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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UPDATE: Petition has reached 4188 signatures requesting the USA to ratify ACAP

UPDATE:  The petition now aims to collect 5000 signatures and to date has reached a total of 2804 (07 February 2014) and 4188 (08 March 2014).

The National Audubon Society, an NGO based in the USA, has initiated an on-line petition that requests US Congress members to support the ratification of ACAP.  The petition aims to collect 2500 signatures and to date has collected 2439 (click here).

Three ACAP-listed species, the Black-footed Phoebastria nigripes, Laysan P. immutabilis and Short-tailed P. albatrus Albatrosses, breed within the USA, all on islands in the Hawaiian chain in the North Pacific.

The USA has been an active participant in the work of ACAP since its inception, sending observers to all the Sessions of the Meeting of Parties and of its Advisory Committee and working group meetings held to date.  The USA also attended the second and final negotiation meetings for ACAP held in 2000 and 2001. However, it has yet to ratify the Agreement and become a Party to ACAP.

In September 2008 then USA President George W. Bush transmitted the Agreement to the United States Senate for approval (click here).  In January 2009, the United States Departments of Commerce and of the Interior jointly forwarded to the U.S. Congress proposed legislation to implement the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels in the USA, entitled the Albatross and Petrel Conservation Act of 2009 (click here).

Short-tailed Albatross breeding on Midway Atoll, photograph by Sarah Gutowsky

The mission of the National Audubon Society is to “conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity.”

ACAP came into force in February 2004 and currently has 13 member countries and covers 30 species of albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 29 January 2014, updated 08 March 2014

Postdoctoral position in bioenergetic modelling of Antarctic albatrosses available in Florida, USA

A full-time postdoctoral position is available in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida (USF), USA.

The postdoc will work as part of a multinational, multi-institutional NSF Polar Program-funded project to study the bioenergetics and foraging strategies of endangered Antarctic [sic] albatrosses.  The postdoc will primarily be located in the lab of Dr Leah Johnson at USF, jointly mentored by Dr Sadie J. Ryan (SUNY-ESF), and will have significant opportunities to interact with scientists at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). This project entails international collaboration and travel.

The goal of this project is to answer the question: what are the population consequences of albatross bioenergetics and foraging strategies?

This work will further a general understanding of how bioenergetics shapes behaviour and drives population level processes, while providing an approach that can be used to guide conservation strategies for endangered populations.  This position will focus on building individual-based models of albatross bioenergetics and foraging strategies, and will incorporate dynamic energy budget modelling and state dependent foraging theory.  Further, a large amount of data is available for model validation and fitting, which will be approached using Bayesian methods.

Qualifications:

The candidate must have a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in mathematical biology or a related field by the start date.

Candidates with a background in dynamic energy budget or other bioenergetic modelling, statistics, population biology, sea bird ecology, applied mathematics, or similar will be given preference.

Strong organizational, programming, and quantitative analysis skills are necessary.

Preferred:

Programming skills in R or C; knowledge of Bayesian statistics;

experience in quantitative ecological modelling, geographical analysis, bioinformatics, or spatial modelling.

Desired:

Excellent oral/written communication; leadership and interpersonal skills;

demonstrated ability to work in teams. GIS skills a plus.

The position is available beginning 1 May 2014, although the start date is flexible. Funding is available for three years.  An initial appointment will be for one year with extension contingent on performance.  Salary is US$40 000-45 000/year, commensurate with experience, and includes full benefits.

To apply send a cover letter, CV, statement of research and career interests, and contact information for 3-5 references, as a single PDF, to Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo..  Review of applications will begin immediately, and continue until the position is filled.

Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses: the only species that breeds within Antarctica

Photograph by John Chardine

Above text taken from a World Seabird Union post (click here).

Click here for more information.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 08 March 2013

The Eighth Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee and of its working groups to be held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, 8-19 September 2014

Meeting Location and Dates

The Eighth Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee (AC8) will be held from Monday, 15 September to Friday, 19 September 2014, at the Barradas Hotel, Punta del Este, Uruguay (click here for the meeting's first circular).

Meetings of the Advisory Committee’s Population and Conservation Status Working Group (PaCSWG) and Seabird Bycatch Working Group (SBWG) will precede AC8.  These meetings will also be held at the Barradas Hotel, from Monday 8 to Tuesday 9 September (PaCSWG), and Wednesday 10 to Friday 12 September (SBWG).

A Heads of Delegation meeting will be convened on Sunday, 14 September 2014 in the evening. The time and venue for this meeting will be advised closer to the meeting date.

