Recommendations for Establishing Population Objectives for Sea Ducks

Sea Duck Joint Venture
Publication Date: 

No population objectives are listed for any sea duck population in the most recent (2004) update
or earlier versions of the Plan. The primary reason for lack of sea duck objectives is a lack of
reliable abundance estimates, confounded by inadequate knowledge of sea duck distribution for
some species.
Following a 2008 SDJV progress report to the NAWMP Plan Committee, the PC acknowledged
the need to establish population objectives for sea ducks and stated that this need should be
considered as the Sea Duck Joint Venture moves forward with its monitoring program. At the
time of this draft, it is uncertain whether guidance or criteria for population objectives will change
with regard to 2012 NAWMP Revision.
At the November 2010 meeting of the SDJV Continental Technical Team, the team
acknowledged that there was value in setting population objectives even when there was
considerable uncertainty in numbers, population trends, and harvest, and decided to consider the
following principles to guide the establishment of population objectives for sea ducks:
1) Use population objectives from existing conservation or recovery plans (e.g., listed
species, American Common Eider, etc.);
2) If we have information about the harvest demand for a species, use this demand value as
a minimum population objective;
3) If we have a reasonable “feeling” from survey information about how many birds are
currently present and that seems to satisfy demand (e.g. Bufflehead), use this value as a
population objective that reflects current presence;
4) For species for which we have a reasonable understanding for habitat requirements and
carrying capacity of the landscape, use this information to inform population objective