Points of concern in Sea Duck conservation

An excerpt from
“SEADUCKS: A Time  for Action”
M.R.Peterson, Nat. Biological Service & Mary Hogan, USFWS

sea ducks (Tribe Mergini) are frequently ignored by waterfowl managers. The perception for many years has been that there were plenty of seaducks. harvest pressure was low, and we did not have to worry about them. This in part was reflected by the very liberal season and take throughout their range. Much of the resources available for waterfowl management has focused on declining geese and duck populations (Anatini and Aythyini) and the major changes in their habitats. As a result of this effort. many duck and goose populations have increased

In Europe. sea ducks are considered seabirds. As such they receive protection and resources for their management with that available for seabirds. In North America, funding for seabirds became available with increased environmental awareness and interest in nongame species. As work on seabirds has increased dramatically over the past 10 years, work on sea ducks has remained comparatively static. As waterfowl, they were rarely included in funding initiatives for seabirds. They were rarely included in funding initiatives for waterfowl because of the perception of more pressing needs of popular game species such as geese and dabbling ducks. This negligence of sea ducks has come back to haunt us. As managers we were more concerned with the species most in demand by hunters.....

The need for further information about sea ducks was recognized by Canada, the U.S., and Mexico in the 1994 update of the North Amercan Waterfowl Management Plan (Anonymous 1994): "There is an immediate need to supplement current knowledge of sea ducks with reliable information on population status, production, harvest, and factors affecting mortality and survival." However, work on sea ducks continues to be of low priority to most agencies and is generally underfunded.

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