Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

So how many albatrosses and petrels are out there? The ACAP Data Portal can tell you

The ACAP Data Portal is a gateway to the underlying data that support the work of the Agreement.  The public, non-password protected part of the portal gives information on species, breeding localities (mainly named islands), most recent population censuses and population trends.

By searching on sites you can find out which ACAP-listed species breed.  For instance, by entering Gough Island a table will name the five ACAP-listed species that currently breed.  Delving deeper by clicking on the species name will tell you where else it breeds.  For example you will learn that the Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena also breeds on Inaccessible Island.

By clicking on the locality name in the species table you are informed that the most recent breeding population of Tristan Albatrosses on Gough was 1747 pairs in 2013 and that the population trend has been downward over the period 2001 to 2010.

A Critically Endangered Tristan Albatross guards its chick on Gough Island

Photograph by Andrea Angel and Ross Wanless

The data portal also gives information on the jurisdictions or Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) that either overlap with breeding sites or with the foraging range of a species, based on information provided by the BirdLife Global Procellariiform Tracking Database.  From this we can learn that the Tristan Albatross has been recorded within the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of five countries that are Parties to ACAP (Australia, Brazil, South Africa, United Kingdom and Uruguay) and of three countries that are not currently a Party to ACAP: Angola, Mozambique and Namibia.

Information on threats can also be found.  Again as an example, the portal tells us that the main threat facing Tristan Albatrosses on Gough is the House Mouse Mus musculus.

A second source of data available on the ACAP web site is the ACAP Species Assessments.  These contain the most recent scientific information regarding the 30 albatross, petrel and shearwater species currently listed under the Agreement.  The assessments provide data on each species' population status and trends, their distribution, the threats they face both at breeding sites and at sea, as well as the conservation measures that are in place to protect them.  Click here for a listing.

The Species Assessments are due to be updated during the first half of next year (click here).

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 27 December 2013

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