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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Job opportunity with the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources for a Fishery Monitoring and Compliance Manager

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), an intergovernmental organisation based in Hobart, Australia, invites applications for the position of Fishery Monitoring and Compliance Manager.

 

“This is a leadership position in the CCAMLR Secretariat, taking responsibility for the delivery of fishery monitoring and compliance work remitted to the Secretariat in respect of all fisheries operating in the CCAMLR Convention Area.  Accountable directly to the Executive Secretary, you will work with your team and with Members throughout the year to ensure that CCAMLR fisheries are conducted in compliance with conservation measures and are managed within the catch limits set by the Commission.  The post is also responsible for the management of the trade-based Catch Document Scheme for toothfish and liaison with Contracting Parties and non-Contracting Parties to ensure its effective implementation.”

Applications (from nationals of CCAMLR Member countries only) must be submitted by 6 December 2019.

Read more details here:

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 17 November 2019

UPDATED. Antipodean Albatross proposed for Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species

UPDATE:

The Sessional Committee of the Scientific Council (ScC-SC4) of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) has endorsed the proposal of New Zealand, Australia and Chile to list the Antipodean Albatross Diomedea antipodensis on Appendix 1 of the Convention. A proposal for Concerted Action on this species was also endorsed by the ScC-SC.  Both the proposals for listing (UNEP/CMS/COP13/Doc.27.1.7) and for Concerted Action (UNEP/CMS/COP13/Doc.28.2.12) will now be considered by COP13, to be held in India in February 2020.

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The Fourth Meeting of the Sessional Committee of the Scientific Council (ScC-SC4) of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) will be held from 12 to 15 November 2019 at the UNEP/CMS Secretariat premises in Bonn, Germany.

“ScC-SC4 being the last meeting of the Scientific Council before the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS (COP13), its main objective will be to provide advice on scientific and technical matters to the COP”.  The 13th Meeting will be held in Gandhinagar, India over 17 - 22 February 2020.

The Governments of New Zealand, Australia and Chile have submitted a proposal (UNEP/CMS/COP13/Doc.27.1.7; also available in French and Spanish) to COP13 for the inclusion of the ACAP-listed and globally Endangered Antipodean Albatross Diomedea antipodensis on Appendix I of the CMS.  The species is a breeding endemic of New Zealand but migrates outside the breeding season to the waters of both Australia and Chile.  The proposal will be first considered at ScC-SC4 so that a recommendation on the species’ inclusion can be made at COP13.  It describes four major threats faced by the two recognized subspecies of the albatross.  These are given in order of importance as fisheries bycatch, predation by introduced mammals, plastic pollution, and climate change.  The proposal considers the sudden and rapid population decline of the Antipodean Albatross since 2004 as unprecedented amongst the world’s 22 species of albatrosses.  An Appendix I listing is therefore considered justified to raise the level of concern and international awareness of the plight of the species.

An Antipodean Albatross pair on Antipodes Island, photograph by Erica Sommer

The species is currently identified as a species of special concern by ACAP.  It is already listed on Appendix II of CMS.  Appendix I status, if approved for a Concerted Action in India in February at COP13 has the following required actions as set out in the Convention Text:

“Parties that are Range States of a migratory species listed in Appendix I shall endeavour:

  1. a) to conserve and, where feasible and appropriate, restore those habitats of the species which are of importance in removing the species from danger of extinction;
  2. b) to prevent, remove, compensate for or minimize, as appropriate, the adverse effects of activities or obstacles that seriously impede or prevent the migration of the species; and
  3. c) to the extent feasible and appropriate, to prevent, reduce or control factors that are endangering or are likely to further endanger the species, including strictly controlling the introduction of, or controlling or eliminating, already introduced exotic species.”

Anticipated benefits of Appendix I listing include increased cooperation between Range States, Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), ACAP, non-governmental organisations and other concerned parties to improve the uptake and effectiveness of bycatch mitigation use, including compliance monitoring and bycatch data collection, and to reduce the capture of Antipodean Albatrosses in longline fisheries.  “It may also incentivise development of advocacy and educational material to fishers and fishing companies about the threat status of this bird.  These measures should assist in reducing the high mortality rate currently driving the decline of the species.  In particular, bycatch reduction over the foraging range of female Diomedea antipodensis antipodensis will address the most urgent conservation issue regarding the extremely high mortality rate amongst these birds.” [adapted from UNEP/CMS/COP13/Doc.27.1.7].

