The third Meeting of the Parties (MoP3) to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) was held in Bergen, Norway from 26 April to 1 May 2009 (such meetings are held once every three years).

The ACAP International Secretariat is based in Hobart and Australia is one of 13 countries that have signed ACAP. Australia was represented at a highly successful MoP3 by staff from AAD’s Policy Co-ordination Branch.

Highlights included agreement to the joint proposal by the UK, Australia and South Africa amending ACAP to add the three northern hemisphere species of albatross (pictured below) to its list of protected species (all of the world’s 22 albatross species are now listed).

An increased tri-ennial budget was also approved which, amongst other things, will allow the employment of a Science Officer. This position will support a range of urgent conservation work, such as the current provision of expert information and advice to regional fisheries management organisations about how to reduce bycatch of albatrosses and petrels in fisheries they manage.

The goal of ACAP is to restore the listed species of albatrosses and petrels — which are amongst the most endangered group of species in the world — to a favourable conservation status.

Five species of albatross breed in Australia and a further 14 species forage in our waters. Amongst the petrel species listed under ACAP are the Southern and Northern Giant petrels which also breed within Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic jurisdiction.

Fisheries mortality is the single biggest conservation threat, however ACAP species face a range of other threats on land and at sea.