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Effects of changes in fishery discarding rates on seabird communities *

Contract nr: QLRT-CT-2000-00839
Project type: RS (Research and Technological Development Project)
Starting date:
Duration: 42 months
Total cost: 1,897,839 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,379,000 EUR
Scientific Officer:
Research topic: 5.1.2. Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture

Abstract:
Huge quantities of demersal fish are discarded by fisheries. Scavenging seabirds eat many of these. This extra food may affect seabird community stability. EU-CFP aims to manage fisheries to minimise damaging impacts on ecosystems, including top predators. Knowledge of impacts of discard rates on seabirds has been identified by EC, ICES and FAO as a prerequisite. We will provide this much-needed information. New state-of-the-art technologies (satellite tracking, geolocational data loggers, stable isotope and fatty acid biomarkers) will be used to quantify the importance of discards in seabird population ecology, related to measures of breeding performance. High-quality archived data on yearly variations in diets and breeding ecology of EU conservation-important seabird species will be related to the best quality data sets on discard rates where large variations are known to exist. Results will inform policy on discard management.

Objectives:
To quantify the impact of change in fishery discarding rates on seabird communities, in order to better inform fishery discard management. We will determine whether winter at-sea distribution of appropriately selected species of scavenging seabirds is influenced by distribution of fisheries generating large quantities of discards, and quantify how feeding on discards in winter affects seabird demography through influences on adult body condition, breeding and survival. We will use existing databases to determine how changes in discard rates in well-documented fisheries in northwest North Sea and western Mediterranean over many years have influenced seabird breeding season diet, demographic parameters, and populations, and how changes in discarding rates are effecting predatory impacts of scavenging seabirds on smaller seabird species, and hence altering seabird community structure. Our aim is to provide a better understanding of scavenging seabird ecology that can be used to inform policy.


Coordinator
Anke SIEKER
UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
Glasgow
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel.: +44 1413303876
Fax: +44 1413302747
E-mail: a.sieker@enterprise.gla.ac.uk


Partners
  Dieter FRIESE
UNIVERSITY OF HAMBURG
Hamburg
GERMANY
Tel.: +49 40428384410
Fax: +49 40428385621
E-mail: haushalt@uni-hamburg.de
  Joaquin TINTORÉ
CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS
Esporles
SPAIN
Tel.: +34 971611705
Fax: +34 971611761
E-mail: imedeadir@clust.uib.es
  Perttu VARTIAINEN
UNIVERSITY OF JOENSUU
Joensuu
FINLAND
Tel.: +358 13251111
Fax: +358 132512050