Assessing egg oiling as a long term management tool for overabundant Silver Gull populations interacting with Southern Bluefin Tuna aquaculture operations
The Silver Gull (is a long lived, opportunistic seabird whose population numbers have increased near Australian population centres. In Port Lincoln, between 1999 and 2003, Silver Gull numbers increased from 3,300 to 10,350 nesting pairs due to increased food associated with the growth of the regional centre and ranching operations of Southern Bluefin Tuna. In 2006, 20,750 nesting pairs were estimated and anecdotal information indicates the population has further increased despite all efforts from aquaculture industry to reduce access to feed. Egg oiling is well accepted as a management technique to reduce hatching success of overabundant bird species worldwide as it provides an ethical alternative to culling adults, and is considered humane if performed early in the nesting cycle. This investment will undertake a three-year trial of Silver Gull egg oiling on selected off-shore islands near Port Lincoln and assess the impact on local reproductive success and population numbers of Silver Gulls. In doing so it aims to assess the efficacy of egg oiling as a possible management technique to control growth of Silver Gull populations and thereby reduce the current detrimental economic, social and environmental impacts associated with recent increases in Silver Gull numbers in the Port Lincoln region.
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