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Adaptive harvest management for the Svalbard population of pink-footed geese: 2015 progress summary

December 31, 2015

This document describes progress to date on the development of an adaptive harvest management strategy for maintaining the Svalbard population of pink‐footed geese (Anser brachyrhynchus) near their agreed target level (60,000) by providing for sustainable harvests in Norway and Denmark. This report provides an assessment of the most recent monitoring information (1991-2014) and its implications for the harvest management strategy, and it is an update of an initial assessment for 2013-2015 (see By combining varying hypotheses about survival and reproduction, a suite of nine models have been developed that represent a wide range of possibilities concerning the extent to which demographic rates are density dependent or independent. Current updated model weights suggest little evidence for density-dependent survival and reproduction, suggesting that the population may have recently experienced a release from density-dependent mechanisms, corresponding to the period of most rapid growth in population size. The optimal harvest strategy for the 2013–2015 hunting seasons prescribed a harvest quota of 15,000 per year. The harvest in the 2014 hunting season was 14,991, compared to 11,081 in 2013, mostly due to an increase in harvest in Denmark during January 2015. The percentage of young in the fall of 2014 was 10.3%, which is lower than average. The observed population size of 59,000 in May 2015 was much lower than expected. For the 2015 hunting season, observed population size and temperature days suggest that an emergency closure should be considered. In the event a harvest of 15,000 is maintained, predicted population size in May 2016 is 51,700 (95% CL: 41,600-64,300), based on observed TempDays = 9 in May 2015 and the most recent model weights. On the other hand, if the season were closed this year, we would expect a population size of 66,700 (95% CL: 53,600-82,900) in May 2016. A total harvest of 6,700 would be expected to result in a 2016 population size at goal (i.e., 60,000).

Publication Year 2015
Title Adaptive harvest management for the Svalbard population of pink-footed geese: 2015 progress summary
Authors Fred A. Johnson, Jesper Madsen
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Series Title Technical Report from DCE - Danish Centre for Environment and Energy
Series Number 64
Index ID 70157372
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southeast Ecological Science Center