Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Cross-border collaboration to protect threatened species: the case of Canada, the USA and the Short-tailed Albatross

Andrea Olive (Departments of Geography and Political Science, University of Toronto, Canada) has published in the journal The Canadian Geographer on deficiencies in collaboration between Canada and the USA to improve protection of threatened species that occur within both countries.

In contrast to most species she reviews the author considers that the ACAP-listed and globally Vulnerable Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus (inexplicably categorized as a “fish” in the paper) exhibits “a high degree of coordination and cooperation” between the two countries.

The article "makes four specific recommendations to improve policy: finish recovery plans, support necessary travel and communication technology, create a consistent cross-border agency approach to cooperation, and ensure top-down implementation of collaboration.”

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Canada and the United States share 30 endangered or threatened species.  This paper examines the recovery process for species at risk under the two country’s domestic laws: Canada’s Species at Risk Act and the American Endangered Species Act.  These two countries could be working together to recover shared species, especially migratory and cross-border species.  Through comparing the recovery strategies and plans for the 30 species, and interviewing recovery team members on both sides of the border, it is shown that cross-border collaboration is limited.  The paper argues that more collaboration, data sharing, and cross-border recovery teams are needed.  Biodiversity loss is an increasing problem in both countries.”

Short-tailed Albatross at sea, photograph by Aleks Terauds

The regularly-meeting North Pacific Albatross Working Group is not mentioned specifically, nor is the US-based Short-tailed Albatross Recovery Team; both bodies have Canadian and US members.

In terms of cross-border collaboration it is noteworthy that ACAP’s own species assessment for the Short-tailed Albatross was jointly compiled by Greg Balogh of the US Fish & Wildlife Service and Ken Morgan of Environment Canada.

Neither Canada nor the USA is a Party to the Albatross and Petrel Agreement, although both nations regularly attend ACAP meetings as actively participating observers.

Selected Literature:

COSEWIC 2013.  COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrusin Canada.  Ottawa: Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.  xii + 55 pp.

Environment Canada, 2008.  Recovery Strategy for the Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus) and the Pink-footed Shearwater (Puffinus creatopus) in Canada.  Ottawa: Environment Canada.  vii + 44 pp.

Olive, A. 2014.  The road to recovery: Comparing Canada and US recovery strategies for shared endangered species.  The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien 58: 263-275.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2008.  Short-tailed Albatross Recovery Plan.  Anchorage: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  105 pp.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 11 November 2014

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