Two important international agreements relating to the seabird by-catch problem have been drawn up.
The Agreement for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP)
In early 2001 negotiations concluded on an international treaty, the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP).
This agreement requires signatory states to take specific measures to improve the conservation status of albatrosses and petrels. Measures include research and monitoring, reduction of incidental mortality in fisheries, eradication of non-native species at breeding sites, reduction of disturbance and habitat loss, and reduction of pollution. The Agreement is established under the auspices of the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) and is legally binding.
Six countries have now ratified the Agreement (Australia, Ecuador, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa and the UK) and the Agreement entered into force on 1 February 2004. Another five countries, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, France and Peru have signed ACAP, and it is hoped that they will become party to the Agreement soon.
BirdLife attended the first Meeting of Parties, which took place between 8-12 November 2004. The FAO’s International Plan of Action - Seabirds
The FAO-International Plan of Action
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) developed an International Plan of Action (IPOA) to tackle seabird by-catch in 1988. This lists the measures that fisheries can adopt to reduce their by-catch.
The FAO encourages member countries to assess their own seabird by-catch problem and to develop and implement a National Plan of Action (NPOA), based on the recommendations listed in the IPOA. So far, twelve countries plus the European Union have either completed or started to develop an NPOA.
In implementing IPOA-Seabirds, States assess the seabird by-catch problem within their fisheries and/or within their coastal waters. If a bycatch problem exists, each State then develops and implements a National Plan of Action (NPOA), based on the recommendations listed in the IPOA.
The following States have completed, or are in the process of developing, NPOAs:
Completed NPOAs: Brazil, Falkland Islands, New Zealand, South Africa, United States
Developing NPOAs: Australia, Canada, Japan, Vietnam
The FAO International Plan of Action and the related National Plans of Action are vitally important to solving the seabird by-catch problem. However, their development and implementation by member states are purely voluntary.
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