Skippers sign up to albatross campaign
New Zealand Conservation Minister Chris Carter welcomed the Volvo Ocean Race teams to New Zealand on behalf of the Government at a ceremony in Wellington at the weekend (Saturday 18 February). The skippers of the six race teams also pledged their support for BirdLife’s Save the Albatross campaign at the ceremony.
The six skippers were Mike Sanderson of ABN AMRO ONE, Paul Cayard of Pirates of the Caribbean, Torben Grael of Brasil 1, Sebastien Josse of ABN AMRO TWO, Bouwe Bekking of movistar, and Neal McDonald of Ericsson.
"The efforts of the Volvo Ocean Race teams to promote awareness of the plight of albatross around the world is enormously important and should be celebrated by New Zealanders," Mr Carter told spectators at Queen’s Wharf.
"We are lucky enough to live in the albatross capital of the world, but our albatross visit many countries and cross many borders, and they are vulnerable in all of them. Poor fishing practices in one nation can have a profound effect on albatross numbers in another nation. Because of this, the survival of the albatross lies in the hands of the whole international community. The Volvo Ocean Race is a terrific way of emphasising the responsibility we all share to preserve these remarkable birds," added the Minister.
"I remember seeing a lot of albatrosses in the Southern Ocean when I first started round-the-world sailing, but now they've become much rarer." —Mike Sanderson, Skipper of ABN AMRO ONE
"As a sailor it’s great to see albatrosses while you're out in the middle of nowhere. It can get pretty lonely when you're at sea for weeks on end, so seeing these awesome birds is a great sight for us," said Mike Sanderson, skipper of ABN AMRO ONE. "I remember seeing a lot of albatrosses in the Southern Ocean when I first started round-the-world sailing, but now they've become much rarer," he added.
"The support of the Volvo Ocean Race teams is vital to help us secure the future of the world’s great albatrosses. Each team will be a beacon of hope as they race their way across the Southern Ocean towards Brazil,” said Mike Britton, General Manager of Forest & Bird (BirdLife in New Zealand), who joined the Minister in welcoming the teams.
The skippers signed a large Save the Albatross campaign postcard that Forest & Bird will deliver to diplomatic representatives of Taiwan, Japan, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Spain, Chile and Argentina in New Zealand. These countries either have important longlining fleets or are albatross range states, and will be encouraged to adopt the use of seabird bycatch mitigation measures by their fisheries operations. Countries that have not done so already will also be asked to sign the Agreement for the Conservation of Albatross and Petrels (ACAP).