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Funding Boost For Seabird Conservation

SOUTHERN SEABIRD SOLUTIONS

Conservation through Cooperation

Media Release

29 September 2003

Funding Boost For Seabird Conservation

Southern Seabird Solutions is delighted to announce that it has secured funding for several international seabird conservation projects.

It has received funding to establish a seabird/fisheries advisory officer in South Africa, produce a package of seabird conservation resources for fishers in Chile and Peru, and for two South Americans to visit New Zealand in November.

The convenor of Southern Seabird Solutions, Janice Molloy, who also heads the Department of Conservation's seabird conservation programme, says the funding has been achieved as a result of partnerships with other organisations.

"It's fantastic getting this money because the seabirds that we think of as New Zealand birds actually travel throughout the southern hemisphere, visiting places like South Africa and the South American region," she says.

"This money will be spent on projects that will contribute in a very real way to bringing about changes in the fishing industry, and we expect that these changes will in turn reduce the number of birds accidentally killed while fishing."

Funding/Project details:

- Southern Seabird Solutions, in partnership with WWF, has received just over $NZ11,000 from a fund organised by the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). This fund is raised from donations following lectures to cruise ship passengers during the Antarctic tourism season each year. The grant will be used to establish a seabird/fisheries advisory officer in South Africa to work with fishers and fleets on seabird identification and conservation awareness.

WWF South Africa's Programme Manager: Marine, Dr Deon Nel, says his organisation is proud to be involved in this project.

"Albatrosses are able to travel vast distances and the conservation of even one species is dependent on partnerships between many stakeholders in countries that are geographically far apart," he says. "This presents a real challenge to the global community, to set aside our differences and work together towards ensuring the survival of these magnificent oceanic seabirds while at the same time ensuring that our fisheries are maintained in a responsible and sustainable manner."

Meanwhile, Samantha Petersen, Birdlife South Africa's Seabird Conservation Programme Manager, says: "I'm proud to be part of this exciting, new, collaborative project to protect a global commons, the shy albatross."

- Southern Seabird Solutions has received $5000 from the Ornithological Congress Trust to produce a package of seabird conservation resources for Chilean and Peruvian fishing fleets. These will help fishers identify vulnerable seabird species, show how to remove seabirds from fishing hooks, and explain the range of measures available to reduce the likelihood of their accidental capture during fishing.

- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has agreed to make funds available from its Latin America Strategy Fund for a visit of two South Americans - from Peru and Chile - to New Zealand in November, to attend the Southern Seabird Solutions annual meeting in Auckland and to build relationships with New Zealand fishers who are actively working on seabird conservation. South America is a key audience for Southern Seabird Solutions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's involvement is consistent with the Government's Latin America Strategy which aims to develop closer, self-sustaining links with Latin America across a broad range of interests.

ENDS

Background:

Seabirds forage far and wide across the oceans and they have learnt that commercial fishing vessels are an easy source of food. Thousands of seabirds in the southern hemisphere die each year when they dive on baited fishing hooks and are then pulled under the water.

Southern Seabird Solutions was formed in July 2002 to work cooperatively across government agencies, fishing companies, environmental groups, eco-tourism operators and seabird researchers on projects that reduce fishing-related seabird deaths.

ENDS


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