Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

BirdLife hosts a Gadfly Petrel Conservation Group

The Albatross and Petrel Agreement currently covers all of the World's albatrosses and two genera of petrels, the two giant petrels Macronectes and the five large burrowing Procellaria petrels.  In addition at several ACAP meetings discussion has occurred on the advisability of adding selected species of shearwaters Calonectris and Puffinus to the Agreement, although to date no nominations have been made (click here)*.

A large group of seabirds belonging to the petrel family Procellariidae that is not currently covered or is being considered for listing by ACAP are the 36 gadfly petrels of the genera Pterodroma and Pseudobulweria, two-thirds of which have a globally threatened status (click here).

In order to address the serious plight of these species, the Gadfly Petrel Conservation Group was established in 2008/9 by the Global Seabird Programme of BirdLife International with the aim of improving knowledge and conservation status of the 32 species of Pterodroma and four Pseudobulweria petrels.  The aim of the group is to act as a resource for scientists working with gadfly petrels worldwide by providing an informal forum for sharing management experiences and knowledge to help advance their understanding and conservation.  The current membership of the group is close to one hundred.

Many gadfly petrels are known or are thought to share similar ecological requirements, both at their breeding sites and at sea.  Threats from introduced predators, habitat loss/alteration and vulnerability due to limited numbers of known breeding sites are a few of the common threats faced.  This makes the sharing of knowledge of management successes (and failures) of disproportionate importance to the future conservation of these species.

Interested persons may apply to join the electronic group by e-mailing Ben Lascelles at BirdLife's Global Seabird Programme on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  If approved, access to the group's web site will be forthcoming, allowing the 10 existing discussion groups and forum section to be followed and contributions to them to be made.

The gadfly group held its first meeting with an attendance of over 40 at the First World Seabird Conference in August last year (click here).

*See also: "A brief review of the conservation status of shearwaters Calonectris and Puffinus".  ACAP AC5 Inf 15.

With thanks to John Croxall and Ben Lascelles for information.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 13 January 2011

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