Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 158, Issue 3, pp 725–735 | Cite as

Tracking reveals limited interactions between Campbell Albatross and fisheries during the breeding season

  • Lisa A. Sztukowski
  • Mariëlle L. van Toor
  • Henri Weimerskirch
  • David R. Thompson
  • Leigh G. Torres
  • Paul M. Sagar
  • Peter A. Cotton
  • Stephen C. Votier
Original Article


Fisheries-related mortality has been influential in driving global declines in seabird populations. Understanding the overlap between seabird distribution and fisheries is one important element in assessing bycatch risk, and may be achieved by tracking the movements of individual birds and fishing vessels. Here, we assess the spatiotemporal overlap between the vulnerable Campbell Albatross Thalassarche impavida and large (>28 m) commercial fishing boats in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). We used a novel analytical approach, bivariate Gaussian bridge movement modelling, to compute spatiotemporal utilization distributions of bird-borne global positioning system (GPS) loggers and data from the Vessel Monitoring System. We tracked birds for 28,815 h during incubation and chick brooding, with half of this time spent within New Zealand’s EEZ, utilizing 6.7% of the available area. However, there was no evidence that albatrosses and fishing vessels were in the same location simultaneously. We accounted for the broader ecological footprint of fishing vessels by calculating the distance between GPS-fix locations for albatrosses and fishing vessels, revealing that albatrosses were within 30 km of fishing vessels in 8.4% of foraging trips. This highlights differences in estimated fine-scale spatiotemporal overlaps which may be due to the distance between albatrosses and vessels or the methods used. Overall, the low levels of spatial overlap could be a result of Campbell Albatross’ preference for foraging in areas without fishing activity or competitive exclusion by other species. Our results reinforce the importance of multi-scale, temporally explicit, and multi-national approaches to risk assessment, as Campbell Albatrosses spend approximately half of their time foraging outside New Zealand’s EEZ.


Seabird–fishery interactions Thalassarche impavida New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone Bivariate Gaussian Bridge movement models Spatiotemporal overlaps Bycatch 


Besenderung zeigt limitierte Interaktionen zwischen Campbell Albatrossen und der Fischerei während der Brutzeit

Die durch Fischfang verursachte Sterblichkeit hat einen entscheidenden Einfluss auf die globalen Rückgänge von Seevogelpopulationen. Ein wichtiges Element zur Abschätzung des Beifangrisikos ist das Verständnis der Überschneidung von Seevogelverbreitungen und Fischerei. Ein solches Verständnis kann erlangt werden durch die Verfolgung der Bewegungen einzelner Seevogelindividuen und der von Fischereibooten. In der vorliegenden Studie untersuchen wir die räumlich-zeitliche Überschneidung zwischen dem gefährdeten Campbell Albatross Thalassarche impavida und großen (> 28 m) kommerziellen Fischereischiffen in der neuseeländischen Ausschließlichen Wirtschaftszone (AWZ) ab. Dazu nutzten wir einen neuen Analyseansatz, „Bivariate Gaussian Bridge Movement“-Modelle, um aus den GPS-Loggerdaten der Vögel und Daten des Schiffsmonitorings die räumlich-zeitliche Nutzungsverteilung zu berechnen. Wir verfolgten besenderte Vögel über 28.815 Stunden während der Inkubations- und Huderphase. Die Hälfte dieser Zeit verbrachten die Vögel in der neuseeländischen AWZ, wobei sie 6,7% der insgesamt verfügbaren Fläche nutzten. Jedoch gab es keine Belege dafür, dass sich Albatrosse und Fischereiboote gleichzeitig im selben Gebiet aufhielten. Wir berücksichtigten auch den breiteren ökologischen Fußabdruck der Fischerei durch die Berechnung der Distanz zwischen den GPS-Punkten der Albatrosse und den Fischereibooten. Es zeigte sich, dass sich die Albatrosse in 8,4% ihrer Nahrungsflüge in einem 30 km Radius um die Fischereiboote aufhielten. Dies zeigt die Unterschiede zwischen den berechneten feinskaligen räumlich-zeitlichen Überschneidungen auf, die wahrscheinlich auf die Distanzen zwischen Albatrossen und Schiffen oder auf die angewendeten Methoden zurückzuführen sind. Die geringe räumliche Überschneidung kann die Folge davon sein, dass die Albatrosse Nahrungsgebiete präferieren, in denen nicht gefischt wird, oder von Konkurrenzausschluss durch andere Arten. Unsere Ergebnisse bekräftigen die Wichtigkeit mehrskaliger, zeitlich expliziter und multinationaler Ansätze der Gefährdungsabschätzung, da Campbell Albatrosse schätzungsweise die Hälfte der Zeit zur Nahrungssuche außerhalb der neuseeländischen AWZ verbringen.



We would like to thank the Campbell Island field crews, boat crews (particularly the RV Tiama), and the Department of Conservation personnel, who made the data collection possible. Special thanks to Caitlin Kroeger for field assistance, her company and project discussions. Thanks also to Samantha Patrick, Nils Piechaud, Grant Humphries, Emilie Hall, Holly Armstrong, Clare Embling, Samantha Cox, and Andy Foggo for geographic information system (GIS) assistance, thoughtful discussions, and comments on drafts. We are grateful to the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries for providing access to the VMS data. This study was funded through a MARES grant (FPA 2011-0016), the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited, the New Zealand Department of Conservation and the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Maps were created using ArcGIS software (Ocean Basemap Sources—Esri, GEBCO, NOAA, National Geographic, De Lorme, HERE,, and other contributors) by Esri. ArcGIS and ArcMap are the intellectual property of Esri and are used herein under license.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All scientific procedures and site access were conducted under permit issued by the New Zealand Department of Conservation and were approved by the Animal Ethics Committee at Plymouth University. Great care was taken to minimize stress to the animals during handling.

Supplementary material

10336_2016_1425_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa A. Sztukowski
    • 1
  • Mariëlle L. van Toor
    • 2
  • Henri Weimerskirch
    • 3
  • David R. Thompson
    • 4
  • Leigh G. Torres
    • 5
  • Paul M. Sagar
    • 6
  • Peter A. Cotton
    • 1
  • Stephen C. Votier
    • 7
  1. 1.Marine Biology and Ecology Research CentrePlymouth UniversityPlymouthUK
  2. 2.Department of Migration and Immuno-EcologyMax Planck Institute for OrnithologyRadolfzellGermany
  3. 3.Centre D’Etudes Biologiques de ChizéCNRSVilliers-en-BoisFrance
  4. 4.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited (NIWA)WellingtonNew Zealand
  5. 5.Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Marine Mammal InstituteOregon State UniversityNewportUSA
  6. 6.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited (NIWA)ChristchurchNew Zealand
  7. 7.Environment and Sustainability InstituteUniversity of ExeterPenrynUK

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