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Resource Ecology & Ecosystem Modeling Program

Incidental Take of an Endangered Short-Tailed Albatross

A groundfish fishery observer reported to their inseason advisor that they had recovered a short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus) while monitoring gear retrieval on a Bering Sea freezer longline vessel fishing for Pacific cod. The AFSC immediately reported this take to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and also informed interested parties in NOAA, the fishing industry, and environmental non-government organizations.

Based on information supplied by AFSC staff, the Alaska Regional Office issued a Fisheries Information Bulletin on 31 October 2011, describing this most recent take. The take occurred on 25 October 2011 at lat. 56°35'N, long. 172°52'W. This is an area over the Bering Sea shelf break, directly west of the Pribilof Islands.

The bird had a leg band placed on it by Japanese scientists during their standard research activities at the colony on Torishima Island. The bird was less than 2 years old.

The current Biological Opinion for short-tailed albatross provides for the incidental take of four birds in a 2-year period. A new 2-year period began on 16 September 2011, making this the first take in the current period. The vessel was using paired streamer lines and had not observed any short-tailed albatross in the area prior to the take event.

See the full information bulletin for additional details and a map of where short-tailed albatross takes have occurred:

By Shannon Fitzgerald

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