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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Live captures have major implications for assessing impact of fisheries on seabirds

hooked wandering albatross british antarctic survey

A hooked Wandering Albatross gets a second chance, photograph from the British Antarctic Survey

Richard Phillips and Andy Wood (British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK) have published in the journal Biological Conservation on the substantial proportions of birds bycaught in longline fisheries alive.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Bycatch of seabirds in longline fisheries includes mortalities and live captures (mainly during hauling). Excluding outliers, the latter accounts for 5–70% (mean 40.4%) of all bycaught birds in demersal, and 3–23% (mean 10.7%) in pelagic longline fisheries. The proportion that later die from injuries is unknown, and this cryptic mortality complicates efforts to quantify fisheries impacts. Over a 26-year period at South Georgia, foul-hooking indices - birds with embedded hooks or entangled among tens of thousands checked at the colony - were broadly similar in wandering albatrosses Diomedea exulans and giant petrels Macronectes spp., an order of magnitude lower in black-browed albatrosses Thalassarche melanophris and nil in two other albatross species. This likely reflected differing degrees of overlap with fisheries and interaction with gear during hauling. Indices peaked in the early-mid 2000s, then declined, broadly corresponding with changing fishing practices, including the lagged effect of a seasonal fisheries-closure, introduction of a new fishing system, reduced effort in some demersal fisheries and general improvements in bycatch mitigation. Foul-hooking indices at colonies can therefore reflect relative risk for different species over time, and be a useful adjunct to vessel-based monitoring of live-capture rates. Taking into account age and status when reported, and annual survival probabilities, subsequent survival of live-caught and released wandering albatrosses was around 40% of that expected for the wider population. This has major implications for ecological risk assessments that seek to determine the impacts ofisheries on seabirds, as most do not currently consider deleterious impacts of live capture.”

With thanks to Richard Phillips.


Phillips, R.A. & Wood, A.G. 2020.  Variation in live-capture rates of albatrosses and petrels in fisheries, post-release survival and implications for management.  Biological Conservation 247.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 05 June 2020

Australia displays World Albatross Day banners on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island

Macca AAD Finn and Arvid 1 

Australian Antarctic Division’s Station Leader Finn Taylor (left) and Chef Arvid Brinkkemper display their WAD 2020 banner on Macquarie Island

As part of raising awareness of the inaugural World Albatross Day on 19 June ACAP has been challenging field teams working with albatrosses at breeding localities or going to sea as observers on fishing vessels to make a suitably-worded banner advertising ‘WAD2020’.

Australia has now joined seven other ACAP Parties and two non-Party albatross breeding range states in the World Albatross Day banner challenge by displaying two different banners on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island last month.  This brings near-complete coverage of sub-Antarctic island groups in the Southern Ocean; the only exception being Australia’s Heard and McDonald Islands – uninhabited and rarely visited.  Banners or posters have now been displayed on 22 islands with breeding albatrosses, some more than once at different times and localities (click here).

On Macquarie the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) works closely with rangers from Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service to protect the values of the island and its albatross populations.

Jonathon Barrington of the AAD and Australia’s National Representative to ACAP writes to ACAP Latest News: “Australia is home to 19 albatross species and is an original signatory and Party to the Albatross and Petrel Agreement.  It works domestically as well as with other range states and high seas fishing nations to protect albatrosses globally.”  He adds “Macquarie Island, a World Heritage Site, supports a rich diversity of seals, penguins, flying seabirds, invertebrates and plants.  It is home to populations of four out of the five albatross species that breed within Australia’s jurisdiction - Wandering Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross and Light-mantled Albatross.  Through the joint efforts of the Australian and Tasmanian Governments, rabbits, rats and mice were declared eradicated from Macquarie Island in 2014 [click here], and cats in a separate programme before then in 2000.  It was the world’s largest pest eradication of its kind.  There were considerable logistical challenges in undertaking this eradication 1500 km south-east of Tasmania in the sub-Antarctic and we owe a debt of gratitude to all those involved for their efforts.”

Finn Taylor, Macquarie Island Station Leader writes “The AAD is proud to support ACAP and World Albatross Day, working in partnership to protect habitats for these amazing seabirds.”  He notes that “the island’s recovery is impressive and the flora and fauna have bounced back, with tussock grasses providing cover for albatross chicks and those of other seabirds”.

