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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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Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission seeks Deputy Compliance Manager

WCPFC logo unofficial

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) is inviting applications for the position of Deputy Compliance Manager at its Secretariat, based in Kolonia, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. 

The WCPFC oversees the conservation and sustainable utilisation of highly migratory fish stocks, notably tuna, across the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Comprising 41 member countries, territories, and cooperating non-member countries, it focuses on fostering the sustainable management of the area's fisheries resources.

Key responsibilities of the position are outlined in the position description as follows:

"The Deputy Compliance Manager provides support to the Compliance Manager in management and technical development of the Commission’s MCS tools. The position requires a team leader who is responsible for managing the Commission’s databases and online-based systems, including ensuring data quality and completeness. The Deputy Compliance Manager will lead a team that is charged with ensuring that the Secretariat’s Compliance and MCS workflow processes and associated IT reporting tools are efficiently supporting Members’ data collection and reporting requirements. The position will actively support a greater focus by Members on realizing greater value from their data and so will contribute to effectively supporting CCMs with exercising greater control and management of their flagged vessels and to address their reporting gaps. This position will also contribute to the WCPFC’s work to enhance monitoring and verification of fisheries activities and to support the WCPFC Members implementation of conservation and management measures, including harvest strategy elements. Given the increased use of online-based systems and greater responsibility by Member officials in the management of their data, the position is expected to liaise closely with the Science team and the Scientific Data Manager, data analysts, IT team and database contractors, oversee Member training on Secretariat tools, and contribute to innovation and development of systems that support Commission objectives."

For full details of the position, please download the Vacancy Announcement at the WCPFC website, here.

The deadline for applications is Friday 17 May, 2024.

19 April 2024


Flávia Barreto supports the conservation of the Short-tailed Albatross with her art for World Albatross Day 2024

A Short-tailed Albatross flies past Japan’s Torishima, its main breeding site.  Artwork by Flávia Barreto

For five years the Albatross and Petrel Agreement has collaborated with Artists & Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN) to produce art in support of World Albatross Day (WAD) on 19 June.  Each year ABUN artists are requested to create artworks that represent an annual theme.  This year ACAP has chosen the theme “Marine Protected Areas - Safeguarding our Oceans”.  The artists have been requested to feature two albatross species, the Near Threatened Buller's Albatross Thalassarche bulleri and the Vulnerable Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus. as part of ABUN’s 47th Project in their interpretations of the MPA theme.  Project #47, set to run from 27 January to 21 April following an extension, has so far produced 35 artworks from the pens and brushes of 21 “ABUN-ers”, some of whom have turned out more than one work.  The most prolific as the project draws to a close is Flávia Barreto, who has produced no less than six paintings, three for each of the two featured species.

Flavia Barreto
Barreto in a garden setting

Flávia is no stranger to ACAP Latest News, her paintings have been the subject of ACAP Latest News articles for both WAD2022 and WAD2023.  She lives in Nova Friburgo, Brazil and paints in watercolour, gouache and acrylic.  Flávia has described herself as an amateur artist and a retired civil servant.  After retirement she decided to dedicate her life to art.  Being a lover of nature and animals, her art and interests have gradually evolved to drawing and painting threatened species (click here).  Her three works illustrated here are all of the Short-tailed Albatross.  The first, above, takes cognisance that albatrosses live in two different worlds: on their breeding islands and at sea, where MPAs can help protect them from fisheries mortality and overfishing.

Short-tailed Albatrosses gather at the new colony of
Hatsunezaki on Torishima.  Artwork by Flávia Barreto

In her second painting, Flávia has chosen to work from a photograph taken by Naoki Tomita in the recently established Short-tailed Albatross colony on Torishima.  The original colony, known as Tsubamezaki, is on a bare steep slope and is at permanent risk to egg and chick loss from landslides, erosion and from potential volcanic activity.  As a consequence, the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology successfully implemented “Operation Decoy” with the use of 90 life-like model albatrosses and audio playback recordings to attract birds to a safer, gently sloping grassed site elsewhere on the island, known as Hatsunezaki.  This new colony is now well established, fledging chicks every year.

