ACAP Latest News

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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An update on research on the ACAP-listed Balearic Shearwater

The latest issue of the annual journal, Sea Swallow, published by the Royal Naval Birdwatching Society, carries an article on research conducted in the northern summer of 2014 on the ACAP-listed and Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus.

The paper’s introduction follows:

“For the last eight years a dedicated team of UK scientists, conservationists and seabird enthusiasts have contributed to a programme of research and conservation focused on the Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater and other migratory seabirds.  This programme has two main components: the ‘Sea Watch SW’ project, which involved collection of land- and boat-based data from UK waters between 2007 and 2011 (see www.seawatch-sw.org), and the ongoing ‘Project Shearwater’, which involves work at Balearic shearwater breeding colonies in the Mediterranean and tracking of the birds at sea throughout the year.  For an overview of 2013 Project Shearwater activities, and links to reports from earlier years, see http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=3925.”

A Balaeric Shearwater carries a satellite tracker with its aerial visible

Photograph by Henri Weimerskirch

Reference:

Wynn, R. 2014.  Balearic Shearwater – Project Seawatch SW and Project Shearwater 2014 update.  Sea Swallow 63: 35-38.

[Note:  this publication is not as yet on-line]

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 06 December 2014

Registration for the 2nd World Seabird Conference in Cape Town October 2015 opens

Registration for the 2nd World Seabird Conference (WCS2) has now opened (click here).  The conference, with the overall theme “Seabirds: Global Ocean Sentinels” is to be held in the international conference centre in Cape Town, South Africa over 26-30 October 2015.

The early-bird registration closes on 31 May, after which the fees will go up.

Abstract submission on a “wide range of topics related to seabird ecology, biology and conservation" is also now open, with a deadline of 31 January 2015.  Due to time and space constraints, authors are only able to submit one poster and one oral abstract.

WSC2 is being hosted by the African Seabird Group and the World Seabird Union.  The Local Organizing Committee is chaired by Ross Wanless (BirdLife South Africa's Seabird Division Manager and African Seabird Group Chair).  The Scientific Programme Committee Chair is Peter Ryan (Director, FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town).

Read about facilities and opportunities in Cape Town here.

The First World Seabird Conference was held in in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in September 2010 with over 800 registered attendees from more than 50 countries.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 13 December 2014

2nd Symposium on the Conservation of Marine and Coastal Birds in the Mediterranean to be held in Tunisia next February is expected to discuss the ACAP-listed Balearic Shearwater

The 2nd Symposium on the Conservation of Marine and Coastal Birds in the Mediterranean will take place at the Hôtel Vincci Taj 5, Hammamet, Tunisia over 20-22 February 2015.

The first symposium on the conservation of coastal and marine bird species of Annex  II of the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean (SPA/BD Protocol), took place in Vilanova i la Geltru, Spain in November 2005 (click here for the symposium’s proceedings).

The main objective of the second symposium is to review the current knowledge of the 25 marine bird taxa included in the SPA/BD Protocol and to discuss the most recent results of research and conservation work on these species.  Particular interest will be paid to conservation issues, the current projects implemented in the Mediterranean, and innovative propositions to limit the threats impacting these populations.

The Annex II list as amended in 2013 includes three shearwater species: ACAP-listed Balearic Puffinus mauretanicus, Yelkouan P. yelkouan and Scopoli’s Calonectris diomedea, as well as the European Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus (which refers to the subspecies melitensis, known as the Mediterranean Storm Petrel).

Balearic Shearwater, photograph by Daniel Oro

This symposium is also intended to provide an opportunity for Mediterranean ornithologists to exchange information and experience and to provide MEDMARAVIS members the first meeting opportunity since 2010.  MEDMARAVIS is an international non-governmental association dealing with the study and conservation of coastal habitats and marine avifauna throughout the Mediterranean region that will co-partner the symposium.

With thanks to Fabrizio Borghesi, MEDMARAVIS Project Officer for information.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 04 December 2014

Identifying suitable breeding sites for Hawaii’s Endangered Newell’s Shearwaters by modelling their habitat

Jeff Troy (Department of Biology, Texas State University, San Marcos, USA) and colleagues write in-press in the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management on identifying new suitable breeding habitat for Endangered Newell's Shearwater Puffinus newelli on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

The paper’s abstract follows:

The Newell's shearwater, or `A`o (Puffinus newelli), is endemic to the main islands of the Hawaiian Archipelago and is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List and as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act.  Using abiotic and biotic environmental variables, we developed a terrestrial habitat suitability model for this species on Kauai to predict habitat that could be suitable in the absence of anthropogenic threats.  In addition, we developed a habitat/threat-isolation index incorporating information from our suitability model to identify regions of structurally suitable habitat with less exposure to certain anthropogenic threats (relative to other portions of the island).  The habitat suitability model suggests that slope, density of rock fragments within the soil, and native vegetation cover are important factors associated with the current known distribution of the Newell's shearwater on Kauai, and that a moderate portion of the sloped interior terrain of Kauai could potentially be suitable nesting habitat for this species.  The habitat/threat-isolation index identified the mountains on the north-central portion of the island as structurally suitable habitat most isolated from a combination of major anthropogenic disturbances (relative to other portions of the island).  Much of this region, however, is privately owned and not designated as an official reserve, which could indicate a need for increased conservation action in this region in the future.  This information is important for conservation biologists and private landowners because expanding efforts to control non-native predators, as well as management of additional lands as reserves, may be necessary for the protection and preservation of the Newell's shearwater.”

Newell's Shearwater, photograph by Eric Vanderwerf

Reference:

Troy, J.R., Holmes, N.D., Veech, J.A., Raine, A.F. & Green, M.C. 2014.  Habitat suitability modeling for the Newell's Shearwater on Kauai.  Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management  doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3996/112013-JFWM-074.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 03 December 2014

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission is meeting this week and improved seabird mitigation for small vessels is on the agenda

The Eleventh Session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) is being held this week in the Faleata Sports Complex, Apia, Samoa.  Click here for the meeting’s agenda.

A change proposed by the USA (WCPFC11-2014-DP01) to the current Conservation and Management Measure for Mitigating Impacts of Fishing on Seabirds (CMM 2012-07) aims to remove the current exemption for vessels less than 24 m in length in the North Pacific from the requirement to use seabird bycatch mitigation measures in areas north of 23° North latitude from 1 January 2017.

A small North Pacific longliner trails a bird-scaring line, photograph by Ed Melvin

Reference:

Unites States of America 2014.  Revisions to CMM 2012-07 Conservation and Management Measure to Mitigate the Impact of Fishing for Highly Migratory Fish Stocks on SeabirdsWCPFC11-2014-DP01. 7 pp.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 02 December 2104

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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