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Several techniques were trialed for monitoring the newly-established fur seal haul-out site at Steamers Head, NSW. In order to minimise our impact, we also monitored for any disturbance to seals from our sampling. The site is unusual as while it can only be observed by boat seals perch on a steep collection of ledges, which means that regardless of their thigmotatic nature, counts can be made of seals from a distance on the horizontal plain. Counts were performed using three methods and at four distances. The three methods trialed were direct counts through binoculars, counts from video footage and counts from projected photographs. Originally, four distances from the haul-out were determined with a laser rangefinder as 150 metres, 100 metres, 75 metres and 50 metres. Disturbance was ranked and recorded, which led us to quickly abandon our 50 metre observation distance. Both binoculars and video techniques were reliable methods for counts of all seals, however; only the binocular technique was reliable for identification of different species and age groups. Counts from photographs were unreliable. Counts through binocular are recommended for long term monitoring as they provide, overall, the most accurate counts of different age classes and a precise repeatable measure. Also, unlike the other methods, binocular counts do not require post-field processing. Monitoring of our disturbance to the seals tentatively found that hauled seals were more easily disturbed when the boat was closer to the haul-out. Disturbance occurred at greater distances as the haul-out seasonally expanded in numbers. We recommend, for this haul-out, that to perform counts unbiased by the impact of observations, researchers must remain at least 75 metres from the haul-out when there are fewer than 50 seals, and at least 100 metres when there are 50 or more seals.

Baker, J.D., and Johanos, T.C. 2004. Abundance of the Hawaiian monk seal in the main Hawaiian Islands. Biological Conservation 116:103-110.
Bradshaw, C. J. A., Lalas, C., Perriman, L., Harcourt, R.G., Best, H., and Davis, L.S. 1999. Seasonal oscillation in shore attendance and transience of New Zealand fur seals. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 77:814-823.
Brothers, N., and Pemberton, D. 1990. Status of Australian and New Zealand fur seals at Maatsuyker Island, Southwestern Tasmania. Australian Wildlife Research 17:563-569.
Bland, J. M., and D. G., Altman. 1986. Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement. Lancet, i:307-310.
Boren, L., Gemmell, N.J., and Barton, K.J. 2002. Tourism disturbance on New Zealand fur seals Arctocephalus fosteri. Australian Mammalogy 24:85-95.
Burleigh, A., Lynch, T and Rogers, T. 2008. Status of the Steamers Head (NSW) Australian and New Zealand fur seal haul-out site and influence of environmental factors and stochastic disturbance on seal behaviour. Pp - in Too close for comfort: contentious issues in human-wildlife encounters, edited by D. Lunney, A. Munn and W. Meikle. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW, Australia.
Dennis, T.E. and Shaughnessy, P.D. 1996. Status of the Australian sea lion, Neophoca cinerea, in the Great Australian Bight. Wildlife Research 23:741-753.
Goldsworthy, S. D., Pemberton, D., and Warneke, R. M. 1997. The Field Identification of Australian and New Zealand fur seals, Arctocephalus spp., based on external characters. Pp. 63-71 in Marine Mammals of the Southern Hemisphere Volume 1: Status, Ecology and Medicine, edited by M. Hindell and C. Kemper. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.
González, L. M., Aguilar, A., López-Jurado, L. F., and Grau, E. 1997. Status and distribution of the Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus monachus on the Cabo Blanco Peninsula (Western Sahara-Mauritania) in 1993-1994. Biological Conservation 80:225-233.
Irvine, A., Bryden, M. M., Corkeron, P. J., and Warneke, R. M. 1997. A census of fur seals at Montagu Island, New South Wales. Pp. 56-62 in Marine Mammals of the Southern Hemisphere Volume 1: status, ecology and medicine edited by M. Hindell and C. Kemper. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.
Krebs, C.J. 1999. Ecological methodology, 2nd edition. Benjamin/Cummings, Menlo Park, California.
Lake, S. E., Burton, H. R., and Hindell, M. A. 1997. Influence of time of day and month on Weddell Seal haul-out patterns at the Vestfold Hills, Antarctica. Polar Biology 18: 319-324.
Orsini, J.P, Shaughnessy, P.D. and Newsome, D. 2007. Impacts of human visitors on Australian sea lions ( Neophoca cinerea) at Carnac Island, Western Australia: implications for tourism management. Tourism in Marine Environments 2: 101-15.
Pearse, R. J. 1978. Distribution and conservation of the Australian fur seal in Tasmania. Victorian Naturalist 96: 48-53.
Pemberton, D., and Kirkwood, R. J. 1994. Pup production and distribution of the Australian fur seal, Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus, in Tasmania. Wildlife Research 21:341-352.
Shaughnessy, P.D. 1999. The action plan for Australian seals. CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology. Environment Australia, Canberra, ACT.
Shaughnessy, P. D., Gales, N. J., Dennis, T. E., and Goldsworthy S. D. 1994. Distribution and abundance of New Zealand fur seals, Arctocephalus forsteri, in South Australia and Western Australia. Wildlife Research 21:667-695.
