Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

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Researching Black-browed Albatrosses on the South Atlantic’s New Island with a World Albatross Day banner

New Island Martin Beal 1 

From left at back: Aude Boutet, Jaime Catry, Paulo Catry; at front: Tash Gillies, Amanda Kuepfer, Martin Beal, Francesco Venture & Lisa Gouck in the 'The Bowl' colony

This last austral summer a research group led by the Atlantic Migrants Group based at MARE-ISPA in Portugal travelled to New Island, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)* to undertake research on breeding Black-browed Albatrosses Thalassarche melanophris.

New Island was first established as a private nature reserve in 1972.  The island is owned and managed by the New Island Conservation Trust.

Led by MARE-ISPA’s Paulo Catry, albatross research conducted on New Island included annual population monitoring for long-term demographic studies, tracking of breeding birds for foraging studies, and observational work looking at pair-bonding behaviour within the colony.  Colleagues from the Oxford Navigation Group, Oxford University and from elsewhere contributed to the field work.  Two members of the field team, Martin Beal and Amanda Kuepfer, found time to make a World Albatross Day banner, using a wooden board and marker pens.  Not to be outdone, Aude Boutet made an ‘Albatross Christmas Tree’, which was first used for the team’s Christmas celebrations.

New Island Martin Beal 2

From left:  Tash Gillies, Francesco Ventura, Martin Beal, Jaime Catry, Paulo Catry, Brendon Lee; in front: Amanda Kuepfer & Aude Boutet

In addition to the albatross work by MARE-ISPA, other researchers present on the island monitored populations of Thin-billed Prions Pachyptila belcheri, Southern Rockhopper Penguins Eudyptes chrysocome and Imperial Cormorants Phalacrocorax atriceps.  One of the last WAD2020 banner photos to be submitted, Martin informs ACAP Latest News that the researchers were fortunate to get back to their respective homes before international travel restrictions due to COVID-19 kicked in.

With thanks to Martin Beal & Paulo Catry, MARE-ISPA.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 30 May 2020

*A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Georgias del Sur y Islas Sandwich del Sur) and the surrounding maritime areas.

A new World Albatross Day banner from Bird Island in the South Atlantic

IMG 3213 resized Alex Dodds 1

Alex Dodds with her WAD2020 Banner and downy Wandering Albatross chicks on Bird Island

Bird Island in the South Atlantic has already contributed twice to the ‘banner challenge’ issued by ACAP to support the inaugural World Albatross Day on 19 June (click here).  Come a new research team and a new breeding season on the island and Zoological Field Assistant Alex Dodds has made a new WAD2020 banner and ventured afield for a few more photographs.

BirdLife International’s Albatross Task Force has commented on Alex’s field work:

“Alex Dodds is well accustomed to the hiking life as she spends each day trekking across the rugged terrain of Bird Island … conducting fieldwork.  With mostly just the albies for company, Alex’s days are marked by the changes in her surroundings: the depth of footprints in the snow, the fog that hangs over the water, the early morning sun on the horizon and the iconic mountain tops rising steeply from the sea, covered in a fresh dusting of powdery snow.”

 IMG 3201 resized Alex Dodds

Social media star chick Nova marks this month’s inaugural World Albatross Day

“Alex covers on average three miles [5 km] every single day, including at least 200 metres of ascent!  This totals a whopping 91 miles [146 km] a month and over 1000 miles [1600 km] a year! There are not many paths on Bird Island so she has to hike up streams, jump between huge tussac grass mounds and dodge bogs along the way.”

Alex’s efforts in support of albatross conservation will now be entered into the ‘WAD2020 Banner Competition’ with the chance of winning a prize.  Best of luck!

 Alex Dodds footprints

Both field assistant and albatross leave their footprints in the snow

With thanks to Alexandra Dodds, Zoological Field Assistant – Albatross, Bird Island Research Station, British Antarctic Survey.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 29 May 2020

CODEFF, BirdLife in Chile, joins with other South American NGOs in offering its support for World Albatross Day 2020

Texto en español más abajo36CODEFF logo

CODEFF (Comité Nacional Pro Defensa de la Flora y Fauna) is the oldest environmental NGO in Chile and is a national affiliate of BirdLife International.  It was founded on 23 October 1968, based on the commitment of people with diverse activities in the Chilean society who raised the alarm to protect Chile's environment.  CODEFF's vision is that the organization generates environmental awareness and responsibility for conserving nature by all citizens and their forms of community organizations, which are actors in the protection, defense and sustainable management of the natural ecosystems of Chile.

For more than half a century, CODEFF has presented a diverse trajectory of citizen action aimed at protecting Chile's environmental heritage, through tools such as environmental education, active citizen participation, the generation of evidence from research, and the management of protected areas.

Some of the milestones in CODEFF's history follow:

1975, Participated in achieving Chile's commitment to ratify the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

1983, National and international campaign that ends commercial whaling in Chile with the commercial whaling moratorium in 1985.

