Magnificent albatross and petrels are the most imperilled group of birds on earth. Frequently caught as bycatch in longline fishing operations, 21 of the 31 species covered by the Advisory Committee to the Agreement for the Conservation of Albatross and Petrels are at risk of extinction. Four species are critically endangered, five endangered, 12 vulnerable, and eight near threatened.
Australia has a huge responsibility to protect albatross and petrels, as all 20 species of albatross found in our country are listed as threatened under Australian law and traditionally we have fought strongly for cooperation from the international community for their protection.
At an upcoming meeting in Yogyakarta in Indonesia there is an opportunity to get the international longline fleets for southern bluefin tuna to take action to prevent their albatross bycatch. An Australian delegation is attending and there is one crucial element our delegation must fight for at the meeting.
Longline weighting for tuna fishing vessels is vital for protecting seabirds against fishing mortality. Weighting so that the lines sink faster out of reach of birds is believed by experts to be the most effective way to mitigate seabird bycatch for longline fishing operations.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Australia’s Assistant Fisheries Minister, Senator Anne Ruston, who is responsible for Australia’s delegation to the southern bluefin tuna meeting, that heavy line weighting is vital for the conservation of albatross and petrels and that Australia should be firm in advocating for its application in global tuna fishing operations.