The first recovery plan for albatrosses and giant petrels was released in October 2001 in recognition of the need to develop a coordinated conservation strategy for albatrosses and giant petrels listed threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Under s279 (2) of the Act, the Environment Minister must review a recovery plan at intervals of not longer than five years. This 2011–2016 recovery plan includes the results of that review process.
This recovery plan will remain in force until 2021, unless it is replaced earlier by a new recovery plan.
Species covered by the recovery plan
Covered in this recovery plan are 21 species, including 19 albatross species and two giant petrel species. These have been categorised as:
- Breeding species: species that breed on islands in areas under Australian jurisdiction (seven species); and
- Foraging species: species that forage (or potentially forage), but do not breed, within areas under Australian jurisdiction (14 species).
This plan and the accompanying background paper were prepared for the species (see table 1, column 2) as gazetted under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). The three additional species in the table, while not listed as threatened under the Act, are included in this plan because they occur in essentially the same areas, face the same conservation threats, require the same conservation actions, some are similarly endangered (as recognised on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) as the listed species, and their inclusion makes the recovery plan a more cogent document.
Population Status and Threats to Albatrosses and Giant Petrels Listed as Threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) provides a comprehensive legislative framework to protect Australia’s marine environment. A list of threatened species has been established under Part 13 of the Act. Species on this list are considered to be either extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, or conservation dependent. Listed threatened species are protected to help ensure their long-term survival.
The EPBC Act provides for recovery plans for the protection, conservation and management of listed threatened species. Recovery plans must set out the recovery objectives and the actions required to achieve those objectives, including performance indicators and responsibilities for implementation of the actions and time frames involved.
The majority of the world’s albatross species occur in areas under Australian jurisdiction. Hence, Australia has a responsibility for their protection both nationally, under the EPBC Act and state and territory legislation, and internationally, under agreements such as the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).
This background paper updates relevant information on the biology and ecology of Australia’s albatrosses and giant petrels, identifies issues and threats to these species, and also appropriate management strategies. It will inform the updating of the five year National Recovery Plan for Albatrosses and Giant Petrels (2011). In all, 21 species — 19 species of albatross and both of the giant petrels — have been considered in this paper.