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Adaptive harvest management for the Svalbard population of pink-footed geese: assessment for the 2013-2015 hunting seasons

November 1, 2013

This report describes progress on the development of an adaptive harvestmanagement strategy for maintaining the Svalbard population of pink-footed geese
near their agreed target level (60,000) by providing for sustainable harvests in Norway and Denmark. Specifically, this report provides an optimal harvest quota for the 2013-2015 hunting seasons and describes a process for evaluating whether emergency hunting closures would be needed during that period. 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, and the extent to which spring temperatures are important. The most current set of monitoring information was used to update model weights for the 1991 – 2012 period. Current model weights suggest no evidence for density-dependent survival. These results suggest that the pink-footed goose population may have recently experienced a release from density-dependent mechanisms, corresponding to the period of most rapid growth in population size. There was equivocal evidence for the effect of May temperature days (number of days with temperatures above freezing) on survival and on reproduction. The optimal harvest strategy suggests that the appropriate annual harvest quota for the 20132015 period is 15,000; hence there is no need to take emergency measures to close the upcoming hunting season. For comparison, the estimated harvest in 2012 was 11,000. If the harvest quota of 15,000 were met, the autumn 2013 population count is expected to be 76,000. If only the most recent 3-year mean harvest were realized (11,500), an autumn population size of 80,000 thousand is expected. Thus, it may be that harvest is approaching the magnitude needed to stabilize the population.

Publication Year 2013
Title Adaptive harvest management for the Svalbard population of pink-footed geese: assessment for the 2013-2015 hunting seasons
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 28
Index ID 70047927
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southeast Ecological Science Center