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Predation on Northern Fur Seals In The Pribilof Islands: A Baseline Study Traditional Knowledge Survey and Local Fishery Logbook Program Andrew Malavansky.

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Presentation on theme: "Predation on Northern Fur Seals In The Pribilof Islands: A Baseline Study Traditional Knowledge Survey and Local Fishery Logbook Program Andrew Malavansky."— Presentation transcript:

1 Predation on Northern Fur Seals In The Pribilof Islands: A Baseline Study Traditional Knowledge Survey and Local Fishery Logbook Program Andrew Malavansky 1, Aquilina D. Lestenkof 2, Desiree Lekanof 1, Michael C. Brewer 2, Kate M. Wynne 3, Amanda M. Merklein 4, and Bruce W. Robson 4 1 St. George Traditional Council, Kayumixtax Eco-Office 2 Aleut Community of St. Paul Island-Tribal Government, Ecosystem Conservation Office 3 School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks 4 Community and Ecology Resources

2 Study Design Baseline information about predation on fur seals around the Pribilof Islands. Baseline information about predation on fur seals around the Pribilof Islands. Community-based approach: local fishermen and residents with a year-round presence on the islands Community-based approach: local fishermen and residents with a year-round presence on the islands Two methods: Two methods: Fishery logbook program Fishery logbook program Local and Traditional Knowledge (LTK) survey. Local and Traditional Knowledge (LTK) survey. Trends in the location, numbers and seasonality of killer whale observations and Steller sea lion predation Trends in the location, numbers and seasonality of killer whale observations and Steller sea lion predation Nature and extent of marine mammal/fisheries interactions Nature and extent of marine mammal/fisheries interactions

3 Methods – Fisheries Logbook Compact, water-proof logbook Compact, water-proof logbook Standardized format Standardized format Location, date, time and other relevant information for killer whale sightings and predation observations. Location, date, time and other relevant information for killer whale sightings and predation observations. Additional observations of interest recorded Additional observations of interest recorded Fishermen were contacted regularly in dockside surveys Fishermen were contacted regularly in dockside surveys

4 Logbook Example

5 Methods – LTK Interviews Interview Subjects Interview Subjects local and non-resident fishermen local and non-resident fishermen subsistence hunters subsistence hunters community residents and elders community residents and elders Standardized survey instrument Standardized survey instrument Target Information: Target Information: Spatial and temporal occurrence of killer whales Spatial and temporal occurrence of killer whales Predation events Predation events Photographic documentation Photographic documentation Fisheries interactions Fisheries interactions Observations spatially referenced to a lat/lon grid for GIS analysis Observations spatially referenced to a lat/lon grid for GIS analysis

6 Results – Fisheries Logbooks 15 boats from St. Paul and 3 from St. George 15 boats from St. Paul and 3 from St. George Mid-June through late-September Mid-June through late-September 17 sightings of KW in logbooks 17 sightings of KW in logbooks 4 KW sightings in dockside and LTK interviews 4 KW sightings in dockside and LTK interviews Near-shore waters and shelf break Near-shore waters and shelf break No predation events reported by fishermen in 2006 No predation events reported by fishermen in 2006 Other species observed: fin whales, minke whales, northern fur seals, short-tailed albatross, ancient murrlets, and coho salmon Other species observed: fin whales, minke whales, northern fur seals, short-tailed albatross, ancient murrlets, and coho salmon

7 Killer Whale Encounters

8 Results – LTK Interviews Forty-nine LTK interviews ( July to November of 2006). Forty-nine LTK interviews ( July to November of 2006). 87 killer whale observations 1976 – killer whale observations 1976 – % were from 2000 or later 76% were from 2000 or later 48 on St. Paul 48 on St. Paul 39 St. George 39 St. George 17 from the Island Sentinel Programs (St. George n=2; St. Paul n=15). 17 from the Island Sentinel Programs (St. George n=2; St. Paul n=15). 26 sightings of killer whales during 2006 May - November 26 sightings of killer whales during 2006 May - November

9 LTK Distribution The highest percentage of observations on each island occurred in the Lat/Lon grid cells surrounding the villages.

10 Group Size LTK ( ) LTK ( ) 2.9 at St. George Island (n=16) 2.9 at St. George Island (n=16) 3.3 at St. Paul Island (n=53) 3.3 at St. Paul Island (n=53) 16.0 for off-shore sightings (n=4) 16.0 for off-shore sightings (n=4) Logbooks – 2006 Logbooks – whales per encounter 3.7 whales per encounter

11 Predation No predation observed by local fishermen in 2006 No predation observed by local fishermen in 2006 Last observation by a St. Paul Island fishing vessel was in 2004 Last observation by a St. Paul Island fishing vessel was in 2004 LTK predation events LTK predation events Killer whale events 9 Killer whale events 7 Steller sea lions events 7 Steller sea lions events Two observations of SSL feeding on fur seal pups in 2006 on St. George Island. Two observations of SSL feeding on fur seal pups in 2006 on St. George Island. No observations of SSL feeding on fur seals reported on St. Paul Island. No observations of SSL feeding on fur seals reported on St. Paul Island. Photo 3. Documentation of a killer whale predation event. Photographs taken by local fisherman Phillip Lestenkof during the 2004 halibut fishery off St. Paul Island.

12 Additional Observations LTK: fin whales minke whales, gray whales, humpback whales, sperm whales, unidentified large whales, dall’s porpoise, and sharks. LTK: fin whales minke whales, gray whales, humpback whales, sperm whales, unidentified large whales, dall’s porpoise, and sharks. Logbooks: fin whales, minke whales, northern fur seals, short-tailed albatross, ancient murrlets, and coho salmon. Logbooks: fin whales, minke whales, northern fur seals, short-tailed albatross, ancient murrlets, and coho salmon.

13 Summary Observations No gear interaction between killer whales and halibut fishery near shore, only at shelf break No gear interaction between killer whales and halibut fishery near shore, only at shelf break Small killer whale group sizes near islands Small killer whale group sizes near islands No predation by sea lions on fur seal pups at St. Paul, only St. George No predation by sea lions on fur seal pups at St. Paul, only St. George

14 Acknowledgements We gratefully acknowledge the support and participation of the communities of St. Paul and St. George Island. This research could not have been conducted without the help and cooperation of local fishermen and the CBSFA and APICDA. This study was funded under UAF/PCCRC Grant to the St. George Traditional Council. We gratefully acknowledge the support and participation of the communities of St. Paul and St. George Island. This research could not have been conducted without the help and cooperation of local fishermen and the CBSFA and APICDA. This study was funded under UAF/PCCRC Grant to the St. George Traditional Council.


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