Shaughnessy, P.D., Nicholls, A.O. and Briggs, S.V. 1999. Interactions between tourists and wildlife at Montague Island: fur seals, lttle penguins and crested terns. CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology, CSIRO, Canberra, ACT.
Stamation, K. A., Shaughnessy, P. D., and Constable, A. J. 1997. Status of Australian fur seals, Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus (Carnivora: Otariidae) at Cape Bridgewater, Victoria. Australian Mammalogy 20:63-70.
Stevens, M.A and Boness, D.J. 2003. Influences of habitat features and human disturbance on use of breeding sites by a declining population of southern fur seals Arctocephalus australis, Journal of Zoology 260: 145-152.
Southwell, C. 2005. Response behaviour of seals and penguins to helicopter surveys over the pack ice off East Antarctica. Antarctica Science 17:328-334.
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References

Baker, J.D., and Johanos, T.C. 2004. Abundance of the Hawaiian monk seal in the main Hawaiian Islands. Biological Conservation 116:103-110.
Bradshaw, C. J. A., Lalas, C., Perriman, L., Harcourt, R.G., Best, H., and Davis, L.S. 1999. Seasonal oscillation in shore attendance and transience of New Zealand fur seals. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 77:814-823.
Brothers, N., and Pemberton, D. 1990. Status of Australian and New Zealand fur seals at Maatsuyker Island, Southwestern Tasmania. Australian Wildlife Research 17:563-569.
Bland, J. M., and D. G., Altman. 1986. Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement. Lancet, i:307-310.
Boren, L., Gemmell, N.J., and Barton, K.J. 2002. Tourism disturbance on New Zealand fur seals Arctocephalus fosteri. Australian Mammalogy 24:85-95.
Burleigh, A., Lynch, T and Rogers, T. 2008. Status of the Steamers Head (NSW) Australian and New Zealand fur seal haul-out site and influence of environmental factors and stochastic disturbance on seal behaviour. Pp - in Too close for comfort: contentious issues in human-wildlife encounters, edited by D. Lunney, A. Munn and W. Meikle. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW, Australia.
Dennis, T.E. and Shaughnessy, P.D. 1996. Status of the Australian sea lion, Neophoca cinerea, in the Great Australian Bight. Wildlife Research 23:741-753.
Goldsworthy, S. D., Pemberton, D., and Warneke, R. M. 1997. The Field Identification of Australian and New Zealand fur seals, Arctocephalus spp., based on external characters. Pp. 63-71 in Marine Mammals of the Southern Hemisphere Volume 1: Status, Ecology and Medicine, edited by M. Hindell and C. Kemper. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.
González, L. M., Aguilar, A., López-Jurado, L. F., and Grau, E. 1997. Status and distribution of the Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus monachus on the Cabo Blanco Peninsula (Western Sahara-Mauritania) in 1993-1994. Biological Conservation 80:225-233.
Irvine, A., Bryden, M. M., Corkeron, P. J., and Warneke, R. M. 1997. A census of fur seals at Montagu Island, New South Wales. Pp. 56-62 in Marine Mammals of the Southern Hemisphere Volume 1: status, ecology and medicine edited by M. Hindell and C. Kemper. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.
Krebs, C.J. 1999. Ecological methodology, 2nd edition. Benjamin/Cummings, Menlo Park, California.
Lake, S. E., Burton, H. R., and Hindell, M. A. 1997. Influence of time of day and month on Weddell Seal haul-out patterns at the Vestfold Hills, Antarctica. Polar Biology 18: 319-324.
Orsini, J.P, Shaughnessy, P.D. and Newsome, D. 2007. Impacts of human visitors on Australian sea lions ( Neophoca cinerea) at Carnac Island, Western Australia: implications for tourism management. Tourism in Marine Environments 2: 101-15.
Pearse, R. J. 1978. Distribution and conservation of the Australian fur seal in Tasmania. Victorian Naturalist 96: 48-53.
Pemberton, D., and Kirkwood, R. J. 1994. Pup production and distribution of the Australian fur seal, Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus, in Tasmania. Wildlife Research 21:341-352.
Shaughnessy, P.D. 1999. The action plan for Australian seals. CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology. Environment Australia, Canberra, ACT.
Shaughnessy, P. D., Gales, N. J., Dennis, T. E., and Goldsworthy S. D. 1994. Distribution and abundance of New Zealand fur seals, Arctocephalus forsteri, in South Australia and Western Australia. Wildlife Research 21:667-695.
Shaughnessy, P.D., Nicholls, A.O. and Briggs, S.V. 1999. Interactions between tourists and wildlife at Montague Island: fur seals, lttle penguins and crested terns. CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology, CSIRO, Canberra, ACT.
Stamation, K. A., Shaughnessy, P. D., and Constable, A. J. 1997. Status of Australian fur seals, Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus (Carnivora: Otariidae) at Cape Bridgewater, Victoria. Australian Mammalogy 20:63-70.
Stevens, M.A and Boness, D.J. 2003. Influences of habitat features and human disturbance on use of breeding sites by a declining population of southern fur seals Arctocephalus australis, Journal of Zoology 260: 145-152.
Southwell, C. 2005. Response behaviour of seals and penguins to helicopter surveys over the pack ice off East Antarctica. Antarctica Science 17:328-334.
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