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UPDATED South Africa joins USA. Progress with an international agreement to deter illegal fishing good for seabirds



ACAP-Party South Africa has now joined the USA in ratifying the Port State Measures Agreement (click here).  With 21 Parrties only four more are needed for the PSMA come ito force


Hooked Wanderer Bird Island s 

Removing a long line hook from a Wandering Albatross

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is believed to be a factor that results in increased mortality of seabirds at sea, given that it is unlikely that IUU long liners and trawlers will bother to adopt mitigation methods to reduce such mortality.  Any progress with deterring IUU fishing should therefore be good for ACAP-listed albatrosses and petrels. News is now in that the United States will join an international agreement to help deter IUU fishing.  

A precised report from the Natural Resources Policy & Practice project follows:

"US President Barack Obama has signed the instrument that will allow the US to join the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, following the passage by Congress of the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015 and bringing the US in line to become the 20th Party to the Agreement. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) Agreement aims to strengthen international efforts to address IUU fishing and to contribute to sustainable fisheries management and governance at all levels.

The Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) puts in place a series of measures to prevent vessels from landing IUU fish at ports and essentially removes the incentive to engage in IUU fishing by preventing fish caught by foreign vessels engaged in IUU fishing activities from entering international markets, according to FAO. Left unaddressed, IUU fishing drives overfishing, threatens marine ecosystems and food security, hinders sustainable fisheries management and results in significant economic losses."

The PSMA requires ratification from at least 25 countries to enter into force. In addition to the US, Australia, Chile, Costa Rica, the European Union (EU), Gabon, Iceland, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Palau, the Republic of Korea, the Seychelles, Somalia, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis and Uruguay have ratified the Agreement. Other countries that have signed, but not ratified, the Agreement include Angola, Benin, Brazil, Canada, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Peru, the Russian Federation, Samoa, Sierra Leone, and Turkey.

Note: The 10 countries in bold are Parties (out of 13) to the Agreement on Albatrosses and Petrels.  The European Union includes ACAP Parties France, Spain and the United Kingdom.  Canada and the USA are long-time, regular observers at ACAP meetings.

With thanks to Mark Tasker.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 22 February 2016, updated 23 February 2016

Upwind flight by dynamic soaring studied on free-flying Wandering Albatrosses

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Wandering Albatross at sea, photograph by John Chardine

Gottfried Sachs (Institute of Flight System Dynamics, Technische Universität München, Garching, Germany) has published in the journal Progress in Oceanography on upwind dynamic soaring measured on free-flying Wandering Albatrosses Diomedea exulans.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“In-flight measurement results on upwind flight of albatrosses using dynamic soaring are presented.  It is shown how the birds manage to make progress against the wind on the basis of small-scale dynamic soaring maneuvers.  For this purpose, trajectory features, motion quantities and mechanical energy relationships as well as force characteristics are analyzed.  The movement on a large-scale basis consists of a tacking type flight technique which is composed of dynamic soaring cycle sequences with alternating orientation to the left and right.  It is shown how this is performed by the birds so that they can achieve a net upwind flight without a transversal large-scale movement and how this compares with downwind or across wind flight.  Results on upwind dynamic soaring are presented for low and high wind speed cases.  It is quantified how much the tacking trajectory length is increased when compared with the beeline distance.  The presented results which are based on in-flight measurements of free flying albatrosses were achieved with an in-house developed GPS-signal tracking method yielding the required high precision for the small-scale dynamic soaring flight maneuvers.”


Sachs, G. 2016.  In-flight measurement of upwind dynamic soaring in albatrosses.  Progress in Oceanography 142: 47-57.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 19 February 2016

A satellite-tracked Tristan Albatross gets photographed at sea off South Africa

 In December last year six fledgling Tristan Albatrosses Diomedea dabbenena at Gough Island in the South Atlantic were fitted with satellite transmitters by field researchers Derren Fox and Chris Taylor.  Two of these juvenile birds have now been tracked into South African waters.

One (#153286) of these two juveniles was photographed earlier this month on 4 February at sea by Jean Purdon, a marine mammal observer on the survey vessel mv Atlantic Explorer, about 300 km offshore in the Outeniqua Basin on the edge of the Agulhas Bank in the Indian Ocean.  The position of the sighting matches nicely with the bird’s movements at the time based on its transmitter, allowing for a positive identification.  This young albatross has travelled over 10 000 km in the three months since it left the island.

The juvenile Tristan Albatross with its back-mounted satellite transmitter, photographs by Jean Purdon 


Tracking map courtesy of BirdLife Seabirds' Facebook page

The Tristan Albatross is a Critically Endangered species, which is near endemic to Gough Island.  Tracking the six birds continues, but one transmitter has been giving errors.

The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and the Charl van der Merwe Trust, through BirdLife International’s Preventing Extinctions Programme, funded the purchase and data transmission costs for the study.  In 2012, ACAP provided partial funding for the first year of the tracking work.  Thanks to Jean Purdon, Ross Wanless and Sarah Wilkinson for information.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 18 February 2016

Presentations on albatrosses and petrels at the Pacific Seabird Group’s 2016 meeting

The Pacific Seabird Group held its 43rd Annual Meeting at Turtle Bay, Oahu, Hawaii, USA last week.  The meeting’s abstract book reveals that a number of presentations dealt with ACAP-listed species - listed below by authors and titles.

Subjects covered included translocations of Laysan Phoebastria immutabilis and Short-tailed P. albatrus Albatrosses, predation by House Mice Mus musculus on Midway’s albatrosses, fisheries bycatch and habitat restoration.

