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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Effects of alien mammals on breeding of ACAP-listed Pink-footed Shearwaters

Pink footed Shearwater Peter Hodum s 

Pink-footed Shearwater, photograph by Peter Hodum

Pablo García-Díaz (Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand) and colleagues have published in the journal Environmental Conservation on effects of introduced European Rabbits on globally Vulnerable (and ACAP-listed) Pink-footed Shearwaters Ardenna creatopus.

The abstract follows:

“Alien species are a driver of biodiversity loss, with impacts of different aliens on native species varying considerably. Identifying the contributions of alien species to native species declines could help target management efforts.  Globally, seabirds breeding on islands have proven to be highly susceptible to alien species.  The breeding colonies of the  pink-footed shearwater (Ardenna creatopus) are threatened by the negative impacts of alien mammals. We combined breeding monitoring data with a hierarchical model to separate the effects of different alien mammal assemblages on the burrow occupancy and hatching success of the pink-footed shearwater in the Juan Fernández Archipelago, Chile.  We show that alien mammals affected the rates of burrow occupancy, but had little effect on hatching success.  Rabbits produced the highest negative impacts on burrow occupancy, whereas the effects of other alien mammals were more uncertain.  In addition, we found differences in burrow occupancy between islands regardless of their alien mammal assemblages.  Managing rabbits will improve the reproductive performance of this shearwater, but research is needed to clarify the mechanisms by which alien mammals affect the shearwaters and to explain why burrow occupancy varies between islands.”


García-Díaz, P., Hodum, P., Colodro, V., Hester, M. & Carle, R.D. 2020.  Alien mammal assemblage effects on burrow occupancy and hatching success of the vulnerable pink-footed shearwater in Chile.  Environmental Conservation

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 17 May 2020

Hawai’i Pacific University’s Pelagicos Lab supports World Albatross Day 2020


The Pelagic Ecology Lab (Pelagicos) at the Hawai’i Pacific University on the Hawaiian island of Oahu focuses on the ecology and conservation of large marine vertebrates (seabirds, mammals, turtles and predatory fishes).  Our applied research seeks to incorporate an understanding of natural history and oceanography into the design of management strategies for highly mobile species and their dynamic habitats.  To this end, undergraduate and graduate students have studied the distribution, movements, diet and plastic ingestion of North Pacific albatrosses.  Our work includes performing necropsies of naturally deceased birds and sorting their boluses.  We also use the results of our research to stimulate awareness and stewardship for seabirds and their oceanic habitats.

  David Hyrenbach with Wisdom

Albatross huggers Pelagicos graduate Ilana Nimz, David Golden & David Hyrenbach pose proudly with an image of Wisdom, Midway Atoll's 69-something Laysan Albatross Laysan Jennifer UrmstonLaysan Albatross – marine debris collage.  Courtesy of Pelagicos graduate student Jenn Urmston

ACAP Latest News reached out to Lab Leader David Hyrenbach to gain his laboratory’s support for the inaugural World Albatross Day on 19 June.  He writes in return: “Albatrosses are resourceful and superbly adapted to live in the vast oceanic environment, ranging over 1000s of kilometres in search for widely dispersed prey.  Unfortunately, the same traits that make albatrosses consummate ocean voyagers, also make them susceptible to anthropogenic impacts from longline fisheries and marine pollution.  World Albatross Day is an ideal way to raise public awareness and stewardship for albatrosses.  Let's give these big birds some love!”

Pelagicos joins several other academic institutions working with seabirds in supporting World Albatross Day (click here).

David Hyrenbach, Pelagicos Lab, Hawai’i Pacific University, Oahu with John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 16 May 2020

Reducing seabird bycatch by improving National Plans of Action

IMG 7895 shrunk 

Bird-scaring line in action, photograph from Dimas Gianuca

Stephanie Good (Centre for Ecology & Conservation, University of Exeter, Penryn, UK) and colleagues have reviewed 16 existing National Plans of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries (NPOA-Seabirds) in the journal Biological Conservation.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Fisheries bycatch is one of the biggest threats to seabird populations.  Managers need to identify where and when bycatch occurs and ensure effective action. In 1999, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released the International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries (IPOA-s) encouraging states to voluntarily assess potential seabird bycatch problems and implement a National Plan of Action (NPOA) if needed. However, the IPOA-s is ambiguous about the steps and objectives, diminishing its value as a conservation tool.

