FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
ALL ALBATROSS SPECIES NOW LISTED UNDER INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 13 May 2009 - The Norwegian Government recently hosted the Third Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) in Bergen, Norway. ACAP is a multilateral agreement that seeks to improve the conservation status of albatrosses and petrels, many of which are threatened with extinction, mainly as a result of bycatch in fishing operations.
There are currently 13 countries who are Parties to the Agreement, following the accession of Brazil, Norway and Uruguay since the last meeting. Valuable contributions were made to the meeting by Canada, Japan and the USA who are all Range States under the Agreement and attended the meeting in an Observer capacity, as well as by a number of non-governmental organisations.
A significant milestone was achieved at the meeting with the decision to include all three species of albatrosses from the northern hemisphere under the Agreement. As a result, all albatross species are now listed under ACAP, providing a global focus for the Agreement’s work, where previously it concentrated on species found in the southern hemisphere. It is hoped that one consequence of this action will be to foster the participation of more countries from the northern hemisphere, and particularly those that have significant high-seas fishing fleets that have the potential to catch albatrosses and petrels.
Another key outcome from the meeting was the decision to strengthen the Agreement’s links with regional fisheries management bodies (RFMOs) and other international organisations through the development of Memoranda of Understanding and through the exchange of specialist knowledge and expertise. This will enable better coordination of activities and harmonise conservation and policy approaches in order to provide better protection for seabirds listed under the Agreement.
The meeting also adopted an ambitious three-year work programme for the Agreement’s Advisory Committee, the scientific and technical body responsible for implementing the Action Plan to conserve albatrosses and petrels listed under ACAP. Under this work programme, efforts will be focused on improving the development and adoption of seabird bycatch mitigation measures in relevant fisheries, both domestic and on the high seas.
Attention will also be focused on addressing threats to albatrosses and petrels at their breeding sites, particularly with the eradication of introduced animals from island habitats that impact on the breeding success of these birds.
Parties resolved to continue to build on the high levels of cooperation fostered by the Agreement through the development of further capacity-building initiatives, particularly in the transference of knowledge and the building of partnerships.
Mr Warren Papworth
Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels
Posted 26 May 2009