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Postbreeding dispersal and drift-net mortality of endangered Japanese Murrelets

January 1, 1994

The incidental catch of seabirds in high-seas drift nets was recorded in 1990-1991 by scientific observers on commercial squid and large-mesh fishery vessels operating in the North Pacific Transitional Zone. Twenty-six Synthliboramphus murrelet deaths were recorded in the months of August through December. All but one were from the Korean squid fishery in a small area bounded by 38°-44°N and 142°-157°E. Five specimens of the dead birds were collected and later identified as Japanese Murrelets (S. wumizusume). As fishing effort was widely distributed over a large area east of Japan, these data suggest that postbreeding Japanese Murrelets migrate north to winter in a relatively small area southeast of Hokkaido, where persistent eddies form at the confluence of the Oyashio and Kuroshio currents. Fronts between cold Oyashio water and Kuroshio warm-core eddies promote the aggregation of zooplankton and pelagic fishes, which in turn may attract murrelets during the nonbreeding season. The estimated total mortality of Japanese Murrelets in high-seas drift-net fisheries represents a significant proportion of the total world population of this rare and endangered species.

Publication Year 1994
Title Postbreeding dispersal and drift-net mortality of endangered Japanese Murrelets
DOI 10.2307/4088827
Authors John F. Piatt, Patrick J. Gould
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title The Auk
Index ID 70185144
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center