Conservation Status of Albatrosses and Petrels and Advice on Reducing their Bycatch in IOTC Longline Fisheries
The incidental mortality (bycatch) of seabirds in longline and trawl fisheries continues to be a serious global concern, especially for threatened albatrosses and petrels, resulting in a Conservation Crisis being declared by the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) in 2019. The need for international cooperation in addressing this concern was a major reason for establishing ACAP. There are currently 31 species listed in Annex 1 of the Agreement. Of the 22 species of albatrosses, 17 breed or forage in the IOTC Area, as do four of the nine listed petrel species. This paper provides a summary of the status and current trends of these 21 species as well as well as information on high priority populations that occur in the IOTC Area. We also provide an update on ACAP best practice bycatch mitigation advice for pelagic longline fisheries including a brief assessment of ACAP advice against the mitigation measures currently required by IOTC to identify options that would further reduce the bycatch of seabirds in IOTC longline fisheries. Finally, we highlight other resources relevant to seabird bycatch including new guidance on observer programme and electronic monitoring data collection.