Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

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Read about recent developments and findings in procellariiform science and conservation relevant to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels in ACAP Latest News.

Contact the ACAP Information Officer if you wish to have your news featured.

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Developing capacity in the ecosystem approach to fisheries management

An ecosystem approach to fisheries management training course has been developed by a group of partner organizations to address capacity development needs.  The Essential EAFM training course will help institutions and their staff prepare and implement improved fisheries management plans and provides the practical skills, tools and resources to do so (click here).

“The ecosystem approach offers a practical and effective means to manage fisheries more holistically.  It represents a move away from fisheries management that focuses on target species, towards systems and decision-making processes that balance environmental, human and social well-being within improved governance frameworks.  However, many fisheries, environment and planning staff lack experience in how to implement the ecosystems approach.”

A complete set of Essential EAFM course materials for both trainers and students is available for use  free of charge from the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Project at www.boblme.org/eafm.

 Black-browed Albatross, photograph by Genevieve Jones

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 24 June 2014

The USA takes action against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing

The President of the USA, Barack Obama, has this month taken action to establish a Presidential Task Force to combat “Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud” by way of a Presidential Memorandum (click here)

IUU fishing results in the uncontrolled and unmonitored bycatch of ACAP-listed and other species of seabirds in those parts of the World’s oceans where they occur.

The memorandum states:

“The United States is a global leader in sustainable seafood.  Over the course of the last 6 years, the United States has largely ended overfishing in federally managed waters and successfully rebuilt a record number of stocks depleted by the excesses of the past.  At the same time, effective domestic management and enforcement of fishing regulations have supported near record highs in both landings and revenue for our domestic fishing industry.  As a result, the U.S. management scheme is recognized internationally as a model for other countries as they work to end overfishing.

Nevertheless, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues to undermine the economic and environmental sustainability of fisheries and fish stocks, both in the United States and around the world.  Global losses attributable to the black market from IUU fishing are estimated to be $10-23 billion annually, weakening profitability for legally caught seafood, fueling illegal trafficking operations, and undermining economic opportunity for legitimate fishermen in the United States and around the world.

It is in the national interest of the United States to promote a framework that supports sustainable fishing practices and combats seafood fraud and the sale of IUU fishing products.  To achieve these objectives, the United States will need to enhance the tools it has available to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud, including by implementing the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing; strengthening coordination and implementation of existing authorities to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud; working with the Congress to strengthen and harmonize the enforcement provisions of U.S. statutes for implementing international fisheries agreements; and working with industry and foreign partners to develop and implement new and existing measures, such as voluntary, or other, traceability programs, that can combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud, and ensure accurate labeling for consumers.”

A trawler trails twin bird-scaring lines, painting by Bruce Pearson

The memorandum establishes a Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud to be co-chaired by the Secretaries of State and Commerce, or their designees.  The Task Force is to report to the President with recommendations for the implementation of a comprehensive framework of integrated programmes to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud within 180 days.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 23 June 2014

At least eight Reindeer remain after an eradication exercise on a South Atlantic seabird island

Previously it was reported in ACAP Latest News that all the introduced Reindeer Rangifer tarandus had been removed from South Georgia (Isla Georgias del Sur)* in a two-phase operation over the last two austral summers (click here).  Removal of Reindeer is expected to result in a return to a more natural vegetation cover on the island to the advantage of burrowing petrels, including the ACAP-listed White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis.

Reindeer in the Southern Ocean, photograph by Fabrice Le Bouard

A report on Phase Two of the eradication exercise published last month now reveals that at least eight animals (seen as a group of females and calves) remained in the vicinity of Barff Point (click here).

The report states “[s]ome additional searches and shooting of remaining animals will be needed in 2015 to ensure all reindeer are removed before the start of the final phase of the … rat eradication project.  Based on estimates of the number of animals that remain, a decision will be made as to whether Norwegian marksmen will return or whether local personnel will be used instead.”

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 22 June 2014

*A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Georgias del Sur y Islas Sandwich del Sur) and the surrounding maritime areas.

Seven Australian shearwaters and petrels considered at high risk to climate change

Stephen Garnett and Donald Franklin (Charles Darwin University) have edited a newly-published book that considers the likely effects of climate change on Australian birds.  The book includes adaptation profiles for those Australian species that are considered both highly sensitive and highly exposed to climate change.

Seven species of procellariiforms are included as highly sensitive and exposed (click here).  They are Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus, Little Shearwater P. assimilis, Kermadec Petrel Pterodroma neglecta, Herald Petrel P. heraldica, Gould’s Petrel P. leucoptera, White-necked Petrel P. cervicalis and White-bellied Storm-Petrel Fregetta grallaria.

 

Wedge-tailed |Shearwaters, photograph by the Pacific Islands Avian Health Program

“This is the first climate change adaptation plan produced for a national faunal group anywhere in the world.  It outlines the nature of threats related to climate change for the Australian bird taxa most likely to be affected by climate change, and provides recommendations on what might be done to assist them and approximate costs of doing so.  It also features an analysis of how climate change will affect all Australian birds, explains why some species are likely to be more exposed or sensitive to it than others, and explores the theory and practice of conservation management under the realities of a changing climate.

Species profiles include maps showing current core habitat and modelled climatic suitability based on historical records, as well as maps showing projected climatic suitability in 2085 in relation to current core habitat.

Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Australian Birds is an important reference for policy makers, conservation scientists, land managers, climate change adaptation biologists, as well as bird watchers and advocacy groups”

Reference:

 Garnett, S & Franklin, D. (Eds) 2014.  Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Australian Birds.  Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing.  272 pp.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 21 June 2014

Gut bugs and stomach oils: the faecal microbiota of procellariiform seabirds

Meagan Dewar (School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia) and colleagues have looked at gut microbiota in procellariiform seabirds, publishing in the journal FEMS Microbiology Ecology.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Despite the enormous amount of data available on the importance of gut microbiota in vertebrates (especially mammals), there is no information available on the microbiota of seabirds.  Procellariiformes are long-lived seabirds that consume a diet high in lipids and are characterised by their ability to produce and store large amount of stomach oils through the partial digestion of prey (with the exception of the Pelecanoididae).  Examining the faecal microbiota of three Procellariiform species (short-tailed shearwater, common diving petrel and fairy prion) provided a unique opportunity to not only characterise the gastrointestinal (GI) microbial composition of seabirds but to also examine the influence of stomach oils on the microbial community.  The results indicated that Procellariiform seabirds host a highly diverse community of faecal microorganisms, dominated by three phyla (Firmicutes, Proteobacteriaand Bacteroidetes) and that each species has its own species-specific GI microbiota.  In addition, significant differences were observed in the microbial communities of oil-producing and non-oil-producing seabirds. This study is the first whole-community examination and classification of the faecal microbiota of Procellariiform seabirds.”

 

Short-tailed Shearwater, photograph by Kirk Zufelt

Reference:

Dewar, M.L., Arnould, J.P.Y., Krause, L., Dann, P. & Smith, S .C. 204.  Interspecific variations in the faecal microbiota of Procellariiform seabirds.  FEMS Microbiology Ecology  DOI: 10.1111/1574-6941.12332.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 20 June 2014

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