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Stephani Zador and Shannon Fitzgerald  attended the Pacific Seabird Group’s 41st Annual Meeting, held this year in Juneau, Alaska, 20-22 February 2014.  Zador presented a plenary talk titled “Ecosystem based management in Alaska: the role of seabirds as ecosystem indicators.”  Zador’s plenary talk noted how the Ecosystem Chapter of the annual Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report was used in the annual North Pacific Fisheries Management Council Process (NPFMC) and provided several examples of how seabird data are currently being used in management processes.  She also noted how important the many sources of data were that supplied information for the report’s Ecosystem Chapter and the current state of how this wide variety of information was being collated and “boiled down” into ecosystem indicators.

Fitzgerald presented the talk “Preliminary estimates of seabird bycatch in the Alaskan halibut longline fishery in 2013” and also presented a talk on behalf of William Walker titled “The diet of northern fulmars (Fulmaris glacialis) in the eastern Bering sea and Aleutian Islands Region: an exercise in the use of bycaught marine birds in investigations of natural feeding strategy.”  Fitzgerald also participated in the Japanese Seabird Conservation Committee, reporting on bycatch monitoring and reduction efforts in Alaskan waters, and he participated in the North Pacific Albatross Working Group Meeting, which discussed various aspects of North Pacific albatross conservation and management.

The plenary was very well received and referred to throughout the remainder of the meeting by other presenters.  During a final day summary session, seabird biologist Dr. David Ainley noted that NOAA/Alaska Fisheries Science Center and the Council process seemed to have set a gold standard for work incorporating seabird data into a management process.

Abstracts and co-authors can be found on the Pacific Seabird Group website .

By Shannon Fitzgerald

 

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