Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Global review concludes Southern Ocean albatrosses and petrels require large marine protected areas for their conservation

Albatross Dimas Gianuca Silvia Abramant

Albatrosses at sunset, artwork by Silvia Abramant‎ from a photograph by Dimas Gianuca

William Sydeman (Farallon Institute, Petaluma, California, USA.) and many colleagues have published in the journal Science on a review of more than 50 years of breeding records for 67 seabird species worldwide.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Climate change and other human activities are causing profound effects on marine ecosystem productivity. We show that the breeding success of seabirds is tracking hemispheric differences in ocean warming and human impacts, with the strongest effects on fish-eating, surface-foraging species in the north. Hemispheric asymmetry suggests the need for ocean management at hemispheric scales. For the north, tactical, climate-based recovery plans for forage fish resources are needed to recover seabird breeding productivity. In the south, lower-magnitude change in seabird productivity presents opportunities for strategic management approaches such as large marine protected areas to sustain food webs and maintain predator productivity. Global monitoring of seabird productivity enables the detection of ecosystem change in remote regions and contributes to our understanding of marine climate impacts on ecosystems.”

Read a popular account on the publication..

With thanks to Janine Dunlop, Niven Librarian, FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town


Sydeman, W.J. et al. 2021.  Hemispheric asymmetry in ocean change and the productivity of ecosystem sentinels. Science 372 (6545), 980-983John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 08 June 2021