1992, Creation of the first Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (Centro de rehabilitación de fauna silvestre del Chile), in Chile in collaboration with the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) Chilean Government.

CODEFF is currently involved in conservation projects, including environmental education, coastal wetlands and the conservation of threatened species, such as the globally Vulnerable Humboldt Penguin Spheniscus humboldti in central Chile.

CODEFF volunteers have contributed to albatross and petrel conservation by helping BirdLife’s Albatross Task Force in Chile (ATF-Chile) construct bird-scaring lines for use on trawlers.

In the conservation of albatrosses and petrels, CODEFF as a BirdLife affiliate manages the Albatross Task Force project in Chile, which was previously installed in 2007 in Chilean waters.  On this trip, ATF-Chile has worked onboard small-scale and industrial fisheries where CODEFF has included the support by volunteers to build bird-scaring lines to demonstrate the role of mitigation along the coasts of Chile.  ATF-Chile has also come aboard (literally) by taking a World Albatross Day banner out to sea on a fishing vessel along with the bird-scaring lines (click here).



 CODEFF volunteers help ATF-Chile construct bird-scaring lines

For this reason, the celebration of World Albatross Day is not far from the history of CODEFF.  Ximena Salinas, President of CODEFF, highlights: “In its 51 years of history, CODEFF's mission has been the protection and defense of the valuable terrestrial and marine natural ecosystems.  An example of this are the historical campaigns that we have promoted for the protection of our native forests, the protection of Lake Chungará in the Andean Plateau, the end of whaling in our waters and the declaration of Patagonia as a World Heritage site, among many others.

Ximena Salinas Codeff President shrunk

Ximena Salinas, President of CODEFF

Today, for CODEFF to carry out this important work to protect iconic species such as albatrosses and other seabirds in a country that has an immense coastline and important fishing activity, it is crucial for us to contribute to its conservation. Sharing and sensitizing the various sectors involved in the conservation of seabirds such as the albatrosses is our main focus. For this reason, CODEFF supports World Albatross Day 2020”.

Cristián G. Suazo, Albatross Task Force-Chile, BirdLife International-CODEFF, 28 May 2020


With this welcome support CODEFF joins other BirdLife national partners based in countries that are Parties to the Agreement that have offered their support for ‘WAD2020’. 

Support for WAD2020 in Chile has also come from another environmental NGO, Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile (ROC) that conducts surveys of desert-breeding storm petrels (click here).

In addition, the international environmental NGO Oikonos works to save the ACAP-listed and globally Vulnerable Pink-footed Shearwater Ardenna creatopus – which is endemic to Chile (click here).

Chile became a Party to ACAP in 2005 and takes an active role at ACAP meetings.  It is one of six South American countries that are ACAP Parties, the others being Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay (click here).


CODEFF, partner de BirdLife International en Chile a bordo del Día Mundial de Los Albatros 2020


CODEFF (Comité Nacional Pro Defensa de la Flora y Fauna), es la ONG ambiental más antigua de Chile. Fue fundada el 23 de octubre de 1968, a partir del compromiso de personas con diversas actividades en la sociedad, quienes presentaron la voz de alarma para proteger el medio ambiente de Chile.

La visión de CODEFF espera que esta sea una organización que genere conciencia ambiental y responsabilidad por conservar la naturaleza por parte de todos los ciudadanos y sus formas de organización comunitaria, los cuales sean actores de la protección, defensa y gestión sostenible de los ecosistemas naturales de Chile. 

Es así, que desde ya más de medio siglo, CODEFF ha presentado una diversa trayectoria de acción ciudadana destinada a proteger el patrimonio medioambiental de Chile, a través de herramientas como educación ambiental, la activa participación ciudadana, la generación de evidencia desde la investigación y el manejo de áreas protegidas.

Algunos de los hitos en la historia de CODEFF:

1975, Participar en lograr el compromiso de Chile para ratificar la Convención sobre el Comercio Internacional de Especies Amenazadas de Fauna y Flora Silvestres (CITES).

1983, Campaña nacional e internacional que pone fin a caza de ballenas en Chile con la moratoria de la caza comercial de ballenas el año 1985.

1992, Creación del primer Centro de rehabilitación de fauna silvestre del Chile, en colaboración con el Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero (SAG), Gobierno de Chile.

En la actualidad, CODEFF está involucrado en proyectos de conservación, incluyendo educación ambiental, humedales costeros y la conservación de especies amenazadas del mar de Chile, tal como el pingüino de Humboldt Spheniscus humboldti en la zona central de Chile.