Macca taspws world albatross day banner

Sara Larcombe, Wildlife Ranger (left) and Chris Howard, Ranger in Charge with their Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service banner and Wandering Albatross decoys (and Southern Elephant Seals) at the Macquarie Island landing beach, photograph by George Brettingham-Moore

Chris Howard, Ranger in Charge on Macquarie says “Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service is the agency responsible for the overall management of the Macquarie Island Nature Reserve and its natural resources.  Its rangers are actively involved on the island in many aspects of monitoring and management of the avifauna, including albatrosses.  The Australian Antarctic Division operates a base at the northern end of the island (the Isthmus) and provides logistical support that enables the rangers to operate in the challenging wind-swept location.  A very collaborative relationship!”

Jessica Fitzpatrick, Media Production Manager, Corporate Communications, Australian Antarctic Division and Dixie Makro, Graphic Designer & Image Library Manager, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service undertook the artwork for their respective banners.  Thanks also go to Jonathon Barrington, Chris Howard, Sara Larcombe and Finn Taylor.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 04 June 2020

Aves y Conservación-Birdlife in Ecuador, supports the celebration of World Albatross Day

Texto en español más abajo

Aves y Conservacion

Aves y Conservación is the Ecuadorian Foundation for the Research and Conservation of Birds and their Habitats.  Its Executive Director, Juan Carlos Valarezo, has written to ACAP Latest News in support of World Albatross Day as described here.

We are a non-profit, non-governmental organization created in 1986 by a group of ornithologists and bird enthusiasts.  Aves y Conservación is the national partner of BirdLife International in Ecuador.  We are part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the National Working Group for the Conservation of the Andean Condor, the Ecuadorian Coordinator of Organizations for the Defence of Nature and the Environment (CEDENMA) and the South American Initiative to Restore Andean Forests  (ACCIÓN ANDINA).

Juan Carlos Valarezo shrunk

Juan Carlos Valarezo, Executive Director, Aves y Conservación

Our mission is to contribute to the conservation of the birds, their habitats and the biodiversity of Ecuador for the benefit of its people and with their active participation.

For more than 10 years we have carried out a Shorebird Conservation Programme along the coast of Ecuador; coordinating research actions, environmental education and strengthening local capacities with communities, fishers and crab associations, universities and local governments.  We are currently updating the Action Plan for the Conservation of Shorebirds of Ecuador, as a joint work with other conservation organizations, local actors and with the endorsement of the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment.

In 2018 we published, together with other Ecuadorian conservation organizations and independent researchers, the Red List for Birds of continental Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands; a management tool that had not been updated since its original publication in 2002.

In continental Ecuador we lead a study of the Critically Endangered Black-breasted Puffleg Eriocnemis nigrivestis, an endemic hummingbird threatened by deforestation and transformation of its habitat.  From 2018 we have been working with women from rural communities in the propagation of more than 20 species of native plants that the species feeds on and in the enrichment of degraded habitats as part of our reforestation programme.

We have worked on the study and conservation of the endemic and Critically Endangered Galapagos Petrel Pterodroma phaeopygia, studying the distribution of its breeding sites outside the protected area in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island and exploring the highlands of Isabela Island in search of new breeding sites.  Our investigations on Santa Cruz allowed for the protection of numerous breeding sites on private lands; as well as avoiding the construction of a wind farm which would have seriously affected the petrel’s flight routes.

We support the conservation of the Critically Endangered Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata, a seabird that breeds only in Ecuador.  More than 99% of its population breeds on Española Island.  These magnificent birds begin their reproductive stage at six to seven years of age and can live up to 40 years. During its reproductive stage, the Galapagos Albatross moves between Española Island and the coast of Ecuador and Peru in search of food for their young.  During these long trips the Waved Albatross is fatally caught by fishing hooks.  Birds are also intentionally caught for food and others die from ingesting plastic that they mistake for food.

Waved Albatross Aves y Conservacion

The Critically Endangered Waved Albatross breeds only within Ecuador

In 2018, we participated in the update of the Waved Albatross Conservation Action Plan.  As partners of BirdLife International, we work for the protection and conservation of threatened bird species and their habitats, including pelagic seabirds such as albatrosses and petrels.  These majestic birds face threats that must be overcome through coordinated multi-sectoral work between States and grassroots organizations in the countries where these birds are distributed.  Environmental education and awareness are key to mobilizing community action and providing support for the urgent conservation measures that these seabirds require.

 In 2020 Aves y Conservación - BirdLife in Ecuador will join in the celebration of World Albatross Day as an opportunity to improve knowledge about this enigmatic group of birds in danger of disappearing and to strengthen and scale up efforts for their protection.

With thanks to Juan Carlos Valarezo, Executive Director, Aves y Conservación.

