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World Oceans Day: Protection For Albatrosses

Press Release
6 June 2002

Credit: chatham albatross photograph by Chris Robertson

World Oceans Day: protection for albatrosses

New Zealand still does not have a National Plan of Action for the protection of seabirds, almost a year after signing the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels in Canberra.

“A national plan for protecting New Zealand’s many unique seabirds was supposed to be announced last July; then it was November; then it was the new year, and now it’s meant to come this July”, says WWF Director of Conservation Chris Howe.

“WWF is funding research into New Zealand’s rarest albatross, the Chatham albatross. This and many other New Zealand species of albatross are being hooked on fishers’ long lines and drowned. Research shows that some populations are declining at a frightening rate.”

“A National Plan of Action is urgently needed to put measures in place to stop this decline.”

“Albatrosses live for up to sixty years and only lay one egg each season; they also exist in some of the world’s toughest climatic conditions. When albatrosses are killed, all these factors mean that populations are very slow to recover. Nobody knows what effect the long line fishing death toll will have on albatrosses in the long run, but it could be an ecological disaster.”

“Let’s remember New Zealand’s albatrosses on World Oceans Day, and urge the government to give them the protection they need as soon as possible.”

For further information on albatrosses visit www.wwf.org.nz/conservation

For further information contact:
Megan Huber, Communications Manager, WWF New Zealand
Tel: (04) 499-2930 Fax: (04) 499-2954 Megan.huber@wwf.org.nz

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