Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

All albatross species now covered by ACAP UPDATED

On 29 April 2009, ACAP’s Meeting of Parties agreed to add the three North Pacific albatrosses to the list of species covered by the Agreement.  The addition of these three species now means that all albatross species worldwide are covered by the Agreement. The additions – Black-footed Phoebastria nigripes, Laysan Phoebastria immutabilis andShort-tailed Phoebastria albatrus albatrosses – have been the subject of conservation actions by countries around the North Pacific for many years.  USA, Canada and Japan were all present in the meeting where the additions were made, offering substantial information to the Parties in their consideration of the listing. Although the Canada and USA have contributed to a number of important ACAP initiatives to date, the additions will enhance the mutual exchange of lessons and experiences and will lead to a seamless convergence of knowledge between the two hemispheres.

The addition of the three species brings two relatively abundant species (Black-footed and Laysan) to the Agreement but also one of the rarest.  Short-tailed albatrosses used to be abundant prior to a period of mass slaughter for the feather trade in the late 1800s and early 1900s. By the middle of the 1900s, it was believed that the species had become extinct. The species was confirmed breeding on their main breeding island (Torishima, Japan) in 1950 and since then numbers have grown steadily at that site. Breeding was confirmed at another of the traditional sites in the early 1970s.  The global population is now believed to be in excess of 2300 birds and appears to be increasing. Studies have shown that the species uses much of the continental shelf of countries surrounding the North Pacific when not breeding.

These three species face many of the same types of threats as do the albatross species currently in Annex 1 of the Agreement.  Click here and scroll down to MoP3 Inf papers 06-08 for the ACAP Species Assessments for the three new albatrosses. 

Updated 16 May 2009