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 Eighth Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee and of its working groups to be held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, 8-19 September 2014

Meeting Location and Dates

The Eighth Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee (AC8) will be held from Monday, 15 September to Friday, 19 September 2014, at the Barradas Hotel, Punta del Este, Uruguay (click here for the meeting's first circular).

Meetings of the Advisory Committee’s Population and Conservation Status Working Group (PaCSWG) and Seabird Bycatch Working Group (SBWG) will precede AC8.  These meetings will also be held at the Barradas Hotel, from Monday 8 to Tuesday 9 September (PaCSWG), and Wednesday 10 to Friday 12 September (SBWG).

A Heads of Delegation meeting will be convened on Sunday, 14 September 2014 in the evening. The time and venue for this meeting will be advised closer to the meeting date.

Meeting Documents

Meeting documents requiring translation are to be submitted to the Secretariat no later than 15 July 2014 in order that they may be distributed in the three official languages 30 days in advance of the meeting. It would assist the operation of the meeting if papers were submitted as early as possible in advance of this date. All AC8 information papers must be submitted by 1 August 2014. Meeting documents for Working Group meetings must also be submitted by 1 August 2014. Meeting documents will not be accepted after this date.

It would be appreciated if participants could advise the Secretariat of any papers that they intend submitting to the meeting as soon as possible.

Applications for Observer Status

International bodies wishing to participate in the Advisory Committee meeting must

submit a written application to the Secretariat by 17 June 2014. Applications from other bodies wishing to attend this meeting must submit a written application by 15 July 2014.

Reservation of Accommodation

A block booking of 45 rooms has been made for the meetings at a substantial discount to normal rates: 26 x standard rooms @ USD90, 10 x deluxe rooms @ USD117, and 9 x classic suites @ USD147.00.  Delegates are encouraged to make their reservations as early as possible to ensure access to rooms at these prices.  Note that alternative accommodation may be difficult to find, particularly during AC8, due to public holidays falling in this period.  When making a reservation please quote a promotional code (to be available shortly) to access the ACAP booking.

Information on registration and other meeting arrangements will be provided in Meeting Circular No 2.

A Tristan Albatross flies by in waters off Uruguay, photograph by Martin Abreu

Warren Papworth, ACAP Executive Secretary & Marco Favero, Chair, ACAP Advisory Committee, 07 March 2014

Integrating island restoration and eradication programmes will help maximise conservation gains for procellariiform and other seabirds

Peter Kappes (Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA) and Holly Jones argue in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation that removing alien mammals from seabird islands should be followed by active restoration programmes to encourage seabirds to recover or return.  This seems particularly apposite for procellariiform seabirds with their particular life-history traits.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Colonial nesting seabirds frequently drive island ecosystem biodiversity by maintaining ecosystem functioning and community dynamics.  Invasive mammal introductions to most of the world’s islands have ravaged insular seabird populations and had associated devastating ecosystem-wide effects.  Eradication programs remove invasive mammals from islands, with the goal of conserving and restoring island species and systems.  However, most eradication programs rely almost exclusively on passive seabird recovery to achieve these goals.  Unfortunately, the life histories of most seabird species are not conducive to passive recovery within a contemporary timeframe.  Seabird restoration techniques can effectively overcome life history related issues and significantly reduce recovery times for insular seabird populations, thereby reducing associated ecosystem-wide recovery times.  By integrating seabird restoration and eradication programs, practitioners can maximize conservation gains, expand funding opportunities, and restore island ecosystems and the biodiversity they support.”

Grey Petrel on Marion Island after eradication of feral cats

Photograph by Peter Ryan


Kappes, P.J. & Jones, H.P. 2014.  Integrating seabird restoration and mammal eradication programs on islands to maximize conservation gains.  Biodiversity and Conservation  23: 503-509.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 06 March 2014

WWF launches its International Smart Gear Competition for 2014 to reduce bycatch in fisheries

WWF's International Smart Gear Competition, launched in 2004, brings together the fishing industry, research institutes, universities and government to inspire and reward practical, innovative fishing gear designs that reduce bycatch - the accidental catch and related deaths of sea turtles, birds, marine mammals, cetaceans and non-target fish species in fishing gear such as longlines and nets.

“Designed to inspire creative thinkers, Smart Gear is a call for innovative ideas that have practical applications for fishing “smarter”—for increasing selectivity for target fish species and reducing bycatch.  The competition invites submissions of practical, cost-effective solutions to reduce fisheries bycatch, and offers cash prizes totaling US$65,000.”

The individual prizes are a Grand Prize of $30 000, two runner-up prizes of $10 000, as well as $7500 as a Special Tuna Bycatch Reduction Prize that identifies a solution to reduce the amount of bycatch found in both purse seine and longline tuna fisheries in the waters of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, and $7500 as a Special Marine Mammal Bycatch Reduction Prize.

