Save the Albatross

Australia and Chile

Critical Need

Avid bird watchers span the globe to see albatrosses and petrels in their natural habitats. Unfortunately, these seabirds are extremely vulnerable to large scale fishing efforts. The tuna and swordfish longline fisheries throughout the Southern Hemisphere have caused significant seabird deaths as they dive on baited hooks, become entangled in fishing gear, or are drawn underwater and drown. The preservation of the albatross and petrel species depends on a number of factors – science, monitoring, adaptation of commercial practices, and stewarding local communities to care for these species.

Our Involvement

Planeterra was involved with funding several research and conservation programs through our partner, Birdlife International. This included trials in the Australian tuna and billfish fishery to develop seabird-friendly fishing gear with the Australian Antarctic Division and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority in collaboration with Mr. Nick Williams, owner/operator of the tuna fishing vessel Samurai. Planeterra also funded an aerial monitoring program chartering a twin otter aircraft that was used to photograph albatross colonies and count the number of breeding pairs. In October 2011, Planeterra provided funds to Birdlife International to foster capacity training and stewardship to support the development of young South American seabird scientists through their PhD programs on seabird ecology. Planeterra also supported the field studies of two Chilean university students.

Impact

Both the investment in development of seabird-friendly fishing gear and the capacity building of scientific experts work to create long-term opportunities to save the lives of seabirds and strategically improve the way they are protected. It is the hope that, in the future, the trained scientist will use their skills and experience to become involved in working groups that preside over issues affecting the conservation of Southern Ocean seabirds. They will act as agents of change for seabirds in their region and globally.

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