Meeting Documents

Meeting documents requiring translation are to be submitted to the Secretariat no later than 15 July 2014 in order that they may be distributed in the three official languages 30 days in advance of the meeting. It would assist the operation of the meeting if papers were submitted as early as possible in advance of this date. All AC8 information papers must be submitted by 1 August 2014. Meeting documents for Working Group meetings must also be submitted by 1 August 2014. Meeting documents will not be accepted after this date.

It would be appreciated if participants could advise the Secretariat of any papers that they intend submitting to the meeting as soon as possible.

Applications for Observer Status

International bodies wishing to participate in the Advisory Committee meeting must

submit a written application to the Secretariat by 17 June 2014. Applications from other bodies wishing to attend this meeting must submit a written application by 15 July 2014.

Reservation of Accommodation

A block booking of 45 rooms has been made for the meetings at a substantial discount to normal rates: 26 x standard rooms @ USD90, 10 x deluxe rooms @ USD117, and 9 x classic suites @ USD147.00.  Delegates are encouraged to make their reservations as early as possible to ensure access to rooms at these prices.  Note that alternative accommodation may be difficult to find, particularly during AC8, due to public holidays falling in this period.  When making a reservation please quote a promotional code (to be available shortly) to access the ACAP booking.

Information on registration and other meeting arrangements will be provided in Meeting Circular No 2.

A Tristan Albatross flies by in waters off Uruguay, photograph by Martin Abreu

Warren Papworth, ACAP Executive Secretary & Marco Favero, Chair, ACAP Advisory Committee, 07 March 2014

Integrating island restoration and eradication programmes will help maximise conservation gains for procellariiform and other seabirds

Peter Kappes (Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA) and Holly Jones argue in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation that removing alien mammals from seabird islands should be followed by active restoration programmes to encourage seabirds to recover or return.  This seems particularly apposite for procellariiform seabirds with their particular life-history traits.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Colonial nesting seabirds frequently drive island ecosystem biodiversity by maintaining ecosystem functioning and community dynamics.  Invasive mammal introductions to most of the world’s islands have ravaged insular seabird populations and had associated devastating ecosystem-wide effects.  Eradication programs remove invasive mammals from islands, with the goal of conserving and restoring island species and systems.  However, most eradication programs rely almost exclusively on passive seabird recovery to achieve these goals.  Unfortunately, the life histories of most seabird species are not conducive to passive recovery within a contemporary timeframe.  Seabird restoration techniques can effectively overcome life history related issues and significantly reduce recovery times for insular seabird populations, thereby reducing associated ecosystem-wide recovery times.  By integrating seabird restoration and eradication programs, practitioners can maximize conservation gains, expand funding opportunities, and restore island ecosystems and the biodiversity they support.”

Grey Petrel on Marion Island after eradication of feral cats

Photograph by Peter Ryan

Reference:

Kappes, P.J. & Jones, H.P. 2014.  Integrating seabird restoration and mammal eradication programs on islands to maximize conservation gains.  Biodiversity and Conservation  23: 503-509.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 06 March 2014

WWF launches its International Smart Gear Competition for 2014 to reduce bycatch in fisheries

WWF's International Smart Gear Competition, launched in 2004, brings together the fishing industry, research institutes, universities and government to inspire and reward practical, innovative fishing gear designs that reduce bycatch - the accidental catch and related deaths of sea turtles, birds, marine mammals, cetaceans and non-target fish species in fishing gear such as longlines and nets.

“Designed to inspire creative thinkers, Smart Gear is a call for innovative ideas that have practical applications for fishing “smarter”—for increasing selectivity for target fish species and reducing bycatch.  The competition invites submissions of practical, cost-effective solutions to reduce fisheries bycatch, and offers cash prizes totaling US$65,000.”

The individual prizes are a Grand Prize of $30 000, two runner-up prizes of $10 000, as well as $7500 as a Special Tuna Bycatch Reduction Prize that identifies a solution to reduce the amount of bycatch found in both purse seine and longline tuna fisheries in the waters of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, and $7500 as a Special Marine Mammal Bycatch Reduction Prize.

Competition judges include Svein Løkkeborg, International Marine Research, Norway and Ed Melvin, Washington Sea Grant, USA; both of whom have been involved with research aimed at mitigating seabird mortality by fishing vessels.

The competition opened on the first of March with an entry deadline of 31 August.  Click here for the competition entry rules.  After the prizes are awarded, WWF will work with each of the winners to bring their ideas to life and see them implemented in fisheries around the World.

At risk: Black-browed Albatrosses attempt to scavenge behind a trawler

Photograph by Sofia Copello

Past winners have included specially designed lights that reduce the bycatch of turtles in gillnets, and a device to reduce the bycatch of seabirds on tuna longlines (click here).

Find more news of the competition here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 05 March 2014

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