Verónica López, Chair, ACAP World Albatross Day Intersessional Group & John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 03 June 2020


Aves y Conservación - BirdLife en Ecuador apoya la celebración del Día Mundial del Albatros

Aves y Conservacion 

Aves y Conservación es la Fundación Ecuatoriana para la Investigación y Conservación de las Aves y sus Hábitat. Somos una organización no gubernamental sin fines de lucro, creada en 1986 por un grupo de ornitólogos y aficionados a las aves. Somos el socio de BirdLife International en Ecuador. Formamos parte de la Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (UICN), del Grupo Nacional de Trabajo para la Conservación del Cóndor Andino, de la Coordinadora Ecuatoriana de Organizaciones para la Defensa de la Naturaleza y el Medio Ambiente (CEDENMA); y de la iniciativa sudamericana de restauración de bosques andinos (ACCIÓN ANDINA).

Juan Carlos Valarezo shrunk

Juan Carlos Valarezo, Director Ejecutivo, Aves y Conservación

Nuestra Misión es aportar a la conservación de las aves, sus hábitat y la biodiversidad del Ecuador, en beneficio de la gente y con su participación activa.

Por más de diez años llevamos a cabo un Programa de Conservación de Aves Playeras en la Costa de Ecuador; coordinando acciones de investigación, educación ambiental y fortalecimiento de capacidades locales con comunidades, asociaciones de pescadores y cangrejeros, universidades y gobiernos locales. Actualmente estamos actualizando el Plan de Acción para la Conservación de las Aves Playeras de Ecuador, a través de un trabajo conjunto con otras organizaciones de conservación, actores locales y el aval del Ministerio del Ambiente.

  En 2018, publicamos junto con otras organizaciones de conservación e investigadores independientes ecuatorianos la Lista Roja de Aves del Ecuador Continental e Islas Galápagos; herramienta de gestión que no había sido actualizada desde su publicación original en el año 2002.

En Ecuador continental, lideramos el estudio del también Críticamente Amenazado Zamarrito Pechinegro Eriocnemis nigrivestis, uno de los colibríes endémicos de Ecuador más amenazados del mundo por causa de la deforestación y transformación de su hábitat. Desde 2018 trabajamos con mujeres de comunidades rurales en la propagación de más de veinte especies de plantas nativas de las que se alimenta y su uso para el enriquecimiento de hábitats degradados como parte de nuestro programa de reforestación.

Hemos trabajado en el estudio y conservación del Petrel de Galápagos Pterodroma phaeopygia, estudiando la distribución de sus zonas de anidación fuera del área protegida en las tierras altas de la Isla Santa Cruz y explorando las tierras altas de la isla Isabela en busca de nuevas zonas de reproducción. Nuestras investigaciones en Santa Cruz permitieron proteger numerosas zonas de anidación en tierras privadas y evitar la construcción de un parque eólico; el cual afectaría gravemente las rutas de vuelo de esta ave marina endémica de Galápagos.

Waved Albatross Aves y Conservacion


Apoyamos la conservación del Albatros de Galápagos Phoebastria irrorata; ave marina que únicamente se reproduce en las Islas Galápagos (Ecuador) y se encuentra en Peligro Crítrico.  Más del 99% de su población anida exclusivamente en la isla Española, muy cerca a la línea ecuatorial. Estas magníficas aves inician su etapa reproductiva a los 6-7 años de edad y pueden vivir hasta los 40 años.  Durante su etapa reproductiva, el Albatros de Galápagos se moviliza entre la isla Española y las costa de Ecuador y Perú en busca de alimento para sus crías. Durante estos largos viajes, el Albatros de Galápagos es capturado mortalmente por los anzuelos utilizados en las labores de pesca. Otras aves son capturadas intencionalmente para alimentación y muchas otras mueren debido a la ingestión de plástico que confunden con alimento.

En 2018 participamos en la actualización del Plan de Acción para la Conservación del Albatros de Galápagos. Como socios de BirdLife International, trabajamos por la protección y conservación de las especies de aves amenazadas y sus hábitat; entre las que se incluyen aves marinas pelágicas como los Albatros. Estas majestuosas aves enfrentan amenazas que deben ser superadas a través de un trabajo multisectorial coordinado entre los Estados y las organizaciones de base en los países donde estas aves se distribuyen. La educación y sensibilización ambiental es clave para movilizar la acción comunitaria y brindar el soporte a las urgentes medidas de conservación que estas aves marinas requieren.

En 2020, Aves y Conservación - BirdLife en Ecuador se une a la celebración del Día Mundial del Albatros, como una oportunidad para mejorar el conocimiento sobre este enigmático grupo de aves en peligro de desaparecer y la necesidad de fortalecer y escalar los esfuerzos para su protección.

