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The status of sea ducks in the North Pacific Rim: Toward their conservation and management

January 1, 1994

Sea ducks (tribe Mergini after Johnsgard 1960) are the most northerly distributed ducks, and species diversity is greatest in the North Pacific. They exploit a diversity of inshore and offshore marine habitats during the non-breeding season, and their use of habitat during breeding varies from coastal through freshwater wetlands of the tundra and taiga (Figure 1, Appendix 1). Non-breeding cohorts frequent marine habitats most of the year. Sea ducks thus are important indicators of the quality of freshwater and marine ecosystems of northern biomes.

Of the 17 species discussed in this manuscript, at least 3 are reported to be declining (Appendix 2). However, the basis for many of those assessments is equivocal because there has been little effort to monitor populations. The efforts to more precisely assess their status point to catastrophic declines (Kertell 1991, Stehn et a 1993). Conservation problems related to sea ducks have a long history throughout the Holarctic. For example, the Labrador duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius) became extinct in 1875. (Phillips 1925); common eiders (Somateria mollissima) declined seriously throughout the northern hemisphere (Townsend 1914, Phillips 1925, Doughty 1979); harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) experienced declines in Iceland and Greenland (Gudmundsson1971, Salomonson 1950), and more recently have been designated endangered in eastern Canada (Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada 1990). In Russia, all species of eider and harlequin ducks have been closed to sport hunting since 1981, and the Chinese mergansers (Mergus squamatus) presently are extremely rare and fully protected, i.e. category one of the red book (Solomonov 1987).

Publication Year 1994
Title The status of sea ducks in the North Pacific Rim: Toward their conservation and management
Authors R. Ian Goudie, Solange Brault, Bruce Conant, Alexander V. Kondratyev, Margaret R. Petersen, Kees Vermeer
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Series Title Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference
Index ID 70187692
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center