Canada proposes a management plan for the Black-footed Albatross

Environment Canada in cooperation with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia and in terms of the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARAhas released a proposed management plan for the Black-footed Albatross Phoebastria nigripes.

The plan’s Executive Summary follows:

“The Black-footed Albatross is a long-lived seabird that breeds mainly in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and occurs at sea off the Pacific Coast of Canada during the breeding and non-breeding seasons.  Significant numbers feed off the coast of British Columbia each year, including adults making long foraging trips to feed their young.  The population seems generally stable, but relatively high numbers are caught as bycatch in longline fisheries in the North Pacific.  Additionally, adults and immature birds are affected by the accumulation of toxic chemicals and heavy metals and by the ingestion of waste plastics from the surface of the sea when they are feeding.  Because of the unknown effect of these particular threats over the long term, the Black-footed Albatross has been listed as a species of Special Concern in Canada.  Emerging threats such as the potential loss of nesting and foraging habitat due to climate change also threaten this species.  The management objective for the Black-footed Albatross is to “ to increase global population numbers and maintain the population throughout its documented distribution in Canadian waters, by reducing at-sea mortality and otherwise augmenting international conservation efforts.”  The conservation of the Black-footed Albatross cannot succeed by Canadian efforts alone due to the wide-ranging marine nature and distant nesting habitats of this species.  Actions already underway include long-term at-sea surveys that record Black-footed Albatross distribution and abundance in Canada, and assessments of longline bycatch mortality in Canadian Pacific waters, including monitoring of current bycatch levels.  Bycatch mitigation measures have been implemented in the target fishing fleet, but monitoring for compliance and effectiveness is limited and should be increased.  Strategies and measures to achieve the management objectives are presented in the section entitled Broad Strategies and Conservation Measures.”

Black-footed Albatross, photograph by Cynthia Vanderlip

The management plan is now open for a 60-day comment period (ending 27 April), following which a final version will be produced and published.

With thanks to Ken Morgan for information.


Environment Canada. 2015. Management Plan for the Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) in Canada [Proposed].  Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series.  Ottawa: Environment Canada.  iv+ 30 pp.

Click here for a French-Language version of the plan.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 01 March 2015

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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