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Over 1,000 seabirds die needlessly: act now


Over 1,000 seabirds die needlessly: act now.

Fourteen of the 24 species of albatross breed in New Zealand and nine of these breed here exclusively. No other country is home to so many albatross species. In New Zealand over 1,000 seabirds die needlessly every year. Time is running out. WWF New Zealand is calling on people to join the campaign to protect albatrosses from their biggest threats, long line and trawl fishing in the Southern Hemisphere.

The government is asking for comment on its proposed National Plan of Action to reduce accidental seabird capture in New Zealand. The plan proposes that fisheries set capture limits for albatrosses and petrels. It is then up to the individual fishery to reduce seabird deaths by putting voluntarily measures in place.

"WWF supports a mix of voluntary and mandatory measures but at present the plan doesn't set out any detail on standards of performance which are important with voluntary measures. We need to be convinced that the voluntary measures will be of a high standard to effectively reduce the number of seabird deaths in New Zealand fisheries. The plan needs to be clear about when and how a move from voluntary to mandatory measures is to happen if seabird deaths are not reduced," says Jo Breese, WWF Chief Executive.

"While WWF welcomes the National Plan of Action initiative and supports in principle the measures proposed, our support is conditional on the development of a detailed framework which specifies the standards and processes," says Jo Breese. "We call on the New Zealand government to develop these aspects of the plan as soon as possible, and certainly before implementation."

"Ultimately, we need to be certain seabird deaths will be reduced," says Jo Breese.

There is still time to comment on the National Plan of Action. Copies can be downloaded from www.doc.govt.nz or to view our submission visit www.wwf.org.nz. Submissions close 30 September 2003.

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