2010 Whitley Award winner, Pablo Borboroglu has co-authored a new paper published on 6th August in the journal Conservation Biology detailing a range of new mitigation strategies for the protection of the world’s penguins.
The paper follows a major study examining the effects of human impacts on all eighteen species of penguin, involving contributions from 49 scientists around the world. The study was mostly based on findings from Pablo Borboroglu’s book published in 2013: ‘Penguins: Natural History and Conservation’; which was supported by the Whitley Fund for Nature.
In the new paper, the authors suggest that the primary risks for penguin populations are habitat degradation, pollution and fishing; stating that the future resilience of penguins to climate change impacts is crucially dependent upon addressing the current threats to existing penguin habitat on both land and at sea.
The authors explain that habitat protection could be in the form of appropriately-sized marine reserves, including some in the High Seas, beyond national jurisdiction. Whilst possible, the authors also recognise that marine reserves are not always practical or politically viable. Therefore other mitigation strategies are suggested, including the use of spatial zoning to reduce overlap between fisheries and shipping lanes with areas of ocean used by penguins; the use of appropriate fishing methods to reduce accidental bycatch; and catch quotas for fishermen, particularly where the target species is also food for penguins.
Pablo and his fellow authors believe that this paper could benefit other studies on species that suffer similar threats to penguins, both in the northern and southern hemisphere.
Trathan, P. N., García-Borboroglu, P., Boersma, D., Bost, C. A., Crawford, R., Crossin, G. T., Cuthbert, R. J., Dann, P., Davis, L. S., De La Puente, S., Ellenberg, U., Lynch, H. J., Mattern, T., Pϋtz, K., Seddon, P., Trivelpiece, W. & Wienecke, B. (2014) Pollution, Habitat Loss, Fishing and Climate Change as Critical Threats to Penguins. Conservation Biology.