Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

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BirdLife International’s Marine Programme and the Association of Industrial Fisheries of Chile sign a cooperation agreement to reduce seabird bycatch

Chile is a key country for seabird conservation globally.  Its nutrient-rich waters are home to important albatross, petrel and shearwater breeding colonies, as well as foraging areas for seabirds of conservation concern from other parts of the Pacific Ocean.  The Humboldt Current System off the coast of Chile is also host to important artisanal and industrial fisheries, including purse-seine fleets targeting forage fish and trawl fleets targeting Chilean Hake Merluccius gayi and Hoki Macruronus magellanicus.

Since the inception of the Albatross Task Force in Chile in 2007, BirdLife International’s Marine Programme (BIMP) and CODEFF – Chile (Comité Pro-Defensa de la Flora Y Fauna) have supported a dedicated team of bycatch mitigation experts with the aim of demonstrating how to reduce seabird bycatch on board fishing vessels.

Among the most bycaught seabirds in Chile are ACAP-listed species such as the Black-browed Thalassarche melanophris and Vulnerable Salvin’s T. salvini Albatrosses (in trawl fleets) and the Vulnerable Pink-footed Shearwater Ardenna creatopus, a Chilean breeding endemic, in purse-seine fisheries.  The list also includes other species with decreasing populations, such as the Near Threatened Sooty Shearwater A. grisea (click here).

Over the years, new bridges have been built between the Albatross Task Force in Chile and the fishing industry. This has been made possible thanks to the collaboration of the Association of Industrial Fisheries of Chile (La Asociación de Industriales Pesqueros, ASIPES), made up of six purse-seine and trawl companies with c. 6500 employees in one of the largest fishing regions in south-central Chile.

This ongoing collaboration has culminated in BIMP and ASIPES signing a cooperation agreement this month, aimed at promoting and implementing the use of seabird bycatch mitigation measures in the fleets that fall under ASIPES, as well as training fishing crews in best practices on land and at sea, including waste management, safely handling and rescuing seabirds, and avoiding fishing gear discards, amongst others.

 

 Esteban Frere (BirdLife International Marine Programme) and Macarena Cepeda, President, ASIPES sign the agreement, photographs by Jose Luis Saavreda

"...This is the first agreement of its kind between a productive fishing association and this type of organization to encourage the implementation of best practices on board..." (Macarena Cepeda, President, ASIPES)

"...This agreement is very important, as it seeks [to expand] the joint work between an NGO and the fishing industry towards finding best practices..." (Esteban Frere, BirdLife International Marine Programme).

“…It is an important advance, since this collaboration is aligned with the requirements of SERNAPESCA [Servicio Nacional de Pesca y Acuicultura, Chile] to reduce discards and bycatch.  This allows us to have more environmentally-friendly fisheries...” (Claudio Báez, Director, National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service, SERNAPESCA-Biobío).

The commitments outlined in the cooperation agreement encompass a wide range of ideas and activities to support the use of best practices in these fisheries in the long-term.  The first step was the recognition of the seabird bycatch problem in fisheries.  Moving forward, there is now an opportunity to identify alternatives and reduce our impacts on seabird populations through this inclusive and collaborative initiative.

Read an account of the signing of the cooperation agreement in Spanish here.

Cristián G. Suazo, Albatross Task Force – Chile, BirdLife International, 30 August 2019

“An urgent and continuing conservation crisis for albatrosses and petrels”: report of the Eleventh Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee now available in English, French and Spanish

The Eleventh Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee (AC11) was held from 13 to 17 May 2019 in Florianópolis, Brazil.  At the meeting an urgent and continuing conservation crisis for albatrosses and petrels was identified.  “Thousands of albatrosses and petrels are continuing to die every year as a result of fisheries operations, notably by longline and trawl vessels.  Despite efforts that have been put into researching and recommending effective mitigation measures to address seabird bycatch in fisheries by ACAP and other bodies, in many instances these were not being implemented or were not being fully implemented (click here)”.

Following a careful process of translating, editing and approval by Parties, the official report of the four-day meeting is now available in the three ACAP languages of English, French and Spanish on this web site.

Delegates at the opening of the Eleventh Meeting of the Advisory Committee with Marília Guimarães Marini, Head of the Department of Conservation and Species Management, Ministry of the Environment of Brazil (Diretora do Departamento de Conservação e Manejo de Espécies do Ministério do Meio Ambiente do Brasil) in Florianópolis, Brazil,13  May 2019

Photograph by John Cooper

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 29 August 2019

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 Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. 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 Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser..

Applications must be received by the Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. 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

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