Albatross report takes flight


Action to safeguard endangered species

Black-browed albatross ©
Albatrosses and their slightly smaller relatives are one of the most threatened bird groups on the planet, based on internationally agreed standards for conservation  assessment. The UK has a particular responsibility for conserving these giants of the seabird world as many nest on UK’s Overseas Territories in the south Atlantic and feed in waters nearby. Globally the greatest threat to albatrosses is their accidental capture on fishing lines or collisions with trawl wires. The rate of reproduction of albatrosses is low, hence additional mortality can have a very adverse effect on populations. Albatrosses range throughout the Southern Ocean and further north in the Pacific, so their conservation has to be a global effort. Many of the states in the range of albatrosses have therefore drawn up and started to implement the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP). Countries who are party to ACAP meet regularly to discuss common cooperative needs and to agree on actions or initiatives to be taken. Mark Tasker of JNCC is chair of the Advisory Committee to the ACAP. This Committee meets annually.
In order to understand and prioritise the work in UK and our Overseas Territories, a workshop was held in Stanley (Falkland Islands) in March 2006. The workshop was organised by BirdLife International and Falklands Conservation, with funding from Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP) and the Falkland Islands Government.  JNCC funded the production of the report of the workshop.
Key actions agreed included:
  • More effective engagement by the EC and UK (on behalf of its Overseas Territories) in Regional Fishery Management Organisations. These organisations have the potential to regulate the environmental impact of fisheries, including for seabird interactions.
  •  Appointment of a dedicated person in the UK to represent Overseas Territories on ACAP and fisheries issues, particularly the environmental aspects.
  • Establishment of an effective fishery protection regime for the Tristan da Cunha group.
  • Greater protection to be given for breeding sites, including extension to adjacent marine areas, via appropriately managed marine protected areas.
  • Improved biosecurity measures to prevent introduction of pests and diseases, including within island groups.
  • Programmes implemented to eradicate rodents from breeding sites.
Further information on albatross conservation is available from ACAP
The report of the workshop in Stanley is available from Falklands Conservation, 1 Princes Avenue, Finchley, London N3 2DA, price £10 and is also available electronically.
Contact file:
Mark Tasker
Head of Marine Advice
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 655701