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.

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BirdLife International Albatross Task Force’s wins a ‘Greening the Future’ award for its work reducing seabird mortality in a South African trawl fishery

The Mail & Guardian, a South African weekly newspaper, has for the past decade been making annual environmental awards to deserving individuals and bodies in South Africa.  The “Greening the Future” awards embrace technological innovations and forward-thinking green technologies that help combat climate change, encourage renewable energy and foster the strategic management of natural resources.  Annual awards are given in 10 categories.

This year BirdLife South Africa’s Albatross Task Force’s has taken first prize in the ‘Green Technology’ category for its work reducing seabird mortality in a South African trawl fishery, previously described in ACAP Latest News (click here).  The award was made at a ceremony held this week in Johannesburg.


Best practice: twin bird-scaring lines set behind this South African trawler keep Black-browed Albatrosses away  from colliding with the warp cables

Photograph by Barry Watkins

The award follows an international award made to the task force when Bronwyn Maree, the ATF Team Leader in South Africa, travelled to The Netherlands to receive her ‘Future for Nature Award’ (click here).

Selected Literature:

Maree, B.A., Wanless, R.M., Fairweather, T.P., Sullivan, B.J. & Yates, O. 2014.  Significant reductions in mortality of threatened seabirds in a South African trawl fishery.  Animal Conservation doi:10.1111/acv.12126.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 27 June 2014

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission reports on a seabird bycatch workshop held in Korea

In November last year the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) hosted a Technical Workshop for the Implementation of Measures to Reduce Seabird Bycatch in IOTC Longline Fisheries, held in Busan, Korea (click here).  The Albatross and Petrel Agreement was represented by Anton Wolfaardt, Convenor of its Seabird Bycatch Working Group.  Both ACAP and BirdLife International made presentations to the workshop on seabird bycatch and mitigation measures.

The report of the workshop (IOTC–2013–SBWS02–R) is now available on the home page of the IOTC website.  The workshop considered the best-practice mitigation measures of night-setting, line weighting and utilization of bird-scaring lines.

Night setting is a best-practice mitigation measure

At the 18th Session of the Commission, held earlier this month in Colombo, Sri Lanka, it was agreed that CPCs (Contracting Parties and Cooperating non-Contracting Parties to the IOTC) who had had done already done so should adopt National Plans of Action - Seabirds and report on progress to its Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch (WPEB).  The 10th Meeting of the WPEB will be held in Tokyo, Japan over 27 to 31 October this year (click here).

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 26 June 2014

50th Anniversary of rodent eradications in New Zealand: a celebratory symposium to be held in Auckland in September

Despite valiant efforts to eradicate them World-wide, rodents continue to threaten seabirds at their breeding islands, with the House Mice Mus musculus of Gough and Marion Islands that attack albatross and burrowing petrel chicks being significant examples (click here).  New Zealand has been a World leader in successfully eradicating introduced rodents from islands, now to be recognized at a one-day symposium to be held in Auckland this September (click here).

Sooty Albatross chick killed by House Mice on Gough Island, photograph by Paul Visser

“In 2014 New Zealand celebrates 50 years of rodent eradications, following the confirmation of successful eradication of Norway Rats [Rattus norvegicus] from Maria Island in 1964 by the  with assistance from Don Merton, and a grant of 5 pounds from the Wildlife Service.  At that time only 0.5% of New Zealand’s islands were predator-free but today that percentage has increased to 10%, due to the pioneering efforts of staff in the NZ Wildlife Service and then Department of Conservation, supported by volunteers and community groups.  Much has changed in those fifty years, including the landmark use of helicopters to deliver bait aerially, and the knowledge export of rodent eradications to other islands across the globe.

To celebrate these 50 years the Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity, University of Auckland and partners are hosting a symposium on rodent eradications to be held 10 September 2014 at the University of Auckland.  The full-day symposium will consist of a series of talks by those involved at the time in pioneering eradications, presenting a retrospective of the eradication operation at the time, the benefits to the island today, and looking forward to the future of island conservation and rodent eradication.  Registration is free and the symposium will be accessible to a general audience.”

Click here to register.

For a brief history of rodent eradications in New Zealand click here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 25 June 2014

UPDATED Albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters get a look in at Island Biology 2014 in Hawaii next month

UPDATE: Abstracts now available (click here).

An International Conference on Island Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation (Island Biology 2014) will be held at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, USA over 7-11 July 2014.

A draft programme for the conference is now available from which the following presentations on seabirds along with their senior authors have been extracted.  Other papers will be given on island restoration and on the effects and removal of introduced predators.

Elsa Bonnaud: Unexpected differences of cat predation on close islands: how being efficient to better preserve a vulnerable seabird?  [Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus?]

Karen Courtot:  Scenarios for black-footed albatross colony establishment on the main Hawaiian Islands  [Phoebastria nigripes]

Kazuto Kawakami:  The recent evidence on the distribution of the seriously threatened Bryan’s Shearwater in the Bonin Islands, subtropical Japan (poster)  [Puffinus bryani]

Steve Sawyer:  The establishment of novel surface- and burrow-nesting pelagic seabird colonies in New Zealand and Hawaii using acoustic attraction and predator fencing

David Towns:  Is restoration of seabird islands reconstructing the ambiguous?

Dena Spatz:  Globally threatened seabirds and island conservation opportunities

Eric VanderWerf:  Increase in Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and changes in soil nutrients following construction of a predator-proof fence at Kaena Point, Hawaii  [Puffinus pacificus]

Adam Vorsino:  Combining demographic and geographic models to assess the current and future health of Newell’s Shearwater and Hawaiian Petrel [Puffinus newelli & Pterodroma sandwichensis]

A Black-footed Albatross visits Kaena Point, Oahu, Hawaii

Photograph by Lindsay Young

The conference is intended to “be the first of a regular series of meetings that will be held every four years, on islands around the world, at which island biologists can come together, share insights, and develop collaborations that will accelerate the pace and effectiveness of island research and conservation.”

John Cooper ACAP Information Officer, 08 June 2014, updated 24 June 2014

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

 Black-browed Albatross, photograph by Genevieve Jones

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 24 June 2014

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