The threatened status of the grey-headed albatross has been upgraded from vulnerable to endangered under national environmental law, as the species continues to face threats from fishing and habitat degradation.
Globally, the greatest threat to the species is accidental bycatch from longline, trawl, drift netting and trolling fisheries, and from degradation of breeding habitat by introduced species (such as rabbits on Macquarie Island).
Within Australian waters, the threat abatement plan has significantly reduced albatross bycatch in Australian Government-managed longline fisheries. But the species remains at high risk from other fisheries, especially those operating on the high seas, outside Australian jurisdiction.
The threatened status up-listing gives the species greater protection, because activities that adversely affect the birds are more likely to trigger national environment law. A new recovery plan is also being prepared.