22 Mar 2013

We need your vote to save the albatross

By Martin Fowlie

A new Albatross Task Force (ATF) project needs your help to win the vote for one of this year’s European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) awards. Each year nominated projects go up for vote to win grants of up to €30 000. The purpose of the project is to reduce the number of seabirds killed by fishing fleets operating off Namibia in southern Africa. ‘Bycatch’ by fishing boats is the main cause of the rapid declines that many seabirds are currently suffering, and Namibia is one of the world’s worst ‘blackspots’ for this problem.

VOTE! Albatross Task Force, Namibia

Voting from 22 March to 12 April 2013

Albatrosses are among the largest flying birds in the world, but also one of the most at-risk: 17 of the 22 species of albatross are globally threatened with extinction. The primary driver behind this is being caught accidentally in fisheries. Every year tens of thousands of albatrosses are killed, by longline fishing (in which a vessel may use a 100km line with as many as 20,000 hooks onto which the birds can get hooked), and trawl fishing (which vessels have thick cables that birds collide with). In Namibia, it is estimated that 46,000 birds are killed each year. The Albatross Task Force in Namibia will work with fishermen to use ‘bird streamer lines’ on the longline and trawl vessels, which keep the albatrosses away from the hooks and cables, and will also add steel weights to the longline hooks to sink them rapidly out of the albatrosses’ reach. The project will reduce the number of albatrosses and other seabirds caught by 50% in a single year. EOCA is a charitable NGO with 80 members wants to prove the European outdoor industry is committed to putting something back into the environment that it depends on. Membership fees of companies in the outdoor industry go 100% towards project funding.

Find out more about the BirdLife Global Seabird Programme