The Fourth Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee was opened on Friday 22 August 2008 at the Erinvale Estate Hotel and Spa in Somerset West, South Africa by Dr Johann Augustyn, Chief Director: Research, Antarctica and Islands of South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism on behalf of the Ms Nosipho Ncgaba, the department’s Director General.
In his opening remarks, Dr Augustyn referred to the large and important populations of albatrosses and petrels at its sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands, which hold 44% of the world population of the Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans, as well as to the important feeding grounds for albatrosses and petrels in South African waters. Dr Augustyn noted that South Africa had hosted the negotiation meeting at which the text of th Agreement was finalized.
An important announcement made at the Opening Session was that South Africa had adopted its National Plan of Action for Reducing the Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries. Copies of the document were then made available to delegates. South Africa’s NPOA-Seabirds also covers trawl fisheries. Also launched at the Opening Session was a report by WWF South Africa, entitled “Understanding and mitigating vulnerable bycatch in southern African trawl and longline fisheries”.
The Chair of the Advisory Committee, Dr Marco Favero of Argentina thanked Dr Augustyn for opening the Fourth Session of the ACAP Advisory Committee, and South Africa for hosting the meeting, and as a small token of appreciation, presented him with an ACAP fleece beanie to wear on his next trip to sea.
During the first day, the Advisory Committee heard reports from the Interim Secretariat, and from the Convenors of its Status and Trends and Breeding Sites Working Groups, which had met in Hermanus prior to the meeting, as well as from the Convenor of the Taxonomy Working Group. Discussion was also held on the listing of new species within the Agreement, notably the three North Pacific albatross species, for which presentations were made by the USA, attending the meeting as a range state.
Following the closure of the day’s meeting, delegates were treated to a dinner by the host country at Moyo, an Africa-themed restaurant on the nearby Spier Wine Estate, with good food and live entertainment.
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, posted 23 August 2008, updated 24 August 2008