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Fisheries interaction data suggest variations in the distribution of sperm whales on the Kerguelen Plateau

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Tixier, P, Welsford, DC, Lea, M-A ORCID: 0000-0001-8318-9299, Hindell, MA ORCID: 0000-0002-7823-7185, Guinet, C, Janc, A, Richard, G, Gasco, N, Duhamel, G, Arangio, R, Villanueva, MC, Suberg, L and Arnould, JPY 2019 , 'Fisheries interaction data suggest variations in the distribution of sperm whales on the Kerguelen Plateau', in D Welsford and J Dell and G Duhamel (eds.), The Kerguelen Plateau: marine ecosystem and fisheries. Proceedings of the Second Symposium , Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania, pp. 259-270 .

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Abstract

The emergence of longline fishing for Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) on the Kerguelen Plateau over the past two decades is concomitant with the development of depredation-type interactions by sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). Through a unique collaboration between the French and the Australian fisheries operating respectively around Kerguelen, and Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI), this study preliminarily investigated the spatio–temporal variations of the rate of occurrence of sperm whale depredation on the Kerguelen Plateau. Between 2011 and 2016, sperm whales depredated toothfish on 29.1% of all longline sets and over 49.4% of the fished area. The probability of vessels to experience depredation decreased with the latitude and decreased in winter. Vessels operating in Kerguelen experienced significantly higher rates of occurrence of sperm whale depredation (33.2 ± 4.5% of sets; 48.2 ± 7.2% of the area) than vessels operating in HIMI (3.1 ± 1.2% of sets; 5.4 ± 2.0% of the area) over the 2011–2016 period, but also during any season of the year. The results suggested that heterogeneity in the distribution of sperm whales is likely a key driver of depredation. The Kerguelen Plateau fisheries represent a unique opportunity to investigate the spatial factors influencing this distribution, and therefore to predict the occurrence of depredation.

Item Type: Conference Publication
Authors/Creators:Tixier, P and Welsford, DC and Lea, M-A and Hindell, MA and Guinet, C and Janc, A and Richard, G and Gasco, N and Duhamel, G and Arangio, R and Villanueva, MC and Suberg, L and Arnould, JPY
Keywords: fisheries interactions,sperm whale, Patagonian toothfish,Kerguelen, depredation
Journal or Publication Title: The Kerguelen Plateau: marine ecosystem and fisheries. Proceedings of the Second Symposium
Publisher: Australian Antarctic Division
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 The Department of the Environment and Energy, Australian Antarctic Division

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