With thanks to Barry Baker.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 06 November 2019, updated 16 November 2019

The 7th North American Ornithological Conference is to be held in the Caribbean next August

The 7th North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC2020) will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico over 10-15 August 2020 with the theme “Flight paths addressing global change”.

 “We seek a suite of thematic sessions at NAOC2020 that will cover a wide range of timely topics highlighting exciting advances in ornithological research, management, education, and conservation.”

The submission deadline for suggestions for Symposia, Round Table Discussions and Workshops & Training Opportunities is 01 December.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 16 November 2019

Breakfast in bed: an incubating Northern Giant Petrel feeds on a Salvin's Prion at Marion Island

Chris Jones (FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, South Africa) and colleagues have published a short note in the journal Antarctic Science on what appears to be the first record of a procellariiform seabird feeding on a prey item at its nest whilst still incubating.

An extract from the short note follows:

“Pelagic seabirds often nest on islands that are far from productive foraging areas.  The Procellariiformes (petrels, shearwaters and albatrosses) are among the longest-ranging seabirds; they have several adaptations that permit them to efficiently utilize distant foraging areas and fast for long periods during incubation (Phillips & Hamer 1999).  Giant petrels (Macronectes spp.) are large surface-nesting procellariiforms.  They feed both by direct predation and by scavenging carrion, and they are the largest avian predator-scavengers in the Southern Ocean. Among procellariiform seabirds, one partner forages while their mate remains on the nest to incubate their single egg (Warham 1990).  Northern giant petrels (Macronectes halli) have incubation shifts lasting up to 17 days (Cooper et al. 2001). In general, incubating procellariiform seabirds do not feed during their shift (Warham 1990). We report the first case to our knowledge of a procellariiform seabird, a northern giant petrel, actively feeding at its nest whilst incubating.

 

An incubating Northern Giant Petrel feeds on a Salvin's Prion on Marion Island, photograph from Chris Jones

The note is dedicated to the memory of David Walton, Antarctic Science’s inaugural and long-standing Chief Editor, who passed away suddenly on 12 February 2019 at the age of 73 (click here).

Reference:

Jones, C.W., Risi, M.M. & Cooper, J. 2019.  An incubating northern giant petrel actively feeds on a Salvin's prion.  Antarctic Science doi:10.1017/S0954102019000415.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 15 November 2019

UPDATED. George and Geraldine are back! Midway’s Short-tailed Albatross pair return for a new breeding season

UPDATE:

As of 13 November, Midway's Short-tailed Albatross pair is incubating a new egg.

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On 23 October this year two globally Vulnerable Short-tailed Albatrosses Phoebastria albatrus were seen back on Midway Atoll in the North Pacific.  The pair, named George and Geraldine, bred on Midway’s Sand Island for the first time in the previous (2018/19) season.

“George, the male of the pair, a bird in adult plumage, has been visiting Midway Atoll since November 2006 (when known as “Lonesome George”).  He hatched from the colony on Japan’s Torishima in 2003 and was banded there as a chick.  Geraldine, an assumed younger bird, is still in sub-adult plumage and is suspected to be an individual that was banded on Torishima in April 2008.  She was first observed on Sand Island in early 2012.  The two birds were first seen together on the island in late 2016” (click here).  This first breeding attempt is considered to have be successful; the downy chick being banded in May (click here).

Geraldine (left) and George on Sand Island, Midway Atoll in 2018, photograph by Madalyn Riley

Watch a video clip by Joey Latsha of the male George ashore.

“Previously, a different pair of Short-tailed Albatrosses has bred successfully three times in four years on Midway's Eastern Island within the atoll, fledging several chicks, the last one in 2014” (click here).

Read more about the two Short-tailed Albatrosses previous activities on Midway here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 07 November 2019

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