, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 432-440
Date: 20 Apr 2004

Seasonal use of oceanographic and fisheries management zones by juvenile southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) from Macquarie Island

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Abstract

The foraging distribution of marine predator populations is important for effective modelling and management of pelagic marine systems. We tracked 31 juvenile southern elephant seals from Macquarie Island (158°57′E, 54°30′S) over their annual post-moult and mid-year trips to sea. We calculated the amount of time spent in regional fisheries management areas and within bounded oceanographic regions. During the austral summer, juvenile seals spent over 90% of their time south of the Antarctic Polar Front and ~80% within fisheries management regions [Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and exclusive economic zones]. In winter, seals spent ~75% of their time in the region bounded by the Antarctic Polar Front and the southern boundary of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and ~60% within fisheries management regions. The time spent per region differed significantly between summer and winter. Our results demonstrate that juvenile southern elephant seals from Macquarie Island spent more time south of the Antarctic Polar Front and within fisheries management areas than previously suspected.