Variation in abundance and harvest of sooty shearwaters (Puffinus griseus) by Rakiura Maori on Putauhinu Island, New Zealand
Bragg, Corey; McKechnie, Sam; Newman, Jamie; Fletcher, David; Moller, Henrik; Scott, Darren
Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griesus, titi) abundance, harvest levels and chick mass were monitored repeatedly on Putauhinu Island, south‐west of Rakiura (Stewart Island) between 1997 and 2005. Putauhinu is the second largest of the Titi Islands and has a relatively high density of chicks distributed over most of the island, so it supports what is likely the second‐largest population of sooty shearwaters in the Rakiura region (after Taukihepa, Big South Cape Island). Rakiura Maori harvested chicks from five “manu” (family birding areas) that covered 56% of the 128.4 ha of breeding colony of the island. Chick density was lower on the unharvested area in the interior of the island than on harvested areas. Burrow entrance density was higher where there was more ground cover (mainly fern) vegetation, but these areas had lower burrow occupancy, so overall chick density was similar at different levels of ground cover. Twenty‐six harvesters present on Putauhinu in 2005 took 31 280 chicks in total, equivalent to 8.4% (95% CI = 6.6–12%) of the available chicks on the entire island. Seasonal variation in total chicks harvested (CV 15–22%) was not related to chick abundance or mass. Refuges, including impenetrable patches of vegetated ground within manu, the unharvested centre of the island, and even nearby unharvested islands, will ameliorate localised impacts of harvest if density‐dependent immigration is operating.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Rights Statement: © The Royal Society of New Zealand 2009
Keywords: harvest intensity; muttonbirding; sooty shearwater; sustainability
Research Type: Journal Article