Seabird mortality associated with longline fishing in the eastern Bering Sea occurs mainly from September to May, with northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) comprising the majority (60%) of the bycatch. Along the west coast of North America, winter dieoffs of fulmars may be increasing in frequency and magnitude, the most severe on record being a wreck that peaked in October-November 2003. We deployed satellite transmitters on fulmars from the four main Alaska colonies and tracked individuals for up to 2 years. Fulmars from Hall Island (northern Bering Sea) moved to Russian coastal waters after breeding, while Pribilof Island fulmars (southeastern Bering Sea) remained relatively sedentary yearround. Birds from Chagulak Island (eastern Aleutians) preferred passes between the Aleutian Islands in winter or foraged widely over deep waters of the central Bering Sea and North Pacific. Fulmars from the Semidi Islands (western Gulf of Alaska) migrated directly to waters of the California Current. Individuals from St. George Island (Pribilofs) and Chagulak were consistent in the places that they visited in two successive winters. The Pribilof Islands population is most affected by winter longlining for groundfish, whereas the Semidi Islands colony sustains most of the natural mortality that occurs off Washington, Oregon, and California.
Additional Publication Details
Individual and colony-specific wintering areas of Pacific northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis)
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences