessels
Bodey, T.W.; Jessopp, M.J.; Votier, S.C.; Gerritsen, H.D.; Cleasby, I.R.; Hamer, K.C.; Patrick, S.C.; Wakefield, E.D.; Bearhop, S. (2014). Seabird movement reveals the ecological footprint of fishing vessels. Curr. Biol. 24(11): R514-R515.
In: Current Biology. Cell Press: London. ISSN 0960-9822, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Bodey, T.W.
  • Jessopp, M.J.
  • Votier, S.C.
  • Gerritsen, H.D.
  • Cleasby, I.R.
  • Hamer, K.C.
  • Patrick, S.C.
  • Wakefield, E.D.
  • Bearhop, S.

    Exploitation of the seas is currently unsustainable, with increasing demand for marine resources placing intense pressure on the Earth’s largest ecosystem [1]. The scale of anthropogenic effects varies from local to entire ocean basins 1, 2 and 3. For example, discards of commercial capture fisheries can have both positive and negative impacts on scavengers at the population and community-level 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, although this is driven by individual foraging behaviour 3 and 7. Currently, we have little understanding of the scale at which individual animals initiate such behaviours. We use the known interaction between fisheries and a wide-ranging seabird, the Northern gannet Morus bassanus [3], to investigate how fishing vessels affect individual birds’ behaviours in near real-time. We document the footprint of fishing vessels’ (=15 m length) influence on foraging decisions (=11 km), and a potential underlying behavioural mechanism, by revealing how birds respond differently to vessels depending on gear type and activity. Such influences have important implications for fisheries, including the proposed discard ban [8]), and wider marine management.

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