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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A Black-browed Albatross is saved from entanglement with recreational fishing line

On 16 August 2019 on a ‘pelagic’ seabird watching trip out of Kiama, New South Wales, Australia by the Southern Oceans Seabird Study Association Inc. (SOSSA) with the Illawarra Birders, an adult Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris (Least Concern) was observed with recreational fishing line tangled around its head, along with a dangling broken hook.  SOSSA reports on its Facebook page:

“The bird was still looking healthy, as it could open its beak about half and feeding was still somewhat possible.  However, although it managed to pinch a big piece from the berley [ground-bait or chum], it was sad to see it couldn't open its beak enough to swallow it."

"We straightaway decided to target this bird for capture such that we could assess and hopefully help it.  As the bird was keen to feed behind the boat, we managed within 5 mins to capture it.  Upon close inspection, it turned out that the bird didn't have any obvious injuries, but the fishing line was stuck behind its head and in its beak.  After cutting the line and lifting a loop over the back of the head we could free to bird of this unwelcome baggage.  We subsequently seized the opportunity to give it back a piece of jewellery, but this time in the form of safely attached metal leg band.”

SOSSA thanks Graham Barwell and Martin Potter for their photographs.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 28 August 2019

Feeling a little puzzled? Get help from a pair of Laysan Albatrosses!

Caren Loebel-Fried, who lives on the ‘big island’ of Hawaii, is the author of A Perfect Day for an Albatross, a book about a Laysan Albatross for children, which has been reviewed by ACAP Latest News.

Caren has written recently to ACAP Latest News: “the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the New York Puzzle Company have been producing bird puzzles for years, so I was excited when they approached me about creating puzzles from two of my albatross images.  The puzzles include great information on the back of their boxes, helping spread knowledge about seabirds in a fun way.”

Two different illustrations printed and hand-coloured from linoleum blocks carved by Caren have been used to make the puzzles.  A pair of Laysan Albatrosses feature on the ‘adult’ 1000-piece puzzle entitled “Albatross Duo” (49 x 68 cm; US$ 19.95) which Caren describes “as challenging and fun”.  The original artwork was created by Caren for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to celebrate and support the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and the Battle of Midway National Memorial, and the deep Hawaiian roots throughout Papahanaumokuakea [Marine National Monument], the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands”.  A single bird appears on the 100-piece puzzle “Laysan Albatross Mini” (23 x 18 cm; US$ 9.95) taken from A Perfect Day for an Albatross.  It is aimed at children with a recommended age of 5+ years.

 Over the two decades or so ACAP’s Information Officer has collected all sorts of items of albatross memorabilia and merchandise (think T-shirts, beanies, caps, pens, lapel pins and badges, coffee mugs, shopping bags, and even an unopened bottle of Tassie Pinot Noir that commemorates the First Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement, held in Hobart in November 2004.  But he has never come across an albatross puzzle before.  He wants one!

With thanks to Caren Loebel-Fried.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 27 August 2019

ACAP announces its 2019 call for applications to undertake a secondment

The Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) is an inter-governmental Agreement that seeks to achieve and maintain a favourable conservation status for species listed under its Annex 1.

Applications are sought to undertake a secondment under the ACAP Secondment Programme for the purpose of building capacity within Parties, and as a means of achieving tasks within the current work programmes of the Advisory Committee (see Annex 4 AC11 Report) and Secretariat (see Annex 5 AC11 Report).

Funding is available for travel and living costs associated with secondees undertaking a placement at a host organisation, including the Agreement’s Secretariat in Hobart.


Entrance to the ACAP Secretariat's offices in Hobart, Australia, photograph by John Cooper

It is expected that the proposed secondment will meet the following criteria:

  1. The work to be undertaken addresses a task identified in the Advisory Committee’s or Secretariat’s Work Programme, and/or is deemed to be of high importance to achievement of the Agreement’s objective.
  2. The task proposed is international in nature (e.g. the outcomes will be of relevance to more than one country).
  3. The task to be undertaken has a capacity-building focus.
  4. The funds allocated will be primarily used for travel, accommodation and per diem costs. Funds will not be used for the purpose of paying salaries. It is expected that the applicant’s institution will continue to pay the applicant’s salary.
  5. The applicant has received in-principle agreement from the host organisation to host this work.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the relevant Working Group Convenor, the Advisory Committee Chair, Vice-chair, or the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss their proposal.  Secondment Application Forms are available in all three Agreement languages from this website (click here).

Applications will only be accepted from ACAP Parties.  Proposals are to be submitted by the relevant ACAP National Contact Points to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Applications must be received by the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by close of business on Friday, 1 November 2019.  Applicants will be advised of the outcome of their applications by Friday, 20 December 2019.

ACAP Secretariat, 26 August 2019

Big boys stay south: latitudinal non-breeding distribution of Antarctic Southern Giant Petrels

Lucas Krüger (Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, University of Coimbra, Portugal) and colleagues have published in the journal Antarctic Science on gender differences in distribution of non-breeding Southern Giant Petrels Macronectes giganteus tracked from the South Shetland Islands.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Literature reports that body size can be associated with latitudinal distribution, for instance larger animals inhabit higher latitudes and colder habitats.  This rule can be applied for species and populations within a species.  The potential influence of body size on non-breeding distribution and habitat use at the intra-population level was investigated for southern giant petrels Macronectes giganteus (Gmelin) from Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands.  The non-breeding distribution of 23 individuals was tracked, and total body length, culmen length, wing length, wing load and body mass were measured.  Positions of core areas were used to estimate the latitudinal distribution of each individual.  Smaller individuals were found to be associated more with lower latitudes, where warmer conditions and more coastal and productive waters prevail, whereas large males were associated more with higher latitudes, with colder conditions near sea ice caps, presumably feeding on carrion or preying on penguins.  This association reflects a latitudinal gradient, with smaller individuals positioning themselves towards the north, and larger individuals towards the south.  In this case, body size, individual distribution and habitat use were found to be associated, highlighting the importance of studying potential effects of individual body size on the ecology of seabirds.”


White-phase Southern Giant Petrel on the snow, photograph by Michael Dunn


Krüger, L., Paiva, V.H., Finger, J,V.G. & Petersen, E. 2018.  Intra-population variability of the non-breeding distribution of southern giant petrels Macronectes giganteus is mediated by individual body size.  Antarctic Science 30: 271-277.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 23 August 2019

Restoring bird populations, Nottingham, UK, April 2020: call for papers

“Restoring bird populations: scaling from species to ecosystems” is a conference that will be held in Nottingham, UK over 7-9 April 2020, organized by the British Ornithologists' Union.

“This landmark international conference will bring together the latest science underpinning the restoration of bird species and their ecosystems, focusing on successes, challenges and future directions.  This 2020 event coincides with a milestone year for assessing Aichi targets for biodiversity conservation, and comes on the eve of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration that will run from 2021-2030.  It will be of broad interest to conservation-, population- and community-ecologists, practitioners and policy makers.”

Read more here on submitting abstracts (deadlines in September) and keynote speakers.

Restoring island seabird populations by eradicating invasive rodents: a helicopter moves poison bait from ship to shore

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 22 August 2019

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