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Keywords:

  • black-browed albatrosses;
  • grey-headed albatrosses;
  • marine protected areas;
  • Macquarie Island

Abstract

  • 1.
    Although marine protected areas (MPAs) are often established to protect threatened top-order predators, there is a paucity of data that can be used to evaluate their efficacy in achieving this purpose.
  • 2.
    We assessed the effectiveness of a network of MPAs around Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean by examining the foraging areas of breeding black-browed Thalassarche melanophrys and grey-headed albatrosses T. chrysostoma.
  • 3.
    During late incubation and brood periods over 90% of time spent foraging by black-browed albatrosses was contained within MPAs, principally the Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) around Macquarie Island. In contrast, grey-headed albatrosses spent only 34% of their time foraging in MPAs.
  • 4.
    Black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses spent 30% and 15% of their respective foraging times in the Marine Park around Macquarie Island.
  • 5.
    Both black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses foraged in Antarctic waters under the jurisdiction of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), accounting for 5% and 12% of the total foraging times respectively.
  • 6.
    The spatial extent of MPAs around Macquarie Island appear to adequately cover much of the foraging distribution of breeding black-browed albatrosses from Macquarie Island.
  • 7.
    Breeding grey-headed albatrosses spend significantly more time in waters outside the spatial extent of the surrounding MPAs and are at higher risk from fisheries activities and other threats.
  • 8.
    Further information on the foraging movements both of albatrosses outside the breeding season and of juvenile albatrosses is required to more fully assess the efficacy of MPAs in protecting foraging habitats of these species.

Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.