The World's rarest albatross gets an action plan, with help from the City of Amsterdam

The World's rarest albatross, the Amsterdam Albatross Diomedea amsterdamensis, breeds only on France's Ile Amsterdam in the southern Indian Ocean.  An action plan for the species was considered at the recent Sixth Meeting of the ACAP Advisory Committee held in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Dr Henri Weimerskirch presents the Amsterdam Albatross plan to the ACAP meeting
Phootograph by John Cooper

The Critically Endangered albatross has a total population of only 32 pairs (c. 210 individuals).  The action plan was launched by France in 2010, and has been in place since 2011.  The plan addresses the issues of gaining a better understanding of the risks facing the species and ways to limit whenever possible these risks.

Seven main actions will be carried out over the next five years, including the continuation of a long-term monitoring programme, the improvement of knowledge on the species' distribution at sea and overlap with longline fisheries, cooperation with regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs) to reduce bycatch risks, a study of the interactions between introduced predators and the Amsterdam Albatross, and measures to prevent dissemination and treat individuals in case of infection from disease.

The Advisory Committee meeting in Ecuador was informed that through BirdLife International's Preventing Extinctions Programme that the BirdLife Partner in the Netherlands, Vogelberscherming Nederland, had negotiated a sponsorship arrangement from the City of Amsterdam. The Dutch society was designated a BirdLife Species Champion for the Amsterdam Albatross in January 2011.  Through the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (the French BirdLife Partner) these funds will be used to work with the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in France to implement the action plan.

A report on the implementation of the Amsterdam Albatross Action Plan will be presented to the next meeting of the ACAP Advisory Committee, expected to be held in 2013.

Amsterdam Albatross.  Photograph by Scott Shaffer


France 2011.  National Plan of Actions for the Conservation of the Amsterdam Albatross Diomedea amsterdamensis in France.  22 pp.  AC6 Inf 06 Rev 1.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 9 September 2011

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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