We reviewed NPOAs to identify approaches taken to determine whether seabird bycatch is problematic, how bycatch minimisation and population objectives are set, and if thresholds are specified for managing impacts.  Our aim was to recommend measures for improving consistency and effectiveness in future NPOAs and other management frameworks for seabirds, with relevance for other threatened marine vertebrates including sharks, turtles, pinnipeds and cetaceans.  Globally, 16 NPOAs have been published, but few effectively linked seabird bycatch risk, objectives and management.  However, we identified the following best-practice elements that could improve NPOA design: (1) defining explicit risk criteria and methods to assess bycatch problems; (2) setting specific and measurable objectives for minimising bycatch and achieving desired population status; and (3) defining fishery-specific thresholds to trigger management action linked to the population objective. Consistent adoption of NPOA best practice, particularly in states that have not already developed an NPOA, would help to mitigate bycatch threats and ensure fisheries do not reduce the viability of seabird populations.”


Good, S.D., Baker, G.B., Gummery, M., Votier, S.C. & Phillips, R.A. 2020.  National Plans of Action (NPOAs) for reducing seabird bycatch: Developing best practice for assessing and managing fisheries impacts.  Biological Conservation  Vol. 247.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 15 May 2020

Peru’s Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI) offers its support for World Albatross Day

Texto en español más abajo


CORBIDI (Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad) is a Peruvian non-profit association created in 2006.   Its goal is to develop foundations that support biodiversity conservation.  Composed of experienced professionals, it specializes in wildlife assessments, particularly in ornithology. Its biologists, forest engineers, veterinarians, graduates, students and volunteers are dedicated to the study, research and conservation of natural resources in Peru.

The NGO’s institutional objectives are to: 1) Participate and implement scientific research projects; 2) Promote environmental conservation, interacting with public and private specialized centres to develop harmonized policies in areas of biodiversity conservation; and 3) Promote and disseminate criteria to raise awareness of the need for the protection and conservation of natural resources.

ACAP Latest News reached out to CORBIDI to gain its support for the inaugural World Albatross Day on 19 June.  In reply, CORBIDI’s Principal Researcher, Fernando Angulo writes (in translation) that:

“Peru, despite being a country with a high diversity of albatrosses and petrels does not pay them proper attention.  The habits of these birds, of using the open sea and only approaching the coast, makes them not well known in the popular imagination. That is why events and initiatives aimed at raising their profile and making them more well-known, and learning of their conservation problems, are welcome. From CORBIDI, we want to get involved and support such initiatives.”


CORBIDI members on a birding excursion

CORBIDI has been holding a series of on-line talks as part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Global Big Day, held on 9 May, when it was planned to collect 100 000 bird checklists globally in one day via eBird.

Within Peru support for ‘WAD2020” has also come from Pro Delphinus, an NGO that conducts research and conservation of threatened and endangered marine turtles, marine otters, seabirds and sharks in Peruvian waters.

With thanks to Fernando Angulo Pratolongo, Principal Researcher, Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI), Peru

Verónica López, Chair, ACAP World Albatross Day Intersessional Group & John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 14 May 2020


Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI) DE Perú ofrece su apoyo para el Día Mundial del Albatros

CORBIDI (Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad) Es una Asociación sin fines de lucro creada en el año 2006. Esta integrada por profesionales experimentados especializados en evaluaciones de fauna silvestre, particularmente en Ornitología (biólogos, ingenieros forestales, veterinarios, graduados, estudiantes y voluntarios); dedicada al estudio, investigación y conservación de los recursos naturales en el Perú.

Tiene como objetivos institucionales, 1) Participar y ejecutar proyectos de investigación científica, 2) Promover la conservación del medio ambiente, interactuando con centros especializados como entidades públicas y privadas para desarrollar políticas armonizadas en ámbitos de la conservación de la biodiversidad; y, 3) Promover y difundir criterios para crear conciencia de protección y conservación de los recursos naturales, ejecutando proyectos de investigación.

