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Light induced seabird mortality on vessels operating in the Southern Ocean: incidents and mitigation measures

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2005

Falklands Conservation, PO Box 26, Stanley, Falkland Islands, FIQQ 1ZZ


It is recognized that birds become disorientated at night in the presence of artificial light (Bruderer et al. 1999). Bird strikes on vessels operating in the southern oceans have long been known (Ryan 1991), but few data have been published concerning these events. In the Southern Ocean the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) stipulates that, during fishing operations, deck lighting should be kept to a minimum and be directed inboard and downward (CCAMLR 2003, measures 25-02 and 25-03). However, these measures are designed to keep birds away from fishing gear rather than prevent bird strikes. The problem of bird strikes has been recognized by several territories within the southern oceans and policies to reduce the risk of them occurring are included in several management plans (Ryan & Glass 2001, policy 5.14 and Meere 2002, section 28:1f–1g). These do not, however, address the issue of ice-lights (powerful searchlights used to discern floating ice that might go undetected by radar), which are regarded as essential navigational aids.

Short Note
© Antarctic Science Ltd 2005

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