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Trapping and relocating seals from salmonid fish farms in Tasmania, 1990-2000: was it a success?

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Hume, F and Pemberton, D and Gales, R and Brothers, N and Greenwood, M (2002) Trapping and relocating seals from salmonid fish farms in Tasmania, 1990-2000: was it a success? Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 136. pp. 1-6. ISSN 0080-4703

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Abstract

In an effort to reduce the impact of seals on fish farms, the trapping and relocation of seals at Tasmanian salmonid farms began in 1990. To the end of May 2000,353 identified individual seals had been trapped in 672 capture events. Most were non-breeding male Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriftrus). The number of seals captured increased (from four in 1990 ro a peak of 164 in 1998) with the size and extent of the farms, and an increase in salmon production from 55 tonnes in 1986/87 to almost 10000 tonnes in 1999/2000. Of 586 capture events 52% were of seals that had been captured more than once. When seals are recaptured following trapping and relocation, this occurs on average 25 days after capture. Capture-mark-recapture calculations show that many seals in the vicinity of fish farms are not 'trappable', suggesting that trapping is only effective for certain individuals. Some individuals are recaptured many times, reflecting the predisposition of some individuals to be captured ('trap-happy'). Interaction is seasonal, with most seals trapped during winter, between May and September. The assessment of trends in capture rates is problematic, due to the lack of capture effort information from the farms. A further confounding factor has been the change in management practice both between farms and over time, as the use of predator nets has become more widespread. Two seals trapped at fish farms and fitted with satellite transmitters before relocation have either not returned to the farm or returned to the vicinity of farms and not interacted with them, although on one occasion the individual was trapped. The effectiveness of the relocation program as a management tool to reduce seal interactions cannot be quantified from the relocation data per se, but relocation does not stop seals interacting with farms.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, RST, Van Diemens Land, natural history, science, ecology, taxonomy, botany, zoology, geology, geography, papers & proceedings, Australia, UTAS Library
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Page Range: pp. 1-6
ISSN: 0080-4703
Additional Information: Copyright Royal Society of Tasmania
Date Deposited: 21 May 2012 01:37
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:33
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/13503
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