TitleEntanglement of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in marine debris: identifying causes and finding solutions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsRaum-Suryan, KL, Jemison, LA, Pitcher, KW
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume58
Issue10
Pagination1487-95
Date Published2009 Oct
Abstract

Entanglement in marine debris is a contributing factor in Steller sea lion (SSL; Eumetopias jubatus) injury and mortality. We quantified SSL entanglement by debris type, sex and age class, entanglement incidence, and estimated population level effects. Surveys of SSL haul-outs were conducted from 2000-2007 in Southeast Alaska and northern British Columbia. We recorded 386 individuals of all age classes as being either entangled in marine debris or having ingested fishing gear. Packing bands were the most common neck entangling material (54%), followed by rubber bands (30%), net (7%), rope (7%), and monofilament line (2%). Ingested fishing gear included salmon fishery flashers (lures: 80%), longline gear (12%), hook and line (4%), spinners/spoons (2%), and bait hooks (2%). Entanglement incidence was 0.26% (SD=0.0064, n=69 sites). "Lose the Loop!" Simple procedures such as cutting entangling loops of synthetic material and eliminating the use of packing bands can prevent entanglements.