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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray
4 February 2003
Visitors to the Australian Antarctic Division's (AAD) website can now follow the tracks of Adelie penguins as they forage for their food.
The penguins have been tracked by satellite and their movements animated on a short film now accessible on the AAD's website.
Voyage leader Dr Steve Nicol aboard the Antarctic ship Aurora Australis, along with other marine biologists is tracking the penguins through a long-running monitoring program on Bechervaise Island, off the coast from Australia's Mawson station.
The penguins' movements are also being monitored on board the Aurora Australis during its current marine science voyage. Scientists are surveying the distribution and abundance of the penguins' main food source, Antarctic krill, and are studying the link between this and the foraging of penguins.
Dr Sharman Stone, the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Antarctic, said correctly mapping krill is important to several Antarctic species such as whales, seals, sea birds as well as penguins. "Accurately establishing the distribution and abundance of krill is important both for putting in place sustainable harvest limits for any krill fisheries and for protecting animals that feed on the krill."
"There is real potential for fishing fleets to over harvest the krill, which comes together in dense swarms. We must ensure that harvests are sustainable so that the food chain of a whole range of sea and land based wildlife is not destroyed."
Footage of the penguin tracks can be seen on the website at http://www.aad.gov.au under the section titled 'Penguin Tracking'. Still images of the penguin tracks along with the ship's tracks are also available online.
Anna Hughes (Dr Stone's office) 0408 697 055
Lyn Irvine, Biologist, AAD, (03) 6232 3150
General information: Patti Lucas, Media liaison, (03) 6232 3514 or 0439 639 227