Incubating adults consistently foraged in waters to the northwest of Tasmania while post-fledglings occupied shelf waters around Tasmania and South Australia.
Shy albatross home ranges (95% utilization distribution (UD)) and core foraging areas (50% UD) of (a) early incubating (n = 99)
and (b) post-fledgling
(n = 12) shy albatross (Thalassarche cauta) from Albatross Island, Tasmania from data collected between 1993 and 2015.
The researchers simulated a “random” MPA network 1000 times, and then averaged the coverage provided to the albatross foraging areas. For incubating birds, coverage of their home range by the random network was 30 per cent greater than the current MPA network. For juveniles, the random network provided 12 per cent more coverage.
When the analysis just used “no-take” MPAs (the highest level of protection and no fishing activity allowed), coverage for both life stages was reduced dramatically.
They found that the Commonwealth Government manages about 90 per cent of the important foraging area for shy albatross. Although we are moving forward in shy albatross conservation on many fronts, including climate change adaptation and bycatch mitigation, this study shows that marine spatial protection for this species is lacking.