BirdLife's Save the Albatross Campaign was formally launched at the British Birdwatching Fair in 2000. However, prior to that, BirdLife had been active in the conservation of the world's seabirds.
The overall Save the Albatross campaign target is to reduce the number of seabird death caused by the longlining fishing industry to a sustainable level.
To achieve this, over the next two years, BirdLife will focus on:
- Raising public awareness of the problem. If people are aware of the issue, they can help exert pressure directly on the fishing industry, for example by only buying fish that has been fully accredited as "Albatross-friendly" and landed by a legal fishing vessel.
- Urge governments of relevant longlining nations to develop and implement National Plans of Action within the UN FAO framework.
- Urge governments of relevant longlining nations to sign and ratify ACAP and implement its conservation actions.
- Work closely with Regional Fishery Management Organisations (RFMOs) to ensure that seabird mitigation measures are routinely adopted during fishing operations.
- Urge international and national authorities to tackle the illegal "Pirate" fishing industry.
- Monitor and evaluate the by-catch problem, assessing the latest available scientific evidence on seabird populations.
- Collaborate with relevant bodies to promote and develop effective solutions and mitigation measures.
- Resource and equip national BirdLife Partners to campaign on this issue world-wide, and ensure a co-ordinated and cohesive campaign is delivered at global, regional and national levels.
Key BirdLife achievements to date
- Ongoing: BirdLife Partners around the world are advising and assisted governments in drafting seabird regulations and training curricula for fishers and scientific observers.
- 2004: An international petition calling for urgent action to safeguard the future of albatross and other seabirds was organised and co-ordinated by Forest & Bird (BirdLife in New Zealand) and presented to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). More than 105,000 people from 131 countries signed the petition.
- 2001: Hosted workshop in Uruguay to promote solutions to the seabird by-catch problem in South America.
- 2000-2001: Developing a Global Environment Facility (World Bank) application to promote seabird-friendly longline fishing in developing southern hemisphere countries.
- 2000-2001: BirdLife influenced an FAO International Plan of Action on Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported or 'pirate' fishing (adopted by FAO in 2001).
- 1999-2001: BirdLife helped to shape the international Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) under the Bonn Convention. ACAP was opened for signature in June 2001.
- 1998: Technical Review by BirdLife for UN-FAO of longline fisheries worldwide, as part of the basis for the FAO's International Plan of Action (IPOA-Seabirds).
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