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Albatross And Petrels Agreement Welcomed

The Forest and Bird Protection Society welcomed today's signing in Canberra of the international Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels.

Society spokesperson, Barry Weeber, said the agreement was a positive step forward in moves to eliminate the threats of fishing to albatross and petrels in the Southern Hemisphere.

"Over 50,000 albatross and petrels are killed annually in the southern ocean in a range of longline and trawl fisheries including southern blue fin tuna, toothfish and hoki fisheries.

Mr Weeber said Forest and Bird welcomed the lead that New Zealand was playing on this issue. "It is critical that all coastal states in the southern ocean and states who fish in the southern ocean sign this agreement."

"Internationally there must be action in fisheries to reduce the threat of extinction for a number of albatross and petrel species. Many of these species breed in New Zealand, including the magnificent wandering albatross."

Mr Weeber said it was also time New Zealand finalised the development of a national plan of action to reduce dramatically, if not eliminate, the deaths of seabirds in fisheries.

"Tuna fisheries, the ling fishery and the hoki fishery kill several thousand albatross and petrels annually in New Zealand waters.

"New Zealand must take bold steps if we are to hold up our heads internationally on seabird deaths in fisheries."

Mr Weeber said Forest and Bird was looking for speedy action from the Ministry of Fisheries and the Department of Conservation on the issue.

Ends

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