CORBIDI respondió el llamado de ACAP para apoyar el Día Mundial del Albatros a realizarse por primvera vez el 19 de junio del presente año.  En respuesta, el investigador principal de CORBIDI, Fernando Angulo, escribe que:

“El Perú, a pesar de ser un Pais con una alta diversidad de albatros y petreles, no se les presta la atencion debida. Las costumbres de estas aves, de usar el mar abierto y acercarse timidamente a la costa, hace que no estén en el imaginario popular. Es por ello, que eventos e iniciativas destinadas a levantar su perfil y hacerlas más notorias, conocidas, y aprender de sus problemas de conservacion, son bienvenidas. Desde CORBIDI, queremos involucrarnos y apoyar estas inciaitivas.”

CORBIDI ha estado llevando a cabo una serie de charlas en línea como parte del Gran Día Global de conteo de aves “Big Day”del Laboratorio de Ornitología de Cornell el 9 de mayo, cuando se planea recolectar 100 000 listas de verificación de aves en todo el mundo en un día a través de eBird.

En Perú, el apoyo para ‘WAD2020” también provino de Pro Delphinus, una ONG que lleva a cabo investigaciones y conservación de tortugas marinas, nutrias marinas, aves marinas y tiburones amenazados y en peligro de extinción en aguas peruanas.

Con agradecimiento a Fernando Angulo Pratolongo, Investigador Principal, Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI), Perú.

Verónica López, Presidenta, Grupo Intersesional del Día Mundial del Albatros de ACAP y John Cooper, Oficial de Información de ACAP, 14 de mayo de 2020

UPDATED. Book review: “Garbage Guts” by Heidi Auman explores the dangers of plastic pollution to marine life through the eyes of a Laysan Albatross


"Attention all parents, teachers, librarians, environmental and educational groups - I've  created a video narrating my children's book, Garbage Guts, to share for free. This was part of my isolation challenge and what I can do to make our world a bit nicer place. Please share with anyone who may be interested. At the end is a short lesson on my research behind the story, plus an educational handout on how to lower your 'plastic footprint'."

View author Heidi Auman reading her book (with realistic barfing noises) here.

Gsarbage Guts Laysan Heid Auman

Garbage Guts gets a critical review from a Laysan Albatross, photograph courtesy of Heidi Auman


“Aria the Albatross was about to barf.  “Haccck! Eccch-pwah!”  With a cough and a splatter she threw up a pink plastic toothbrush, a red plastic cigarette lighter; and a white plastic bottle cap on the soft white sand.”

Garbage Guts by Heidi Auman

Heidi Auman, who lives in Tasmania, Australia, has in the past studied plastic and chemical pollution in albatrosses on the USA’s Midway Atoll.  Armed with this hands-on experience – and a passion for sharing her scientific knowledge with a wider audience, including young people - she has now written a book for children on the subject.  In her book, dramatically illustrated by Romanian artist, Luminita Cosareanu, Heidi has Ari, a female Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis, travel away from her island home to find out where all the plastic items she and her albatross friends have been regurgitating are coming from.

On her journey over a sea full of floating trash she meets other animals that have been affected; a turtle that has half swallowed a plastic bag, a seal caught up in a strapping band and a whale entangled by a ghost fishing net.  Aril helps the turtle and seal to get free but has to call on some nearby humans to help free the whale.

The take-home message is that marine pollution is derived from the land and that children can help and become involved by joining beach clean-ups.

The text includes some short poems sang by each distressed animal as thanks to the concerned albatross.  With page-sized illustrations to look at this book would be a good bed-time story for parents to read to their young sons and daughters, who could join in with learning and singing the songs.  The text is large and should be easy for children learning to read to follow.

Click here and here for two other accounts of Heidi’s book.

Heidi Auman has worked with the Albatross and Petrel Agreement in the past, helping research and write several of the ACAP Species Assessment texts for albatrosses.

Click to view a listing of other children’s books on albatrosses and petrels on this website: it’s been visited nearly 4000 times!

With thanks to Heidi Auman.


Auman, H. 2014.  Garbage Guts.  Illustrated by Luminita Cosareanu.  Indianopolis: Dog Ear Publishing.  Unpaginated [64 pp.].

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 05 October 2014, updated 13 May 2020