SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

In the past decade, a major trawl fishery for the squid Loligo gahi has developed in the vicinity of Beauchêne Island, an internationally important breeding site for the Black-browed Albatross Diomedea melanophris. The breeding season diet of this albatross in the Falklands and its use of discards generated by the Loligo fishery were investigated. Albatross chicks are fed extensively on commercially exploited species of squid and fish including Loligo gahi and southern blue whiting Micromesistius australis. The quantity of waste generated by the Loligo fishery amounts to c. 5% of the reported catch and just over 50% of this waste, mainly Loligo and nototheniid fish, is scavenged by adult Black-browed Albatrosses. The total quantity scavenged during the chick rearing period amounts to 1000–2000 tonnes per year. This is equivalent to 10–15% of the total food requirement of the breeding Black-browed Albatross population on Beauchene Island during the period when the fishery is operating. Although the Loligo fishery currently provides a significant quantity of food to these albatrosses, its net effect may be detrimental to them, as it is a much greater predator of Loligo stocks than the albatrosses are estimated to have been prior to the fishery's development.