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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The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission produces a report on the status of seabirds in the Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) has produced a detailed report on the status of seabirds in the Indian Ocean.  The report forms part of a larger study that summarizes the status of tuna and tuna-like species under the IOTC mandate, as well as other species, such as billfish, sharks and turtles, which are impacted by IOTC fisheries.

The report covers 19 seabird species, all but four being ACAP-listed albatrosses and petrels, reported as caught in fisheries within the IOTC area of competence.  It states that the “level of mortality of seabirds due to fishing gear in the Indian Ocean is poorly known, although where there has been rigorous assessment of impacts in areas south of 25 degrees (e.g. in South Africa), very high seabird incidental catches rates have been recorded in the absence of a suite of proven incidental catches mitigation measures.”

Amsterdam Albatross occurs in the Indian Ocean, photograph by Trevor Hardaker

The report further notes that:

the available evidence indicates considerable risk from longline fishing to the status of seabirds in the Indian Ocean, where the best practice seabird incidental catches mitigation measures outlined in IOTC Resolution 12/06 On Reducing the Incidental Bycatch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries are not implemented;

CPCs (Cooperating non-Contracting Parties) that have not fully implemented the provisions of the IOTC Regional Observer Scheme outlined in Paragraph 2 of IOTC Resolution 11/04 On a Regional Observer Scheme shall report seabird incidental catches through logbooks, including details of species, if possible; and

appropriate mechanisms should be developed by the Compliance Committee to assess levels of compliance by CPCs with the Regional Observer Programme requirements and the mandatory measures described in Resolution 12/06.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 07 February 2014


Moult of young Black-browed Albatrosses based on at-sea photographs

Robert Flood ( St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, UK) has published in the 2104 issue of Seabird, the annual journal of the Seabird Group, on moult patterns of immature Black-browed Albatross  Thalassarche melanophris based on “hundreds” of photographs of  birds taken at sea.

Black-browed Albatross Denmark John Larsen 

Black-browed Albatross at sea, photograph by John Larsen


Flood, R.K. 2014.  Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris primary moult timing in the fourth prebasic moult.  Seabird 27: 98-103.

NOTE: the paper has no abstract and a complete PDF will be available online in May 2015.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 05 February 2015

Survival of Manx Shearwaters fledging from Skokholm Island

Chris Perrins (Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology, University of Oxford, UK) has published in the 2104 issue of Seabird, the annual journal of the Seabird Group, on survival of Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus banded as fledglings in the 1960s and 1970 on an island off Wales.

The paper’s abstract follows:

During an 11-year period starting in the mid-1960s, large numbers of fledgling Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus were ringed and recaptured on Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire, Wales.  Since it is unlikely that any more will ever be found, this paper summarises the factors that affected the chances of a fledgling surviving long enough to be recaptured on the island.  Both the date on which they were ringed and their weight at that time influenced the probability that they would be recaptured.  Some implications for the annual cycle are discussed.

Manx chick Scillies Jaclyn Pearson  

Manx Shearwater fledgling, photograph by Jaclyn Pearson


Perrins, C.M. 2014. Factors affecting survival of fledgling Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus.  Seabird 27: 62-71.

NOTE:  the complete PDF will become available online in May 2015.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 04 February 2015

Scopoli’s Shearwaters in the Mediterranean fly towards fishing harbours to forage

Jacopo Cecere (ISPRA - Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, Ozzano dell ’Emilia, Italy) and colleagues have published in the journal Ibis on the foraging habitat preferences of Scopoli’s Shearwaters Calonectris diomedea in the Mediterranean Sea.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“The distribution of seabirds at sea is influenced by physical, ecological and anthropogenic factors such as sea depth, prey distribution, intra-specific competition and commerical [sic] fishing activities.  We quantified the foraging habitat preferences of Scopoli’s Shearwater Calonectris diomedea in the Mediterranean Sea. We analysed habitat preferences in relation to a suite of physical and ecological variables including sea depth, net primary production and distance to other colonies (as a proxy of intra-specific competition).  Since the Mediterranean is heavily impacted by commercial fisheries, we also incorporated the distance to fishing harbours in our analyses as a proxy of the availability of discards which are a potential feeding source for Scopoli’s Shearwater.  Foraging birds preferred shallower waters and avoided areas close to other colonies, thereby reducing interactions with conspecifics.  We also found that long-distance trips were undertaken to areas close to fishing harbours, suggesting that these represented particularly profitable locations to compensate for the greater travelling costs involved.  No differences in foraging between the sexes were recorded.  This study improves our understanding of the at-sea distribution and habitat preference of a seabird inhabiting the over-exploited Mediterranean Sea.  Our results support growing evidence that seabirds exhibit complex relationships with commerical fishing activities, which must be considered when planning conservation programmes.”


Scopoli's Shearwater at sea, photograph by Jacob Gonzalez-Solis 

With thanks to Barry Baker for information.


Cecere, J.G., Catoni, C., Gaibani, G., Geraldes, P., Celada, C. & Imperio, S. 2015.  Commercial fisheries, inter-colony competition and sea depth affect foraging location of breeding Scopoli’s Shearwaters Calonectris diomedea.  Ibis  doi: 10.1111/ibi.12235.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 03 February 2015

Book review: “Albatross of Kaua’i. The Story of Kaloakulua”

Kaloakulua must now be pretty famous.  The offspring of Kaluahine and Kaluakane, a pair of Laysan Albatrosses Phoebastria immutabilis on the north-east shore of the USA’s Kauai Island, its growth from hatching to fledging was livestreamed for 148 days last year to thousands of online viewers by a “trosscam” operated by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

Seen the movie, now read the book!

Susan Dierker, a resident of Kauai, has written an account for children of Kaloakulua’s first year of life as a chick.  The hard-cover book of 44 pages is made up Susan’s evocative paintings of special scenes captured by the remote camera.  These include Kaloakualua (designated to be a female) being visited by a rooster called George, checking out some passing egrets and meeting up with Mango, another Laysan chick from a nearby nest.  At the end of the book the chick successfully fledges and flies out to sea.

Dierker front cover

Having brought up a daughter who had books read to her nightly until she could read them herself, I can classify children’s picture books into three types.  First, books with just illustrations for very young children, then those with a simple text for each picture so you can allow the child to see and follow the words you are reading out, then for older children those books where you can help them spell out the text themselves.  I place Susan Dierker’s nicely printed and bound book in between the second and third categories.  In fact, I wish I had it two decades back to read out at bedtime.

The short sentences accompanying each painting are all in large capitals and many of the words used come with their Hawaiian versions (for example a Laysan Albatross is a Mōlī and a chicken is a Moa).

The DVD has 10 clips from the livestreaming camera that well complement the book, including KK’s interaction with George.  All in all the book and DVD make a nice package to help persuade your offspring that albatrosses are seriously cool.

Kauai’s trosscam is back in operation again this year, following two nests that are hatching right now (click here); another book, Susan?

Click here to view ACAP’s listing of other children’s books on albatrosses and petrels: it’s been visited over 4700 times.


Dierker, Susan 2014.  Albatross of Kaua’i.  The Story of Kaloakulua.  Hanalei: Done by Dogs Publishing.  Unpaginated [44 pp] + DVD.  ISBN 978-0-9832386-2-1.  Hard cover with coloured illustrations.  US$ 20.00.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 02 February 2014

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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