Valentina Colodro, Peter Hodum, Christian Lopez, Paola Gonzalez & Hannah Nevins: Restoring critical breeding habitat of the globally Vulnerable Pink-footed Shearwater (Ardenna creatopus)
Tomohiro Deguchi, Fumio Sato, Masaki Eda, Hiroe Izumi, Hajime Suzuki, Robert Suryan, Ellen Lance, Hasegawa Hiroshi & Kiyoaki Ozaki:  Restoration of the Short-tailed Albatross colony in Ogasawara Islands using translocation and hand-rearing of chicks: short-term outcomes of post-release monitoring
Jane Dolliver, Robert Suryan, Christopher Noyles, Ellen Lance & Catherine Yeargan:  Using satellite imagery to count nesting Short-tailed Albatross
Meg Duhr-Schultz, Ann Humphrey, Beth Flint, David Dow, Allie Hunter & Thierry Work:  Invasive House Mouse predation on adult nesting albatrosses and subsequent nest abandonment and mortality on Sand Island, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge
Nobuhiro Katsumata: Experiment to develop the mitigation measures of seabirds for small longline vessels in the western North Pacific
John Klavitter, Greg Schubert, Pete Leary, Scott Hall, Susan Schulmeister, Meg Duhr-Schultz, Dan Clark, Bret Wolfe, Ann Humphrey & Eric Moore:  Invasive plant Verbesina encelioides management at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge: advancing toward eradication
Edward Melvin, William Asher, Esteban Fernandez-Juricic & Amy Lim: Results of initial trials to determine if laser light can prevent seabird bycatch in North Pacific fisheries
Julio Hernandez-Montoya, Luciana, Luna Mendoza, Alfonso Aguirre-Munoz, Marıa de los Angeles, Milanes Salinas, Yuliana Bedolla-Guzman, Marıa Felix-Lizarraga, & Frederico Mendez-Sanchez:  Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) on Guadalupe Island, Mexico: population status, distribution, and advances towards the eradication of feral cat
Daisuke Ochi, Nobuhiro Katsumata, Kei Okamoto & Hiroshi Minami:  Evaluation of newly emerging seabird bycatch mitigation gears for tuna longline in the North Pacific
John Peschon: A summary of albatross band recovery data in the Hawaii deep and shallow set longline fisheries
John Peschon:  A summary of seabird interactions in the Hawaii deep and shallow set longline fisheries in 2014
Stacy Vander Pol, Colleen Bryan, Rebecca Greenberg, Yung Wa Sin & Scott  Edwards:  Mercury as a proxy for genetics analysis in albatross (Phoebastria spp.) eggs from Midway Atoll
Matthew Saunter, Naomi Worcester & Cynthia Vanderlip:  Habitat restoration at Kure Atoll Wildlife Sanctuary
Eric VanderWerf, Robby Kohley, Lindsay Young, Tom Savre, Jared Underwood & Joe Schwager:  Translocation of Laysan Albatrosses from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai to James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on Oahu.

Short-tailed Albatross on Midway Atoll, photograph by Pete Leary

The meeting also heard of studies on other species of procellariiform seabirds, including Hawaiian Petrel Pterodroma sandvicensis and Newell’s Shearwater Puffinus newellii, both endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.

Albatross researcher and conservationist Lindsay Young, a previous ACAP News Correspondent, received a Special Achievement Award from the Pacific Seabird Group at is 2016 meeting.


Bachman.D., Starr, M.& Karnovsky, N. 2016.  Pacific Seabird Group 2016 43rd Annual Meeting, O’ahu, Hawai’i Abstract Book.  178 pp.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 17 February 2016

International Albatross and Petrel Conference: abstract submission and registration is now open

The 6th International Albatross and Petrel Conference will be held in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, from 19-23 September 2016.  Abstract submission and registration are now open.  Abstracts are due by 31 March.  Early bird registration is available at a reduced rate until 31 March.

The conference programme, including keynote speakers and workshops, is available on the conference website. The venue of the conference will be the “Paranimf of the University of Barcelona” right in the city centre.

Keynote speakers will be Francesco Bonadonna, Thierry Boulinier, Vincent Bretagnolle, Paulo Catry, John Croxall, Tim Guilford, Matthieu Le Corre, Daniel Oro, Petra Quillfeldt, Ewan Wakefield, Henri Weimerskirch, Andreanna Welch and Francis Zino.

The welcome reception and icebreaker will take place on 19 September from 17h00 onwards, at the “Observatori Fabra”, with an opening talk at 20h30 by Hadoram Shirihai entitled “What it takes to rediscover & discover six petrel species".

On 29 September two workshops will take place:

Workshop 1: Data Challenge on Behavioural Annotation, organized by Federic Bartumeus, Zuzana Zajkova and José M. Reyes-González.

Workshop 2: GLS data analysis: state of the art and future, organized by Yann Tremblay and Gaia Dell'Ariccia.

If you are interested in the workshops, you will find more information on the web site, and you should contact Federic Bartumeus This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Workshop 1) and Yann Tremblay This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Workshop 2) in February.

Tours and other activities will take place on 18 and 25 September, including pelagic trips and a visit to the “Delta Birding Festival”, amongst others.

Key Dates:

Abstract Submission Deadline - 31 March 2016
Early Registration Deadline - 31 March 2016
Decision about Oral/Poster Presentations - 31 May 2016
Registration Deadline - 10 September 2016.

Further information will be available on the conference website.

We look forward to seeing you in Barcelona!

Balearic Shearwater at sea, shearing...

Jacob González-Solís, Raül Ramos, Gaia Dell’Ariccia, Laura Zango, Virginia Morera, Marta Cruz, Joan Ferrer & Carles Giménez,  Local Organizing Committee, 15 February 2016


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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