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New Zealand Welcomes Spain's Support

6 May 2002

New Zealand Welcomes Spain's Support For Measures To Conserve Albatross And Petrels

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee today applauded Spain’s decision to add its support to an international agreement aimed at reducing the impact of long-line fishing on endangered albatross and petrel.

"Spain is the first major fishing nation to sign the international Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels. New Zealand and Australia have led the way in ratifying the agreement, which is designed to provide countries around the world with the information and techniques necessary to protect these threatened migratory birds.

“Spain’s support of this agreement is of great significance. As a major fishing country and as producers of long-line fishing gear, Spain’s commitment to this agreement is a major step forward in efforts to institute safe seabird practices worldwide.

“New Zealand has more albatross and petrel species than any other country and many migrate to other parts of the world where they are caught and killed by long-line fishing fleets.”

Ms Lee says the agreement is of vital importance to the conservation of migratory birds. “I urge other fishing nations to support the protection of albatross and petrel by adding their signatures to the agreement.

"Scientists estimate that about quarter of a million seabirds from breeding grounds in the Southern Ocean have died in the last three years as a result of longline fishing practices in the Southern Hemisphere.

"There are 47 albatross and petrel species that breed in New Zealand, 20 of which have breeding grounds only in New Zealand. The rarest of these endemic albatross is the Chatham Albatross which breeds on a single rock stack and has a world population of only 5000 pairs."

Spain’s Ambassador Jose Ramon Baranano signed the agreement on behalf of his country in Canberra last week. In addition to Spain, New Zealand and Australia, five other countries are also signatories to the agreement: Brazil, Chile, France, Peru and the United Kingdom.


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