Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

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Read about recent developments and findings in procellariiform science and conservation relevant to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels in ACAP Latest News.

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The Eleventh Chilean Ornithological Congress heard about the Pink-footed Shearwater - an ACAP candidate species – last week

The Eleventh Chilean Ornithological Congress (XI Congreso Chileno de Ornitología) was held last week in La Serena, Chile.  At the congress a number of papers was given on the Vulnerable Pink-footed Shearwater Puffinus creatopus (a candidate for listing within the Agreement) as well as on aspects of seabird mortality and mitigation in Chilean fisheries.

Pink-footed Shearwater, photograph by Peter Hodum

The papers follow by authors and title:

Luis Adasme & Jorge Azocar.  Implementación de un programa de observación cientifica en las pesquerías demensales zona sur austral: problemas, soluciones y desafíos con aves marinas.

Marcelo Garcia Alvarado.  Convenios internacionales y reducción de la captura incidental de aves marinas en Chile.

Peter Hodum, Erin Hagen, Valentina Colodro & Verónica López.  Estado y conservación de las aves marinas del Archipiélago Juan Fernández. [Pink-footed Shearwater breeding site]

Jeffrey Mangel, Josh Adams, Joanna Alfaro-Shigueto, Peter Hodum, David Hyrenbach, Valentina Colodro, Paola Palavecino, Miguel Donoso & Verónica López.  Las implicaciones de conservación de los movimientos de la fardela blanca (Puffinus creatopus) e interacciones con pesquerías en Sudamérica evaluadas usando múltiples métodos.

Graham Robertson, Carlos Moreno, Javier A. Arata, Steven G. Candy, Kieran Lawton, Jose Valencia, Barbara Wienecke, Roger Kirkwood, Phil Taylor & Cristián G. Suazo.  Incremento de los números del Albatros de Ceja Negra en Chile en respuesta a la reducción de mortalidad en pesquerías.

Alejandro Simeone & Luis A. Cabezas.  Tendencias numéricas de Fardelas (Puffinus spp.) frente a Valparaíso: un panorama cuesta abajo.

Cristián G. Suazo, Luis A. Cabezas, Carlos A. Moreno, Javier A. Arata, Guillermo Luna-Jorquera, Alejandro Simeone, Luis Adasme, Jorge Azócar, Marcelo García, Oliver Yates & Graham Robertson.  La captura incidental de aves marinas en Chile: una síntesis de sus impactos y una revisión de las estrategias para contribuir a la reducción de un fenómeno global.

Oliver Yates, Cristian G. Suazo, Luis Adasme, Jorge Azocar, Marcelo Garcia Alvarado & Graham Robertson.  Captura incidental de aves marinas en las pesquerias chilenas: soluciones para una pesca sustentable.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 25 October 2014

Facing into the wind: the complicated fate of the Laysan Albatross. An illustrated account by Hugh Powell

Hugh Powell has authored an article on the Near Threatened Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis in the 2014 Summer Edition of the magazine Living Bird, published by the USA's Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The illustrated article, also available open-access online, describes the past and current conservation status of the Laysan Albatross and gives information on “How You Can Help”.  This section gives links to websites, covering such matters as recycling plastic items, asking for sustainable seafood in restaurants, visiting a breeding colony or watching albatrosses at sea, reading a children’s book on albatrosses [click here for ACAP’s list] and supporting ACAP (which is described as a “landmark effort [which] coordinates much-needed international collaborations to conserve 30 seabird species”).

A Laysan Albatross tends its chick on Midway Atoll, photograph by Pete Leary

The article ends:

“This is where I take inspiration from the albatross, which shows such grace in its mastery of the elements.  Each time we have attempted to address a problem, they have met us halfway.  I stood above the surf at Kilauea Point and watched albatross A081 peeling ribbons off the wind.  Its long, stiff wings curved like blades of grass, and every swoop and rise was the result of imperceptible motions of its wing tips.  This is a bird for which storms are opportunity and still air is an obstruction, I thought.  There is no serenity as absolute as an albatross facing into the wind.”

With thanks to Ed Melvin and Hugh Powell for information.


