Benemann, V., Krüger, L., Valls, F. & Petry, M. 2016 Evidence of an unreported negative effect of fisheries discards on seabirds: death by choking on the Atlantic Midshipman (Porichthys porosissimus) in southern Brazil. Emu 116: 48–51.
Victória Benemann and colleagues have had a paper accepted by the journal Emu Austral Ornithology that reports on five species of procellariiform seabirds, including the ACAP-listed Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos, being found choked to death on discarded fish.
The paper’s abstract follows:
“The impact generated by the fishing industry on the marine environment has been described over the past two decades. Trawl nets are a non-selective method and their use is common practice in fishing activities, often capturing specimens of no commercial value that are discarded overboard at-sea. We discovered an unreported threat caused by fisheries discards on seabirds attending Brazilian waters, choking by feeding on discarded Atlantic-midshipman (Porichthys porosissimus). Over the last six years of monitoring (2007-2013), we recorded five Procellariiform species (Thalassarche chlororhynchos, Calonectris diomedea, Puffinus griseus, Puffinus gravis and Puffinus puffinus) found dead on beaches with specimens of P. porosissimus stuck in their throats, presenting evidences of death by suffocation as a result of airway blockage due to choking. This phenomenon has not been consistently described, and the consequences of the consumption of fishery discards by seabirds attending Brazilian waters are still poorly understood.”
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, photograph by Peter Ryan
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 16 September 2015, updated 29 February 2016