Global research highlighting the most important areas for albatross migration and breeding may yet help save these magical birds from extinction.
Satellite tracking data for 16 species of albatross and three petrel species, all of them threatened by commercial and pirate longline fishing, have been collated by BirdLife International, an alliance of conservation groups. Its report, Tracking Ocean Wanderers, highlights areas where longline fleets are putting seabirds at most risk. The report is a unique collaboration between scientists worldwide and should help determine action governments take to stop albatrosses and petrels becoming extinct.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, a keen advocate of the continuing campaign to protect the albatross has sent a letter of support for the project. In the letter, The Prince says: “I simply refuse to accept that these remarkable birds should be allowed to slide quietly into extinction, and particularly not when the damage is entirely man-made and easily preventable.” Commenting directly on the report, The Prince continues: “It brings together real data for the first time to show us where these gravely threatened birds are roving the oceans, enabling us to identify where they are most vulnerable and to safeguard their critical habitat.”
Cleo Small, International Marine Policy Officer at BirdLife International said: “Identifying areas where albatrosses and fishermen overlap is a crucial conservation step. To save these birds from extinction, the fishing industry, government and conservationists need to collaborate to implement simple, innovative and effective initiatives to reduce seabird mortality across all oceanic waters, regardless of their jurisdiction. “This research could not be more timely. It will focus minds on exactly what needs to be done to save these magnificent seabirds and where that action is most urgent.”
John Croxall, Head of Conservation Biology, British Antarctic Survey said: “The data, and the results presented in this report, will be of immense assistance in developing the work of the new ACAP.”
Cath Harris | alfa
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