En la conservación de albatros y petreles, CODEFF representando a BirdLife International administra el proyecto Albatross Task Force, el cual fue instalado previamente el año 2007 en aguas de Chile. En este viaje, ATF-Chile ha trabajado a bordo de pesquerías de pequeña escala e industriales, donde CODEFF ha incluido el apoyo de voluntarios para construir líneas espantapájaros para luego demostrar el rol de mitigación en las costas de Chile . CODEFF BSL


Voluntarios construyendo líneas espantapájaros junto a ATF-Chile

Por esto, la celebración del día mundial de los albatros no es ajena a la historia de CODEFF. Ximena Salinas, presidenta de CODEFF, destaca: “En sus 51 años de trayectoria, la misión de CODEFF ha sido la protección y defensa de los valiosos ecosistemas naturales terrestres y marinos. Un ejemplo de ello, son las campañas históricas que hemos impulsado para la protección de los bosques nativos, la protección del Lago Chungará en el altiplano Andino, la eliminación de la caza de ballenas y declaración de la Patagonia como patrimonio de la humanidad, entre tantas otras.

Ximena Salinas Codeff President shrunk

Ximena Salinas, presidenta de CODEFF

Hoy, para CODEFF realizar este importante trabajo de protección de especies icónicas como los albatros y otras aves marinas en un país que tiene una inmensa costa e importante actividad pesquera, es crucial para nosotros aportar a su conservación.

Compartir y sensibilizar a los diversos sectores involucrados en la conservación de aves marinas como los albatros, es nuestro principal foco, porque claramente quien conoce, valora y protege. Es por esto, que desde Chile, CODEFF está junto al Día Mundial de Los Albatros 2020.”

Cristián G. Suazo, Albatross Task Force-Chile, BirdLife International-CODEFF, 28 de Mayo, 2020

Kauaʻi Endangered Seabird Recovery Project to celebrate World Albatross Day next month


The Kauaʻi Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP) is a State of Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife project, administered through the Pacific Studies Co-operative Unit of the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi.

Formed in 2006, the project focuses primarily on two Hawaii Islands-endemic seabirds on the island of Kauaʻi – Newell’s Shearwater Puffinus newelli (Critically Endangered) and Hawaiian Petrel Pterodroma sandwichensis (Endangered) – and one native locally threatened species, the Band-rumped Storm Petrel Hydrobates castro (Least Concern).  Work involves identifying the breeding distribution of these rare and enigmatic seabirds, monitoring their breeding colonies, undertaking research projects to understand better their life histories and the various threats they face, and working with partner projects and organizations to ensure their long-term conservation (click here).

ACAP Latest News has regularly reported on KESRP’s activities, including on its innovative approaches to combatting powerline collisions, light pollution, identifying breeding sites via auditory monitoring, monitoring management actions in colonies particularly focused on work against predation by feral cats, feral pigs and rats, and translocating chicks to protected sites (click here).

Andre Raine Newells chick shrunk

André Raine, holds up a Newell’s Shearwater chick

André Raine, KESRP Project Co-ordinator, writes to ACAP Latest News: “On Kaua'i, Laysan Albatrosses [Phoebastria immutabilis] are one of the most immediately familiar and accessible seabirds, with pairs even nesting in residential areas where their elaborate courtship displays captivate everyone who watches them.  This makes them fitting ambassadors for highlighting the conservation challenges of all the seabird species on our island, including the threat of introduced predators such as feral cats, pigs and dogs.  Celebrating World Albatross Day is a great way to pay homage to these magnificent and charismatic seabirds.”

With thanks to Dr André F. Raine, Project Co-ordinator, Kauaʻi Endangered Seabird Recovery Project.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 27 May 2020

Out of sight, out of notebook: estimating undetected seabird bycatch

Hooked!  Photograph by Graham Robertson

Can Zhou (Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia, USA) and colleagues have published in the journal Biological Conservation on assessing seabird bycatch loss rate variability in pelagic longline fisheries.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“The incidental mortality of seabirds from fisheries ranks as the greatest threat impacting seabirds globally.  However, its impact on seabird populations may have been substantially underestimated due to lost, undetected bycatch.  To estimate the full extent of the bycatch problem, knowledge about the magnitude and variability of lost bycatch is necessary.  Based on a long-term dataset, this study aims to facilitate the loss-corrected bycatch estimates for pelagic longline fisheries that do not have a concurrent bycatch loss observation component.  We analyze information from all types of fishery interactions of seabirds to improve the estimate of bycatch loss rate and also reveal its variability.  Specifically, we analyze how environmental and ecological factors affect seabird bycatch loss rate using Bayesian state-space models.  Results show strong species effects in the bycatch loss rate.  Inclement weather and strong competition among seabird species also affect bycatch loss rate.  Estimates of the species-specific bycatch loss rate indicate that, for some species, the loss can well exceed the average loss rate, suggesting that seabird bycatch loss cannot be further ignored in assessing the fishery impact on seabird populations.  To gauge the full scale of seabird bycatch, it is critical to account for this lost bycatch in bycatch assessments, at minimum, using an average loss rate with the ultimate goal of species-specific loss-corrected assessments.”

With thanks to Nigel Brothers.


Zhou, C., Brothers, N., Browder, J. & Jiao, Y. 2020.  Seabird bycatch loss rate variability in pelagic longline fisheries.  Biological Conservation

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 26 May 2020

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