Wintertime overlaps between female Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) and the krill fishery at South Georgia, South Atlantic
The diet of Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) at South Georgia is dominated by Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). During the breeding season, foraging trips by lactating female fur seals are constrained by their need to return to land to provision their pups. Post-breeding, seals disperse in order to feed and recover condition; estimates indicate c.70% of females remain near to South Georgia, whilst others head west towards the Patagonian Shelf or south to the ice-edge. The krill fishery at South Georgia operates only during the winter, providing the potential for fur seal: fishery interaction during these months. Here we use available winter (May to September) tracking data from Platform Terminal Transmitter (PTT) tags deployed on female fur seals at Bird Island, South Georgia. We develop habitat models describing their distribution during the winters of 1999 and 2003 with the aim of visualising and quantifying the degree of spatial overlap between female fur seals and krill harvesting in South Georgia waters. We show that spatial distribution of fur seals around South Georgia is extensive, and that the krill fishery overlaps with small, highly localised areas of available fur seal habitat. From these findings we discuss the implications for management, and future work.
Authors: Bamford, Connor C.G. ORCID record for Connor C.G. Bamford, Warwick-Evans, Victoria ORCID record for Victoria Warwick-Evans, Staniland, Iain J. ORCID record for Iain J. Staniland, Jackson, Jennifer A. ORCID record for Jennifer A. Jackson, Trathan, Philip N. ORCID record for Philip N. Trathan