Verónica López, Presidenta, Grupo Intersesional del Día Mundial del Albatros de ACAP y John Cooper, Oficial de Información de ACAP, 03 June 2020

One for the young: the Albatross Colouring-in Competition will celebrate World Albatross Day

A Colouring in challenge

Home schooling your children in the face of COVID-19?  Or are the children you teach returning to your classroom or are about to?  ACAP has come up with a way to keep young children occupied and entertained for an hour or two: the very first World Albatross Day Colouring-in Competition!

Earlier this year ACAP collaborated with Artists and Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN) to produce a series of posters and individual artworks depicting the 22 species of the world’s albatrosses to mark and help support the inaugural World Albatross Day (‘WAD2020’) on the 19th of this month.  ABUN artists were also requested to try their hand at line drawings, suitable to be coloured in by children (or young-at-heart adults).  One drawing for each species has been selected for the competition, listed by species’ name below as downloadable PDFs.

To enter the competition, simply download drawings by clicking below the chosen photographs, colour in as many as wished, write the name and age of the child in the available blank space on each one, then scan or photograph the finished drawings and e-mail them to Write “Colouring-in Competition” in the Subject Field and the child’s name and age and your e-mail address in the body of the message.  There is no limit to the number of entries submitted per child.

It is not essential-to colour in the albatrosses with realistic colours.  In fact, artistic license is encouraged, so hoping to see at least one COVID-19 rainbow albatross.  But if it is wished to stay realistic look at the photographs on which the line drawings are based.

Entries will be assigned to age classes depending on the numbers received.  Four judges of international standing (see below) will then decide on the winners and runners-up for each age category.  All entrants will receive a specially designed electronic certificate illustrated with an ABUN albatross painting for printing and prize-winners will in addition receive a high-quality albatross poster suitable for framing by mail.

 Light mantled Albatross Oli Prince Marion Schön

Light-mantled Albatross by Marion Schön, from a photograph (see below) by Oli Prince

The competition will close at the end of June, allowing time for drawings coloured in on World Albatross Day itself time to be submitted. Judging will take place in July with the expectation prizes can be posted shortly thereafter.

Get out your crayons!


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Dana Hargrove stands by a print of her artwork “Cairn 2013”, photograph by John Cooper

Dana Hargrove

“My first encounter with the marvellous albatross was on a college trip to a volcanic archipelago of islands called the Galapagos.  We anchored for the day at Española Island where we encountered many Waved Albatrosses nesting, mating and conducting life, uninhibited by us tourists.  Amazed when the guide told us that their wingspan is 8 feet [2.4 m] across, we were thrilled to see one of these birds try to land.  It was eventually successful, with a bounce or two, and was welcomed by its mate with many clacks of the bill.  I spent some time drawing the albatrosses in my Visual Journal, enthralled by their behaviour and beauty.”

Dana Hargrove, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, is a Professor of Studio Art at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, USA where she now resides.  Hargrove concerns herself with ideas that frame our perceptions of the land and our sense of place and space; she employs a range of media from photography, collage, sculpture and installed paintings.  Represented by the Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia and Snap! in Orlando, she continues to exhibit her work both internationally and nationally.

 Kitty Harvill.1

Kitty Harvill holds the children’s book on Wisdom the Laysan Albatross that she illustrated

Kitty Harvill

“I fell in love with Wisdom, the 68-year old Midway Laysan Albatross, while creating illustrations for the book by the same name.  She’s well named, and has much to teach us as conservationists and activists battling for the survival of our planet - patience, perseverance and setting an example by making waves that will carry forward, further than we might ever have dreamed.”

Kitty Harvill, Signature Member, Artists for Conservation; Co-founder, ABUN - Artists & Biologists Unite for Nature; illustrator, Wisdom: the Midway Albatross: Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and other Disasters for over 60 Years.
 Caren Loebel Fried Midway photog Dan Clark

Caren Loebel-Fried sketches an incubating Laysan Albatross on Midway Atoll, photograph by Dan Clark

Caren Loebel-Fried

“The albatross has long been my muse.  Traveller of vast distances on long, thin, glider wings, passionate dancer, exuberant vocalizer, so committed to a mate and a youngster.  I’ve been lucky to know albatrosses, but their lives are mostly hidden from us humans.  Our lack of awareness makes them even more vulnerable than they already are.  World Albatross Day, a yearly celebration of these incredible creatures, brings the albatross into our lives, and knowledge can spark the desire to protect our natural world.”

