BirdLife’s International Marine Programme works at national, regional, and international levels to influence the development and adoption of agreements and measures to reduce threats to seabirds. These include working with:
Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs)
In 2004, the Global Seabird Programme conducted the first-ever environmental review of the world’s RFMOs, finding that most were not yet addressing bycatch effectively. We now work closely with RFMOs to press for assessment and reduction of bycatch. Significant progress has been made in the tuna commissions: all five now require their longline vessels to use bycatch reduction measures in most areas overlapping with albatrosses.
The Tracking Ocean Wanderers Database has been very important in our work with these organisations. It has enabled the overlap between seabird populations and fisheries to be mapped, making it possible to target our conservation efforts more effectively.
FAO’s International Plan of Action to reduce seabird mortality (IPOA-Seabirds)
IPOA-Seabirds was developed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1998, and all countries are encouraged by the FAO to implement National Plans of Action (NPOAs). BirdLife works nationally to support development of effective NPOAs. In 2008-9, BirdLife also supported development of FAO’s Best Practice Technical Guidelines to guide effective NPOAs and to expand the IPOA to all fisheries, not just longlines.
The Agreement for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP)
BirdLife is an observer organisation to ACAP, and plays an active role in all ACAP Working Groups. Amongst other issues, BirdLife provides ACAP with data on albatross and petrel Red List status, information from the Albatross Task Force, and our work with RFMOs. BirdLife has also co-led on the identification of Internationally Important Sites for ACAP species. With ACAP, BirdLife have produced Mitigation Factsheets which detail the range of potential mitigation measures available to reduce seabird bycatch in longline and trawl fisheries.
The BirdLife Strategy 2013-2020 is directly linked to, and fully supportive of, the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. BirdLife has been working with the CBD for many years and we have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Convention, as a platform for coordination of activities in support of achieving the 20 Aichi Targets.
From a marine perspective, our work has primarily focused on supporting the CBD’s work to identify Ecologically or Biologically Significant marine Areas (EBSAs) in need of protection. This has involved extensive data compilation and analysis for all expert workshops convened to date, as well as influencing discussions at Conference of the Parties to the Convention.
Marine Stewardship Council
BirdLife is actively involved with the Marine Stewardship Council (regarded as the most robust fisheries sustainability certification scheme), through membership of its Stakeholder Council, and through commenting on individual fishery certifications.