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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Brazil improves existing and adds new mitigation measures to reduce bycatch of seabirds in pelagic longline fisheries

Brazil is one of several South American countries which are Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels and which hold a great diversity and abundance of albatrosses and petrels within their waters. To help conserve these birds the National Plan of Action for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (NPOA-Seabirds Brazil) was adopted in 2004. This NPOA-Seabirds was framed within the FAO's IPOA-Seabirds and follows the objectives of the Agreement.

 

A hooked Wandering Albatross: at risk in Brazilian waters, photograph courtesy of the British Antarctic Survey

Recently, Brazil improved its existing and added new fishing regulations towards the reduction of incidental capture of seabirds in pelagic longline fisheries operating south of 20°S (Ministry of Fishery and Aquaculture, Interministerial Normative Instruction N°7/2014). The discussions pertaining to seabird conservation were made possible thanks to the participation of different sectors of the Government, industry (industrial and fisherman’s syndicate), academia and NGOs. The new regulation is framed within the Agreement's recommendations for reducing seabird mortality (use of bird-scaring (tori) lines, night setting and line weighting); now all mandatory for pelagic longline vessels fishing south of 20°S as from 1 May 2015.

Click here for the text of the Interministerial Normative Instruction.

Click here for additional news on the new regulation from the Brazilian NGO, Projeto Albatroz.  Read an earlier news item on Brazilian regulations here.

Juan Pablo Seco Pon, ACAP South American News Correspondent, 27 April 2015

New Zealand plans research on ACAP-listed albatrosses and petrels for 2015/16 through fishery levies

The New Zealand Department of Conservation has released its draft Conservation Services Programme Annual Plan for 2015/16 that describes those services and projects aimed to address the impacts of commercial fisheries on marine protected species.  Direct impacts include seabirds being being caught, injured or killed in nets or on hooks (click here).

The annual plan lists a number of proposed  projects that relate to the conservation of albatrosses and petrels, including ACAP-listed species.  By title these are:

Identfication of seabirds captured in New Zealand fisheries

Black Petrel and Flesh-footed Shearwater foraging behaviour around fishing vessels

Black Petrel: Aotea/Great Barrier Island and Hauturu/Little Barrier Island population project

Flesh-footed Shearwater: various locations population project

Seabird population research: Auckland Islands 2015-16

Northern Buller's Albatross: review taxonomy

Protected Species Bycatch Newsletter

Seabird bycatch reduction (small longline vessel fisheries)

Small vessel seabird mitigation project

Bullers Albatrosses Solanders 6 Jean Claude Stahl s

Buller's Albatross chicks, photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 26 April 2015

 

 

At-sea surveys confirm a North Atlantic biodiversity hotspot for Manx Shearwaters and other seabirds

Ashley Bennison (Coastal & Maritime Research, Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, Ireland) and Mark Jessopp have published in the journal Bird Study on seabird observations made in the North Atlantic, including of the Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus and Arctic or Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis

The paper's abstract follows: 

A number of tracking studies have [sic] shown an area of the North Atlantic, south of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone, to be an important overwintering location for seabirds. We conducted seabird observations along a trans-Atlantic transect from Ireland to Canada in April 2014 to test the hypothesis that seabird species richness and abundance will peak in the area of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.  At-sea survey results agreed with previous tracking studies, highlighting the importance of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge area for seabirds.

Reference: 

Bennison, A. & Jessopp, M. 2015.  At-sea surveys confirm a North Atlantic biodiversity hotspot.  Bird Study DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2015.1011601.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer 25 April 2015

Mixed fortunes: population trends of Flesh-footed Shearwaters in New Zealand

Sarah Jamieson and Susan Waugh (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand) have published in the journal Notornis on the status of the Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carnepeis at three New Zealand breeding localities. 

Flesh-footed shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes) are considered to be one of New Zealand’s seabird species that is most heavily impacted by both commercial and recreational fisheries, yet they have an IUCN ranking of “Least Concern”.  To resolve this contradiction we conducted surveys on 3 large breeding colonies and compared our results to historical data. We found that the burrow density on the most northerly island (Lady Alice Island/Mauimua) has increased since the last set of surveys; however the density of flesh-footed shearwaters nests has remained stable. At the largest colony we surveyed (Ohinau Island), the density of burrows has remained stable, while the density of nests has declined. At New Zealand’s most southerly colony (Titi Island), both burrow and nest densities have remained stable. Our results suggest that the status of flesh-footed shearwaters populations in New Zealand is variable with 2 populations that are stable and 1 that is declining. Nevertheless, due to the short time period between our surveys and the historical data, repeated surveys in the future are needed to determine if further declines in the largest colony warrant a reassessment of the status of this species.

Flesh-footed Shearwater, photograph by Barry Baker

Reference:

Jamieson, S.E. & Waugh, S.M. 2015.  An assessment of recent population trends of flesh-footed shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes) breeding in New Zealand.  Notornis 62: 8-13.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 24 April 2015

A Salvin’s Albatross population decreases by a third over 14 years

Paul Sagar (National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research,  Christchurch, New Zealand) and colleagues have published in the journal Notornis on a decline in a population of the globally Vulnerable Salvin’s Albatross Thalassarche salvini at New Zealand’s Bounty Islands.

The paper’s abstract follows:

"We used data from 3 sources to examine the population size and trend of Salvin’s albatrosses (Thalassarche salvini) breeding on Proclamation Island, Bounty Islands, New Zealand.  Island-wide counts of breeding birds during incubation resulted in totals that declined 14%, from 3065 in 1997 to 2634 in 2004.  A count of breeding albatrosses over part of the island in 2011 indicated a further decline of 13% between 2004 and 2011, and an overall decline of 30% between 1997 and 2011.  Additional counts on part of Depot Island indicated a decline of 10% in the numbers of breeding pairs between 2004 and 2011.  Daily observations of 70 nests showed that hatching spanned the period from 5 to 21 November 1997, with a median of 15 November, apart from 5 eggs that had not yet hatched by the end of the study period.  Based on the banding and recapture of chicks banded in March 1985 annual survival was estimated at 0.926.  The scale of the decline estimated in this population has resulted in the conservation status of Salvin’s albatross being upgraded from nationally vulnerable to nationally critical."

 

Salvin's Albatross, photograph by Paul Sagar

Reference:

Sagar, P.M., Amey, J., Scofield, R.P. & Robertson, C.J.R. 2015.  Population trends, timing of breeding and survival of Salvin's albatrosses (Thalassarche salvini) at Proclamation Island, Bounty Islands, New Zealand. Notornis 62:21-29.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 23 April 2015

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