Postbreeding dispersal and drift-net mortality of endangered Japanese Murrelets

The Auk
By:  and 



The incidental catch of seabirds in high-seas drift nets was recorded in 1990-1991 by scientific observers on commercial squid and large-mesh fishery vessels operating in the North Pacific Transitional Zone. Twenty-six Synthliboramphus murrelet deaths were recorded in the months of August through December. All but one were from the Korean squid fishery in a small area bounded by 38°-44°N and 142°-157°E. Five specimens of the dead birds were collected and later identified as Japanese Murrelets (S. wumizusume). As fishing effort was widely distributed over a large area east of Japan, these data suggest that postbreeding Japanese Murrelets migrate north to winter in a relatively small area southeast of Hokkaido, where persistent eddies form at the confluence of the Oyashio and Kuroshio currents. Fronts between cold Oyashio water and Kuroshio warm-core eddies promote the aggregation of zooplankton and pelagic fishes, which in turn may attract murrelets during the nonbreeding season. The estimated total mortality of Japanese Murrelets in high-seas drift-net fisheries represents a significant proportion of the total world population of this rare and endangered species.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Postbreeding dispersal and drift-net mortality of endangered Japanese Murrelets
Series title The Auk
DOI 10.2307/4088827
Volume 111
Issue 4
Year Published 1994
Language English
Publisher American Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 953
Last page 961
Country Japan
Other Geospatial North Pacific Transitional Zone
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