Prince of Wales endorses BirdLife's Save the Albatross Campaign
Save the Albatross reception
His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, hosted a reception for invited guests at St James's Palace on 14 January 2002 to endorse BirdLife's Save the Albatross Campaign.
His Royal Highness described the world's albatrosses as being in "a dreadful situation - and an entirely unnecessary one" and acknowledged BirdLife's efforts in "helping to shape an international Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels [ACAP]".
But, he continued "many more Governments need to sign and ratify the Agreement. And it appears they may need some encouragement...".
"There is no doubt that the remaining species of albatross can be saved...the only question is whether or not we have the will to take the necessary decisions, nationally and internationally, before it is too late."
The Prince concluded by saying that "as someone who has followed the plight of the world’s albatrosses with great concern over the years, how encouraged I am by the Campaign that BirdLife International has launched."
Waterbirds around the world conference 2004
More recently The Prince of Wales, gave a stirring speech about the problems facing albatrosses on the final day of the Waterbirds around the world conference, which took place from 4–7 April 2004 in Edinburgh, UK.
The Prince told of his special affection for these seabirds and how he had first learned of their plight through the efforts of BirdLife International and other non-government organisations.
The Prince declared that he couldn’t have been more pleased to hear that the UK Fisheries Minister, Elliot Morley, had earlier announced during the conference that the UK had joined the five other nations to have already ratified the international Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP).
The Prince also noted the problem of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, which appears to be getting worse. More than 1,000 ‘pirate’ vessels operate under ‘flags of convenience’ and act outside international laws. They are believed to be responsible for around a third of all seabird deaths caused by longlining.
His Royal Highness agreed with the conclusions of a Greenpeace report, which recommended closing ports to these illegal ships, closing markets for their fish, and penalising the vessels’ owners and operators. Referring to United Nations efforts to tackle pirate fisheries through an International Plan of Action, The Prince spoke of the strenuous efforts by several countries to water down the draft provisions, thereby missing vital opportunities to take effective measures, for example against the use of chartered vessels in illegal, unreported and unregulated operations.
His Royal Highness concluded by saying that the albatross may be the ultimate test of whether humankind is serious about conservation, and wondered if we would just remain blind to the appalling tragedy unfolding, out of sight and out of mind, in the vast foam-flecked spaces of the Southern Ocean.