Torishima, with the two Short-tailed Albatross breeding sites circled, from the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology

Elsewhere in the North Pacific, a single pair of Short-tailed Albatrosses breeds on the USA’s Midway Atoll, where they are affectionally known as George and Geraldine.  Flávia’s painting  below depicts the darker female incubating on the nest, with the male (now longer known as “Lonesome George” after six years of breeding with Geraldine) behind.  They are now busy rearing their fifth chick (click here).

Short-tailed Albatrosses George and Geraldine on Sand Island, Midway Atoll.  Artwork by Flávia Barreto after a photograph by Jonathan Plissner, 15 January 2022

John Cooper, Emeritus Information Officer, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, 18 April 2024

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is proposed to also become a national marine sanctuary

Proposed Pap sanctuary
Proposed Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Sanctuary Agency, from NOAA

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was proclaimed in June 2006 as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument.  It was renamed as the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in 2007.  The monument includes eight atolls in the North Pacific which support large breeding populations of Black-footed Phoebastria nigripes and Laysan P. immutabilis Albatrosses, and a single pair of Short-tailed Albatrosses P. albatrus.  They are Kure, Midway, Pearl and Hermes Reef, Lisianski, Laysan, French Frigate Shoals, Necker and Nihoa.  Seas out to 50 nautical miles (93 km) around each island are included within the monument.

Short-tailed Albatrosses George and Geraldine on Sand Island, Midway Atoll. Artwork by Flávia Barreto of Artists & Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN), after a photograph by Jonathon Plissner

The USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has now released for public comment documents for a proposed Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Sanctuary.  “The proposed sanctuary would include the marine portions of the existing Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and have an area of approximately 582 250 square miles (1508 000 km²).  Papahānaumokuākea’s status as a marine national monument would not change under a sanctuary designation.  The addition of a national marine sanctuary would provide regulatory and management tools to augment and strengthen existing protections for Papahānaumokuākea ecosystems, wildlife, and cultural and maritime heritage resources.”  Access the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed new sanctuary. here and the Proposed Rule as listed in the USA’s Federal Register here.  The proposal and these associated documents are being discussed in Hawaii at public meetings this month.

Papahānaumokuākea was inscribed as a mixed (natural and cultural) World Heritage Site in 2010.

“Marine Protected Areas – Safeguarding our Oceans”, is the theme for this year’s World Albatross Day (WAD2024), to be celebrated on 19 June 2024. 

John Cooper, Emeritus Information Officer, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, 16 April 2024

Burrowing seabird surveys to help inform conservation efforts for important White-chinned Petrel populations in the South Atlantic

 Kalinka Rexer Huber White chinned Petrel 3The silhouette of a White-chinned Petrel returning to its burrow at dusk; photograph by Kalinka Rexer-Huber

Falklands Conservation, with the help of volunteers, recently completed burrowing seabird surveys on two tussoc islands of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas*) over the 2023/2024 breeding season. 

The aim of the work is to inform the review of the Falkland Island Government’s Stanley Tussac Islands Management Plan 2018-2023. This will be done by establishing baseline estimates of population sizes of the Near-Threatened Sooty Shearwater Ardenna grisea and the Vulnerable White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis at these sites, and to assess population trends where previous data exists. This season, fieldwork involved assessing burrow density and occupancy rate of the two species on Kidney and Top islands. Monitoring of Bottom and Cochon islands is planned to take place over the 2024/2025 breeding season.

The survey was covered in a story by the national television broadcaster, Falkland Islands Television (FITV)

Falkland Conservation’s Seabird Ecologist, Amanda Kuepfer, led the survey and explained why the work is so important: “These islands represent nationally important breeding sites for these species - Kidney is the largest breeding colony of sooties [Sooty Shearwaters] in the Falklands, and Kidney, Top and Bottom islands represent three of the four known breeding sites for white-chins [White-chinned Petrels] in the Falklands. Given pressures such as from changing climate, predation from invasives and fisheries bycatch, there is a real risk of local extinction of white-chins in the Falklands, and so understanding population trends at these sites is critical.”

