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F&B Joins Albatross And Petrel Campaign

New Zealand’s Leading Conservation Organisation Joins Birdlife International’s Albatross And Petrel Campaign

BirdLife International warmly welcomes the New Zealand Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society’s involvement in the International Albatross and Petrel Campaign.

“Saving the world's Albatross and petrel needs governments, fishery management organisations, seabird conservation experts and fishers to collaborate and implement the solutions that already exist and which are beneficial to all parties” says Leon Viljoen coordinator of BirdLife International ‘s Seabird Programme. “This is a hugely significant issue for New Zealand, which has more albatross and petrel species than any other country on the planet.”

Over 100,000 albatross and petrels are killed in fisheries around the world each year. Some populations of albatross have declined by 90% in 60 years.

“Extinction for some albatross and petrel species is imminent unless fishing fleets are better controlled, and informed of the problem we all face”, says Mr Viljoen. “We call upon the New Zealand Government to take all possible steps to reduce albatross and petrel by-catch in its waters to near zero. Because of the importance of this conservation issue to New Zealand, it is essential New Zealand sets an example the rest of the world can follow.

For further information contact:

Leon Vilijoen

BirdLife International’s Save the Albatross Campaign

P.O. Box 1586

Stellenbosch

South Africa

7599

Tel: +27 21 886 9222

http://www.birdlife.org/seabirds/index.cfm

Eric Pyle, Forest and Bird’s Conservation Manager, Tel. 04 385 7374 (work), 04 233 2993 (home), 025 227 8420

Barry Weeber, Forest and Bird’s Senior Researcher, Tel. 04 385 7374, 04 389 1696 (home)

See also related Press Release from Forest and Bird.

BirdLife's Campaign

BirdLife's Save the Albatross Campaign was formally launched at the British Birdwatching Fair in 2000. However, prior to that, BirdLife had been active in the conservation of the world's seabirds. (see http://www.birdlife.org/seabirds/index.cfm)

Campaign targets

The overall Save the Albatross campaign target is to reduce the number of seabird death caused by the longlining fishing industry to a sustainable level.

To achieve this, over the next two years, BirdLife will focus on:

- Raising public awareness of the problem. If people are aware of the issue, they can help exert pressure directly on the fishing industry, for example by only buying fish that has been fully accredited as "Albatross-friendly" and landed by a legal fishing vessel.

- Urge governments of relevant longlining nations to develop and implement National Plans of Action within the UN FAO framework.

- Urge governments of relevant longlining nations to sign and ratify ACAP and implement its conservation actions.

- Work closely with Regional Fishery Management Organisations (RFMOs) to ensure that seabird mitigation measures are routinely adopted during fishing operations.

- Urge international and national authorities to tackle the illegal "Pirate" fishing industry.

- Monitor and evaluate the by-catch problem, assessing the latest available scientific evidence on seabird populations.

- Collaborate with relevant bodies to promote and develop effective solutions and mitigation measures.

- Resource and equip national BirdLife Partners to campaign on this issue world-wide, and ensure a co-ordinated and cohesive campaign is delivered at global, regional and national levels.

Key BirdLife achievements to date

1998: Technical Review by BirdLife for UN-FAO of longline fisheries worldwide, as part of the basis for the FAO's International Plan of Action (IPOA-Seabirds).

1999-2001: BirdLife helped to shape the international Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) under the Bonn Convention. ACAP was opened for signature in June 2001.

2000-2001: BirdLife influenced an FAO International Plan of Action on Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported or 'pirate' fishing (adopted by FAO in 2001).

2000-2001: Developing a Global Environment Facility (World Bank) application to promote seabird-friendly longline fishing in developing southern hemisphere countries.

2001: Hosted workshop in Uruguay to promote solutions to the seabird by-catch problem in South America.

Ongoing: BirdLife Partners around the world are advising and assisted governments in drafting seabird regulations and training curricula for fishers and scientific observers.


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