The importance of fisheries in shaping the ecology of black-browed albatrosses in the Falkland Islands

Funding bodies: Fortuna Ltd.; FIG (Environmental Studies Budget)

PhD affiliations: University of Exeter (UK), ISPA Instituto Universitário (Portugal), SAERI, Falkland Islands Fisheries Department

Recent increases in the population trends of the black-browed albatross in the Falkland Islands have been linked to improved seabird bycatch mitigation, coupled with the availability of discards from fisheries. However, existing studies have provided inconclusive information on the true extent of interactions between Falkland Islands breeding black-browed albatrosses and fisheries, and the importance of these interactions in driving the species’ ecology and population trends remains speculative. This PhD aims to provide an improved understanding of the complex seabird-fishery relationship in the Falkland Islands and the wider Southwest Atlantic environment in order to guide an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, and help predict future population trends of this internationally important species.

A combination of conventional and novel techniques will be used to determine overlap and interaction between black-browed albatrosses and fisheries, gain improved insight into the diet structure of black-browed albatrosses and the importance of discards, and to improve estimates of bycatch of black-browed albatrosses in the Falkland Islands and beyond.

Fish & Ships: A bird’s eye view (Penguin News, May 22, 2020)

Amanda Kuepfer

Supervisors: Dr. Stephen Votier (University of Exeter); Dr. Paulo Catry (ISPA Instituto Universitário), Dr. Paul Brickle (SAERI), Dr. Alexander Arkhipkin (Falkland Islands Fisheries Department)

Dates: Jan 2019 – Dec 2021
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