North Pacific Albatrosses added to ACAP
The Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) have added the three North Pacific species of albatross, Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus, Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis and Black-footed Albatross Phoebastria nigripes to Annex 1 of the Agreement.
ACAP is a legally binding international treaty which requires signatory governments to take action to reduce albatross and petrel bycatch in fisheries, and to protect breeding colonies. Annex 1, which lists the species covered by the agreement, previously included only albatross species occurring in the southern hemisphere, together with seven southern hemisphere petrel species.
Government agencies in the USA and Japan already work with their North Pacific longline fishing fleets to ensure that seabird bycatch mitigation measures are adopted.
US and Japanese delegates to the third session of the meeting of parties to ACAP in Bergen, Norway, gave a presentation demonstrating how close the objectives of those currently working to conserve these three albatrosses were to those of ACAP, and how mutual benefits would derive from the addition of these species to Annex 1. The decision to add the three species to Annex 1 was unanimous.
"the Agreement [ACAP] now covers all 22 species of albatrosses" —Dr Ben Sullivan, BirdLife’s Global Seabird Programme Coordinator
“The addition of the three northern hemsiphere species means that the Agreement now covers all 22 species of albatrosses, which is an important step in the evolution of ACAP, particulalry in terms of the potential for measures at-sea to augment the extensive colony based conservation work conducted over many years on these three species”, said Dr Ben Sullivan - BirdLife’s Global Seabird Programme Coordinator.
Between 2007 and 2008, albatross mortality in the foreign pelagic tuna fleet in South African waters fell by 85 percent. Much of the reduction has been attributed to the successful adoption of mitigation measures by Japanese fishing fleets operating in these waters.
BirdLife’s Global Seabird Programme has worked with world leaders in seabird bycatch mitigation to develop a series of 14 downloadable Seabird Bycatch Mitigation Fact-sheets. Each Fact-sheet addresses a specific mitigation measure, and makes recommendations about the most effective combination of measures.
“We have worked closely with ACAP to assist us in maintaining a dynamic and up-to-date resource that captures new findings derived from mitigation research and operational implementation”, concluded Dr Sullivan.
Electronic copies of the Seabird Bycatch Mitigation Fact-sheets can be found by clicking here.
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Credits: Global Seabird Programme