Competition judges include Svein Løkkeborg, International Marine Research, Norway and Ed Melvin, Washington Sea Grant, USA; both of whom have been involved with research aimed at mitigating seabird mortality by fishing vessels.

The competition opened on the first of March with an entry deadline of 31 August.  Click here for the competition entry rules.  After the prizes are awarded, WWF will work with each of the winners to bring their ideas to life and see them implemented in fisheries around the World.

At risk: Black-browed Albatrosses attempt to scavenge behind a trawler

Photograph by Sofia Copello

Past winners have included specially designed lights that reduce the bycatch of turtles in gillnets, and a device to reduce the bycatch of seabirds on tuna longlines (click here).

Find more news of the competition here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 05 March 2014

Saving seabirds: ACAP announces eight awards from its 2014 round of grant opportunities

The results of the latest round of grant opportunities made by ACAP have now been announced.  Funding of approximately AUD 110 000 was available for allocation from the Advisory Committee (AC) Work Programme budget for 2013-14, with a maximum of AUD 20 000 available to be granted per individual project (click here).

Following consideration by the AC’s Grants Subcommittee a total of AUD 107 666 was awarded to eight projects chosen out of 21 applications received from 10 countries.  The successful applications are listed below.

Assessing the conservation status of the Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross on Gough Island, Tristan da Cunha; Juliet Vickery, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, UK; AUD 10 695

Comparative trials of Lumo Leads and traditional line weighting in the Brazilian pelagic longline fishery; Tatiana Neves, Projeto Albatroz, Brazil; AUD 10 000

A population estimate of White-chinned Petrel at Disappointment Island, Auckland Islands, New Zealand; David Thompson, NIWA, New Zealand; AUD 16 000

Reducir la mortalidad incidental de albatros y petreles en pesquerías de arrastre en el Mar Argentino. Un enfoque integrado para la conservación de especies amenazadas (Reducing incidental mortality of albatrosses and petrels in trawl fisheries in the Argentine Sea.  A comprehensive approach for the conservation of threatened species); Guillermo Cañete, Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina, Argentina; AUD 10 000

Ensayo de medidas de mitigación para la reducción de capturas accidentales de aves marinas en los palangreros demersales del Mediterráneo (Trial of mitigation measures to reduce seabird bycatch in demersal longliners of the Mediterranean Sea); Jacob González-Solís, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain; AUD 19 985

Multi-colony tracking of nonbreeding Black-browed Albatrosses Thalassarche melanophris from the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas): identifying key wintering areas and zones of overlap with fisheries; April Hedd, Canada; AUD 12 500

Establishing capacity in South America to build knowledge on albatross and petrel health and prevent disease introduction; Marcela Uhart & Flavio Quintana, University of California, Davis, USA & Centro Nacional Patagónico, CONICET, Argentina; AUD 20 000

Identificación de zonas de alimentación de la Pardela Balear en el NE Atlántico: una aproximación multidiscliplinar (Identification of Balearic Shearwater's foraging ranges in the NE Atlantic: a multidisciplinary approach); Maite Louzao Arsuaga, Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Spain; AUD 8486

Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross chick and parent on Gough Island

Photograph by Kalinka Rexer-Huber

The next call for grant applications is expected to be made after the Eighth Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee, to be held in September this year and before the Fifth Session of the Meeting of Parties, due to be held in 2015.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 04 March 2014

First record of a South Atlantic Wandering Albatross breeding in the southern Indian Ocean

A female Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans carrying British Museum of Natural History band No. 4001481 has been reported by the Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé breeding on Île de la Possession, French Crozet Islands in the southern Indian Ocean during January 2014.

This bird was banded as a chick on 17 November 2005 in Wanderer Valley on Bird Island in the South Atlantic by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).  It has not been recorded back on the island since it fledged.

According to BAS records this is the first time a Bird Island bird has been seen ashore in the Crozets.  However, a French Wanderer (BS6639) banded as a chick in the Crozets on 8 January 1976 was recorded on Bird Island four years later on 25 January 1980: at quite a young age for a Wanderer to return to land.

In contrast, within the southern Indian Ocean interchange of over 60 Wandering Albatrosses has occurred between Possession and South Africa’s Marion and Prince Edward Islands, 1068 km apart, including of at least 19 fledglings from one locality breeding at the other.

Wandering Albatrosses on Bird Island, photograph by Richard Phillips

With thanks to Richard Phillips, Henri Weimerskirch and Andy Wood for information.

Selected Literature:

Cooper, J. & Weimerskirch, H. 2003.  Exchange of Wandering Albatrosses Diomedea exulans between the Prince Edward and Crozet Islands: implications for conservation.  African Journal of Marine Science 25: 519-523.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 03 March 2014