Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Mixed news for the Amsterdam Albatross - ACAP's rarest species

The Amsterdam Albatross Diomedea amsterdamensis is endemic to France's Amsterdam Island in the southern Indian Ocean and is ACAP's  rarest listed species.  When first described as a full species (as recently as 1983) there were only nine breeding pairs present on the island, with a low of five in 1984.  The breeding population has risen over the years to 26 annually breeding pairs in 2007 (with a peak of 32 pairs in 2001 after a previous poor breeding season).

The good news of this approximate five-fold increase is offset by continuing concern that the bird remains at risk from the twin effects of longline mortality and climate change.  This concern is discussed in a paper published on-line in the January 2010 issue of the ornithological journal Ibis by Phillipe Rivalan and colleagues at the Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé in France (www.cebc.cnrs.fr).  The paper concludes that an additional annual mortality of only six birds would "rapidly put this species at risk of extinction" and calls for the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) to address the longlining mortality issue.

Click here to view the ACAP Species Assessment for the Amsterdam Albatross.  See also http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120817408/abstract.

Reference:

Rivalan, P., Barbraud, C., Inchausti, P. & Weimerskirch, H. 2010.  Combined impacts of longline fisheries and climate on the persistence of the Amsterdam Albatross Diomedia [sic] amsterdamensisIbis 152: 6-18.  http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/122684273/PDFSTART.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 28 December 2009