Powell, H. 2014.  Facing into the wind: the complicated fate of the Laysan Albatross.  Living Bird 33(3): 20-29.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 24 October 2014

Night strikes on a Tristan Rock Lobster fishing vessel do not impact on ACAP-listed petrels

James Glass (Tristan Fisheries Department, Tristan da Cunha, South Atlantic Ocean) and Peter Ryan (FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa) published last year in the African Journal of Marine Science on seabirds coming aboard a rock lobster vessel at night in the waters of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic.  Of ACAP-listed species occurring in Tristan waters only three Spectacled Petrels Procellaria conspicillata were recorded aboard and none died over a three-year period.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“The main impact of the fishery for Tristan rock lobster Jasus tristani on seabirds at the Tristan archipelago and Gough Island is through night strikes, when petrels collide with a ship after being disorientated by its lights.  Tristan fishery observers have kept records of night strikes on the MV Edinburgh since the 2010/2011 fishing season. Over the last three years, 723 seabirds from nine species were recorded coming aboard the fishing vessel, with at least 39 (5.4%) birds dying as a result. Birds killed were broad-billed prions Pachyptila vittata (41%), common diving petrels Pelecanoides urinatrix (23%), and storm petrels (Pelagodroma marina and Fregetta grallaria/tropica 36%).  All these species are listed as Least Concern globally, and the numbers killed per year are <0.1% of the island populations.  The captain and crew of the Edinburgh are aware of the problem posed by deck lights at night, and attempt to keep external lighting to a minimum.  As a result, the numbers of birds coming aboard vessels in this fishery have decreased from an average of 130 birds per night in 1989 to less than two birds per night in 2010–2013.  Currently, most incidents occur during exceptional events when circumstances require deck lights to be lit at night.  Consideration should be given to banning fishing operations at night, at least on misty nights.”

Spectacled Petrel, photograph by Ross Wanless


Glass, J.P. & Ryan, P.G. 2013.  Reduced seabird night strikes and mortality in the Tristan rock lobster fishery.  African Journal of Marine Science 35: 589-592.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 23 October 2014

Concern expressed over the conservation status of New Zealand’s Black Petrel

Kate Waterhouse has provided an update on the conservation status of the ACAP-listed and Vulnerable Black Petrel Procellaria parkinsoni in the latest newsletter of the Great Barrier Environmental Trust.  The species breeds only on Great and Little Barrier Islands in New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf off North Island.  Both island populations are at risk to interactions with fisheries and only Little Barrier is free of introduced predators.

Black Petrel, photograph by David Boyle

A storm on Great Barrier earlier this year caused damage to the Black Petrel’s breeding sites on the island (click here).

Click here for an earlier article on the Black Petrel by Kate Waterhouse in Great Barrier Environmental Trust Environmental News.


Waterhouse, K. 2014.  Dive, dig, fly thousands of miles.  An update on our endangered Black Petrel.  Great Barrier Environmental Trust Environmental News 33: 14-17.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 22 October 2014

Report of the latest ACAP Advisory Committee meeting announces the Fifth Meeting of Parties will convene in Spain’s Canary Islands on Tenerife next May

The Eighth Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee was held in Punta del Este, Uruguay last month.  The meeting’s final report is now available on line (click here).

Ten of the 13 Parties to the Agreement attended the meeting, which was chaired by Marco Favero of Argentina.  In addition, three non-Party range states (Canada, Namibia and the United States of America) were present.  Four NGOs attended as observers.


Southern Royal Albatrosses on Enderby Island, photograph by Barry Baker

The Eighth Meeting of the Advisory Committee was informed that the Government of Spain has offered to host the Fifth Session of the ACAP Meeting of the Parties in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands over 4-8 May 2015.  This will be the first time that Spain will host a meeting of ACAP, when it will become the 12th Party to do so.

Reports of the meetings in Uruguay of the Advisory Committee’s Population and Conservation Status and Seabird Bycatch Working Groups were considered by the Advisory Committee.  They are available on line via the ACAP website’s home page.

Other news from the meeting is that the current Executive Secretary, Warren Papworth will retire at the end of next year, engendering the need to appoint a new person to the position.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 21 October 2014