Kidney Island Sarah Crofts 2The tussoc-covered landscape of Kidney Island, where Sooty Shearwaters and White-chinned Petrels make their burrows; photograph by Sarah Crofts

Future surveys could involve the help of a detection dog trained to undertake burrowing seabird monitoring work, potentially making this notoriously difficult work a little easier. Falklands Conservation are currently liaising with 2023 ACAP Secondee, Naomi Cordeiro of South Atlantic Detection Dogs, to see what the most effective use of detection dogs with monitoring petrels might be with Naomi and detection dog in training, Missy, joined a survey in December last year to help understand how the use of a detection dog might fit with future monitoring. 

Falklands Conservation are now in the process of analysing the data from this year’s surveys and hope to be able to share the results in July. 

15 April 2024

*A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Georgias del Sur y Islas Sandwich del Sur) and the surrounding maritime areas.

Two distinct seabird assemblages linked to the major western boundary of the Eastern Australian Current identified

 Daudt Paper Seabird Assemblages 2024Figure 1 from the paper: Study area showing the main ocean currents (a), and seabird records made by season on top of the 1°latitude 1°longitude grid cells (b). In (a), the East Australian Current (EAC) system is highlighted with its acronyms in bold and drawn in blue. The South Equatorial Current (SEC) and its branches, the North Caledonian Jet (NCJ) and South Caledonian Jet (SCJ), are drawn in red. The EAC ’eastern extension’ is an eddy field (blue shaded area) often called the ’Tasman Front’, from which the East Auckland Current originates (EAUC, in green).

Nicholas W. Daudt (Department of Marine Science, University of Otago, Aotearoa, New Zealand) and colleagues have published open access in the journal Progress in Oceanography on the identification of two distinct seabird assemblages and their susceptibility to changing environmental conditions.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Identifying species assemblages helps understand the relationship between organisms and their environment. Assemblages can be used to predict biological changes caused by environmental perturbations, and are thus essential surrogates to monitor biodiversity. In this study, to identify and describe seabird assemblages, we used 15 at-sea ship-based survey data sets collected over 37°of latitude off eastern Australia, from 2016 to 2021. We fitted seasonal Region of Common Profile (RCP) mixture models, for two types of data (presence–absence and abundance). RCP groups are defined as regions where the probability of encountering a particular species profile is constant within regions, but different amongst them. These groups also vary according to covariates, which in our case included oceanographic, climatic, and physiographic parameters. Results were based on 142,646 seabirds recorded from 80 species, including albatrosses, petrels, prions, shearwaters, boobies, and terns, among other taxa. All models suggested two macro-scale assemblages (‘northern’ and ‘southern’), except for the autumn presence–absence model that identified three groups. The model results consistently show a biogeographic transition at 34°S, near the latitude at which the East Australian Current (EAC) separates from the Australian continental slope. Sea surface temperatures or sea surface salinities were selected in all final models, further indicating a close relationship between seabird assemblages and water masses. Results from both data types, presence–absence and abundance, resulted in similar spatial and species profile patterns. RCP models clearly identified two seabird assemblages off the east coast of Australia, suggesting the persistence of these groups at seasonal and macro spatial scales. Given the ongoing poleward intensification that the EAC is experiencing, which is projected to continue over the next century, and its importance in influencing the distributions of seabirds, the methods applied in our study could be replicated to assess possible changes in seabird assemblages and how they are affected by changing environmental conditions.”


Daudt, N.W., Woehler, E. J., Schofield, M. R., Smith, R. O., Bugoni, L., Rayment, W. J. 2024. Seabird assemblages are linked to the major western boundary current off eastern Australia. Progress in Oceanography. Vol. 23.

12 April 2024

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.

About ACAP

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