World Oceans Day petition to save the Balearic Shearwater (and other European seabirds)

On World Oceans Day (8 June) the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB, BirdLife partner in the UK)  presented a 23 000-strong petition to the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in Brussels, Belgium (click here and here).


The petition urges the European Commission to produce the long-awaited European Plan of Action (click here for the FAO guidelines) to save threatened seabirds from the effects of fishing via bycatch on longlines and in nets in European waters.


One of the European seabird species seriously threatened by fisheries bycatch is the World Conservation Union-Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus, which breeds only on Spanish territory within the Mediterranean Sea.


The Balearic Shearwater is a "species of interest" to the Albatross and Petrel Agreement, having been identified as a suitable candidate for listing (click here and here). At the last (5th) Meeting of the ACAP Advisory Committee, held in Argentina in April 2010, France (a range state for the species) advised that it would, in consultation with Spain, give consideration jointly to proposing that the Balearic Shearwater be added to Annex 1 of the Agreement (click here).


The ACAP Secretariat prepared a draft Species Assessment for the Balearic Shearwater in 2008 to inform it of the bird's current conservation status in the event of the species being nominated for ACAP-listing.


Two further shearwater species that have been identified as potential ACAP candidates, Yelkouan P. yelkouan and Cory's Calonectris diomedea, are also at risk from fisheries in European (and especially Mediterranean) waters. Their conservation status would also be improved by the speedy adoption of a European Plan of Action -Seabirds.


For earlier ACAP news items reporting efforts directed at the European Commission to adopt a seabird plan of action follow the thread backwards from


Meanwhile in the southern hemisphere, news of the presence and likely effects of rats on a huge breeding population of Sooty Shearwaters P. griseus on a Chilean island may be read at


John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 11 June 2009

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

About ACAP

ACAP Secretariat

119 Macquarie St
Hobart TAS 7000

Tel: +61 3 6165 6674