Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 1, pp 119–129 | Cite as

Contribution of fishery discards to the diet of the Black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) during the non-breeding season: an assessment through stable isotope analysis

  • Rocío Mariano-JelicichEmail author
  • Sofía Copello
  • Juan Pablo Seco Pon
  • Marco Favero
Original Paper


Black-browed albatrosses (Thalassarche melanophris) disperse over the Argentinean Continental Shelf and neighboring waters during their non-breeding season. It is one of the most frequent seabirds attending fishing vessels and also the most common Procellariform in the bycatch of longliners and trawlers in the area. Understanding the use of fishery discards by this species is an important issue when assessing the potential effect of strategic discard management in decreasing the abundance, interactions, and mitigating mortality. In the present study, we analyzed carbon and nitrogen stable isotope compositions in the blood of Black-browed albatrosses to assess the relative contribution of discards from different fisheries to the diet of this species in winter. Samples were obtained in winter 2011 from fishing vessels operating between 41–43°S and 57–59°W. No sex differences in δ13C and δ15N were observed. Results indicate that during their non-breeding season, isotopic signatures of Black-browed albatrosses are closer to discards and offal generated by fisheries and in particular by trawlers. The large fishing effort of trawl fisheries in Argentina highlights the urgency of an exhaustive analysis to find practical and effective ways to reduce the number of seabirds attending trawlers.


Demersal Fish Nitrogen Stable Isotope Longline Fishery Freezer Trawler Procellaria Aequinoctialis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We gratefully acknowledge the captain and the crew of the fishing vessel “Ur-ertza” and Lic. Gabriel Blanco from the National Observers Program (INIDEP) for facilitating the vessel access. P. Lértora and observers of the National Observers Program (INIDEP) for helping during sampling potential prey. This study was funded by the National Agency for the Promotion of Science and Technology (Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica, PICT 2008-0590), the National Research Council (PIP CONICET 00070), and the National University of Mar del Plata (Argentina). This study was conducted under approved animal use protocols and permits provided by the Argentinean Government. We would like to thank three anonymous reviewers for their valuable input that greatly improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rocío Mariano-Jelicich
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sofía Copello
    • 1
  • Juan Pablo Seco Pon
    • 1
  • Marco Favero
    • 1
  1. 1.Grupo Vertebrados, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC)CONICET-UNMdPMar del PlataArgentina

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