Caren Loebel-Fried, award-winning author, artist and naturalist from Volcano, Hawai‘i, has created eight storybooks to date, including A Perfect Day for an Albatross, Manu, the Boy who Loved Birds and Hawaiian Legends of the Guardian Spirits. Birds, conservation, culture and the natural world are the foundation for her work, which incorporates the ancient art of block printing, taught to her by her mother.

 Laurie Johnson South Georgia 

Laurie Smaglick Johnson at a King Penguin colony in the South Atlantic

Laurie Smaglick Johnson

“Having spent most of my career in office buildings, from my view, the lifestyle of the albatross embodies the meaning of freedom.  Their ability to fly thousands of kilometres non-stop for days, weeks and months; to soar dynamically and blissfully in weather that sends humans rushing for cover; to circumnavigate the earth without the trappings of vehicles - all come together to create what can only be described as magical in the minds of human beings. Each and every time I am in their presence, I feel this magic in every fibre of my being.  It imy hope that World Albatross Day will bring much needed attention to the things we, the human species, do that harm these incredible creatures.  We must teach our children to love and respect all other species on the planet as much as our own.”

USA-based Laurie Smaglick Johnson has been engaged in conservation photography for 25 years.  She has photographed albatrosses in both hemispheres, with her donated portfolio of stunning images covering 17 species.  Laurie's focus as a photographer has always been on the behaviours of birds, resulting in interesting albatross ‘action shots’ taken both on land and at sea.  Laurie, now retired, describes herself as an electrical engineer and corporate executive by education and career experience; a scientist by thought process; and a conservationist by heart.

And the original photo of the Light-mantled Albatross by Oli Prince:

Light mantled Albatross Oli Prince

 John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 02 June 2020

Hawaii’s Kure Atoll advertises World Albatross Day with a ‘virtual banner’

Kure banner Andrew Sullivan Haskins

Photograph and design of a 'virtual' WAD2020 banner, by Andrew Sullivan-Haskins

Andrew Sullivan-Haskins is the Field Leader for the Kure Atoll Wildlife Sanctuary within the State of Hawaii’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Department of Land and Natural Resources.  Following an approach from ACAP Latest News he has replied in support of World Albatross Day with a ‘virtual banner’.  Andrew writes:

short tailed albatross kure cynthia  vanderlip

One of the female-female pair of Short-tailed Albatrosses on Kure Atoll - with their two infertile eggs, photograph from Kure Atoll Conservancy

“Kure Atoll is considered one of the most remote spots on the planet and lies approximately 2250 km north-west of Honolulu on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.  Due to its extremely remote location, and our limited communication options, we are unable to send pictures via the internet.  Field teams are generally switched out twice per year and are typically deployed for field seasons ranging from five to eight months, sometimes without a re-supply.

In addition to the Critically Endangered Laysan Duck Anas layensis and Hawaiian Monk Seal Neomonachus schauinslandi, Kure is home to 18 species of seabirds, including the Laysan Albatross, Black-footed Albatross and the Vulnerable Short-tailed Albatross.  Our mission is to support the State of Hawaii's ongoing habitat restoration and other wildlife management programs that enhance the biological diversity, ecosystem health and cultural resources of Kure Atoll in the North-western Hawaiian Archipelago.

Andrew Sullivan-Haskins on Kure with a Laysan Albatross – and beached litter, photograph by Saxony Charlot

"For anyone who has seen or spent time near an albatross, and taken the time to observe their powerful yet graceful flight, their loving and nurturing nature, their intricate dance routines, and their remarkable ability to make you laugh and to make you cry they are humbling.  Persistent with their dedication to their own species, despite humankind's best efforts to impede these great travellers, they remain resilient.  Throughout their potentially long-lived lives, albatross battle the harshest conditions that both humankind and nature can throw at them, from Tiger Sharks Galeocerdo cuvier to long lines, flooding and disease, plastic ingestion, entanglements, and habitat loss.  World Albatross Day can help to illuminate the beauty and struggle of these seabirds, as well as many of the plants and animals around the world that are at risk due to man-made climate change, unsustainable human practices, loss of critical habitat, forces of nature, and a myriad of other challenges that inevitably lie ahead.  How each and every human being decides to live their life will impact the future of all remaining species.”

Environmental management on Kure Atoll is supported by volunteers from the Kure Atoll Conservancy, which has offered its own support for 'WAD2020'.

With thanks to Ilana Nimz and Cynthia Vanderlip, Kure Atoll Conservancy.

Andrew Sullivan-Haskins, Field Leader, Kure Atoll Wildlife Sanctuary, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, with John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 01 June 2020