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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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ACAP to attend a Sustainable Ocean Initiative meeting in Korea this month

“Marine ecosystems provide a wealth of benefits to humanity and the planet, including the provision of livelihoods and food security.  Biological diversity underpins ecosystem functioning and the provisioning of ecosystem services essential for human well-being.  The oceans, and the life therein, are critical to the healthy functioning of the planet.”

ACAP’s Executive Secretary, Marco Favero, will be attending a meeting later this month with the title “Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fisheries Bodies on Accelerating Progress Towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets”.  The meeting is being organized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and will take place over 26-29 September in The Palace Hotel Seoul, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

The goal of the meeting is to explore opportunities for strengthening collaboration at the regional scale to accelerate progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, in particular Targets 6, 10 and 11, and relevant Sustainable Development Goals, in particular goal 14.

Specific objectives are:

• To enhance sharing of scientific information between regional seas organizations and regional fisheries bodies, such as information related to ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) and vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs), as well as the information in the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, regionally owned data/information, and/or information regarding impacts on marine biodiversity and living resources;

• To exchange experiences and expertise in regionally applying available tools and approaches in the conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources and ecosystems (e.g., ecosystem approaches, impact assessments, area-based management tools);

• To exchange knowledge and experiences on the development and application of regional-scale indicators in support of the objectives of the respective regional organizations/bodies, which can provide inputs to measuring progress in achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Sustainable Development Goals;

• To identify lessons learned regarding ways of cooperation between regional seas organizations (RSOs) and regional fisheries bodies (RFBs), including sharing successful examples where national-level cross-sectoral cooperation has led to regional level cross-sectoral cooperation and vice versa.

Black-browed Albatrosses at sea, photograph by Kolette Grobler

Click here for the meeting documents.

A meeting report will be prepared and submitted, as information, to the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention in December 2016.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 20 September 2016

World Conservation Congress call for protecting at least 30 percent of the ocean should help pelagic albatrosses and petrels

Members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress have voted last week in Hawaii, USA to support increasing the portion of the World’s seas that is highly protected to at least 30 percent to help conserve biodiversity.  More high-seas Marine Protected Areas should help ACAP-listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters.

Sooty Albatross, a high-seas forager; photograph by Ross Wanless

A news report from the Pew Charitable Trusts follows:

“The World Conservation Congress, taking place Sept. 1-10 in Honolulu, has brought together thousands of leaders, government decision-makers, island residents, and indigenous peoples from around the world to seek solutions to global environmental challenges. The conference is hosted by the IUCN every four years.

The passing of this motion is a milestone for marine conservation and underscores the need to create more marine protected areas around the world to combat increasing threats from overfishing, marine debris, pollution, and other human activities.  Adopted IUCN motions show broad international support for issues by governments, nongovernmental organizations, and scientists and often lead to conservation advancements by countries and international decision-making bodies.

Scientific research strongly supports the notion that safeguarding at least 30 percent of the ocean in marine protected areas or reserves would conserve biodiversity, support fisheries productivity, and sustain the myriad economic, cultural, and life-supporting benefits of healthy seas.

Research also shows that marine reserves help rebuild species abundance and diversity, bolster the ocean’s resilience to climate change, and help maintain and improve the overall health of the marine environment.  A 2014 study found that marine protected areas yield the greatest benefits when they are large, no-take, isolated, well-enforced, and long-standing.

The creation of marine reserves within national waters has doubled the amount of ocean protected since 2006, but it will be difficult to achieve the IUCN-recommended 30 percent level without protecting vast areas of the high seas—those waters beyond national jurisdictions. These global commons—areas used freely by all but owned by no one—make up 64 percent of the ocean.

In 2015, the U.N. General Assembly took a step to improve high seas management by agreeing to begin negotiations on a treaty that would allow greater conservation and sustainable use of marine life on the high seas.  Discussions at the U.N. began in March 2016, with the second round of meetings occurring Aug. 26 to Sept. 9, 2016. If governments can keep on track, the new treaty could be adopted by 2020.

