BirdLife media release - Save the Albatross Campaign

Subject: BirdLife media release - Save the Albatross Campaign
From: Hugo Phillipps <>
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2002 14:51:20 +1100
Hi everybody -

Below is a media release received from BirdLife International regarding the
campaign to halt further decline of albatross species around the world.


The Prince of Wales Endorses BirdLife Campaign to Halt Global Albatross

London, UK, Monday 14th January, 2002 -- BirdLife International today
welcomed His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales's endorsement of its Save
the Albatross Campaign at a reception at St James's Palace [1,2].

"BirdLife International greatly welcomes The Prince of Wales's support for
the Save the Albatross campaign", said Dr Michael Rands, BirdLife
International's Director and Chief Executive. "The support of His Royal
Highness is crucial to help rally further global action to eliminate the
mass slaughter of seabirds on longlines and fend off their extinction."

"Urgent action is needed to halt the decline of the world's great
albatrosses", said Dr Rands. "Longline fishing is the single greatest
threat to these seabirds, especially by flag of convenience vessels engaged
in illegal or 'pirate' fishing in the Southern Ocean." [3,4]

"Unless the trade in 'pirate' caught fish is declared illegal and stamped
out, species such as the Black-browed Albatross will continue to die - at a
rate of tens of thousands per year - until they become extinct. Those who
benefit commercially from the sale or purchase of pirated fish must be
brought to book and punished". [5]

"The number of seabirds killed by longlines is increasing, as is the number
of albatross species listed as globally threatened because of longlining.
The Black-browed Albatross, a previously abundant species, is to be listed
by the IUCN in its next revision of the Red List due in February 2002." [6]

"A range of measures to stop seabirds getting killed on longlines is
available for fishing vessels and regulators, but they need to be more
widely implemented and enforced. Support for and implementation of
international agreements such as the 2001 Agreement on the Conservation of
Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) are also vital." [7,8]

"While there have been some very positive steps during the past two years,
there is still much to be done if we are to win this campaign and save the
world's albatrosses," said Dr Rands.


For further information please contact Adrian Long on 01223 277 318 or
07779 018 332 (mobile). 
- Photographs for use at
- Broadcast quality footage on Betacam  SP is available from Caroline
Osborne at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Press Office
(01797 680551).
- A transcript of the Prince of Wales speech will be available online from
Monday 14 January PM (time tbc) at
- Background information to Campaign at


1. BirdLife International Save the Albatross Campaign Reception, St.
James's Palace, London.

2. BirdLife International is a global alliance of national conservation
organisations working in more than 100 countries who, together, are the
leading authority on the status of the world's birds, their habitats and
the conservation issues and problems affecting bird life. Partners include
the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (UK), SEO/BirdLife (Spain),
Falklands Conservation, the New Zealand Royal Forest and Bird Protection
Society, Birds Australia, the Canadian Nature Federation, Wild Bird Society
of Japan, National Audubon Society (USA), LPO (France), Aves Argentina, and
UNORCH (Chile).

3. Twenty-two of 56 species of seabird listed as globally threatened are
killed by longlines, including all seventeen globally threatened albatross
species. According to BirdLife International data used to compile the World
Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of globally threatened species, the
number of albatrosses threatened with extinction increased from one-third
in 1994 to more than three-quarters of all albatross species in 2000.

4. Illegal longlining in the Southern Ocean accounts for the heaviest
seabird toll. Over 100,000 seabirds per year - including tens of thousands
of albatrosses - are estimated to be killed by 'pirate' fishing vessels.
These vessels often operate under flags of convenience (FoC) and fish for
Patagonian Toothfish (often sold as Chilean Sea Bass, Antarctic Black Hake
or Mero) and Southern Bluefin Tuna, itself listed as a Critically
Endangered fish species by IUCN.

5. Latest data indicate that over 300,000 seabirds are killed on longlines
every year. In one trip alone a longline vessel fishing in New Zealand
waters recently caught over 300 seabirds.

6. Research conducted by Falklands Conservation (BirdLife in the Falklands)
and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has revealed a dramatic decline in
numbers of Black-browed Albatrosses breeding in the Falkland Islands, the
global stronghold for this species. This catastrophic decline is almost
certainly due to longlining.

7. BirdLife considers that Argentina, China, Japan, South Korea, South
Africa, Taiwan and the United States need to sign and ratify the 2001
Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels for the Agreement
to be most effective in preventing seabird by-catch. Within the European
Union Spain, France and Norway are also important.

8. Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Iceland, Peru, South Korea and Uruguay, as
well as the French and British overseas territories (OTs) in the Southern
Hemisphere, need to develop National Plans of Action (NPOAs) under the
auspices of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to cut the
number of seabirds being killed by longliners. Although not members of FAO,
Russia and Taiwan also need NPOAs or equivalent. All of the key British
overseas territories (OTs) with breeding albatrosses (Tristan, Gough,
Falklands and South Georgia islands) need NPOAs. With the exception of the
Falkland Islands, which is in the process of developing one, none of the
other UK OTs has produced an NPOA yet. New Zealand is yet to finalise its


Hugo Phillipps
Communications Coordinator
Birds Australia
415 Riversdale Road
HAWTHORN EAST 3123, Australia
Tel: (03) 9882 2622, fax: (03) 9882 2677
Email: <>
Web site: <>

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