Protecting at least 30 percent of the ocean through creation of fully protected marine reserves is essential to meeting a broad range of environmental and management goals.”

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 19 September 2016

Do they get dizzy? Tags show spinning Wandering Albatrosses attract squid at night

News from Rory Wilson of Swansea University in Wales at the British Science Festival is that ACAP-listed Wandering Albatrosses Diomedea exulans carrying recording tags swim in circles on the sea surface at night to attract squid (click here).

"The most surprising thing that we have discovered was from wandering albatrosses.  The general consensus used to be that these birds would fly huge distances to find and eat dead squid, since such large birds would be unable to catch squid alive.  We saw that the wandering albatross would swim at night in crazy circles for periods from 40 seconds up to seven hours, continuously, and then they'd suddenly be eating."

"What we think they're doing is, when it is very dark in parts of the ocean, they're swimming to agitate bioluminescent plankton, causing a bright glow.  The squid, attracted like a moth to a flame, will then swim to the light and get eaten."

A young Wandering Albatross on the sea surface

Read more on spinning albatrosses here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 16 September 2016

The Polar2018 Open Science Conference calls for sessions on biology and other disciplines

The organizers of POLAR2018 are now accepting session proposals for the joint SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) and IASC (International Arctic Science Committee) Open Science Conference “Where the Poles meet“, which will be held in Davos, Switzerland over 19 - 23 June 2018.  A template to submit session proposals, including a brief session description, the contact information of the session conveners and other details, are available on the conference website.

Antarctic-breeding Light-mantled Albatrosses fly in unison, photograph by Aleks Terauds

“We are looking for sessions that cover a broad range of topics across the spectrum of Polar and high altitude research, such as, but not limited to, climate, glaciology, social and human sciences, ice sheets, atmospheric sciences, oceanography, biology, astronomy, geology, economic aspects, sustainable development, technology and education. There will be oral and poster sessions as well as e-poster sessions with a mini-oral.

The organizing committee strongly encourages session topics that encapsulate research conducted in both the Arctic and Antarctic.  We also encourage including early career scientists as conveners and encourage diversity regarding conveners’ nationalities, gender, and where possible, indigenous peoples.

The tasks of the conveners include:

-  soliciting submissions for their session;
-  reviewing the abstracts submitted for the session;
-  working with the International Scientific Organizing Committee to arrange the programme of their session, including oral and poster presentations; and
-  chairing the session.

Depending on the session proposals received, the International Scientific Organizing Committee might have to merge similar sessions where necessary and appropriate.”

Dates to remember: session proposal submission deadline: 30 November 2016; notification of lead conveners: 31 March 2017.  Further deadlines can be found here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 15 September 2016


Satellite tracking of three Southern Royal Albatrosses from Uruguay

As part of the Large Marine Vertebrate project (Grandes Vertebrados Marinos), the Laboratorio de Recursos Pelágicos of the Dirección Nacional de Recursos Acuáticos (DINARA) from Uruguay has equipped several species of large marine vertebrates, including sharks, tunas and sea turtles, and more recently seabirds with tracking devices. 

In early July 2016 ACAP-listed Southern Royal Albatrosses Diomedea epomophora were equipped with satellite transmitters from on board the research vessel R.V. Aldebarán in Uruguayan waters.  Three individuals, one female and two males, have been tracked for nearly two months, providing novel data on the movements of these seabirds during the non-breeding period.  One week after being equipped one male began his migration back to Australasia, travelling across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans for about 20 days to reach a well-defined area east of the Great Australian Bight.  To date, the two other birds have remained in the south-western Atlantic: one bird has utilized waters on the continental shelf of Uruguay and Argentina, while the other has mainly stayed in waters off southern Brazil and Uruguay.


Southern Royal Albatross at sea

Read about the Uruguayan research in Spanish here.

With thanks to Andrés Domingo and Sebastián Jimenez.

Juan Pablo Seco Pon, ACAP News Correspondent, 14 September 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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