Protection for the Antipodean albatross

23 February 2020

Australia has helped secure international agreement to protect the endangered Antipodean albatross on its 100,000km annual migration between New Zealand, Australia and Chile.

In India overnight, 130 countries agreed to further protections for the Antipodean albatross at the Conference of Parties on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.

Each year, these majestic seabirds lay their eggs on breeding islands in the subantarctic waters south of New Zealand before heading off over winter to search for sparse feed supplies of cuttlefish in places like the NSW South Coast.

With as few as 9050 breeding pairs remaining, it was vital that the international community acted to protect the Antipodean albatross.

This is a tremendous outcome that will help reduce instances of the albatross being inadvertently caught by fishing vessels in coastal waters and the high sea, so that these birds can migrate safely.

Australia, New Zealand and Chile proposed the protections to prevent the further decline of the species, which without our help is in danger of being extinct within 20 years.

For more than 40 years, Australia has played an important role in international cooperation to conserve migratory birds. For example, last year Australia played a key role in securing the listing of two critical migratory bird sanctuaries in China’s territory in the Yellow Sea on the World Heritage List.

The nominated stretch of Yellow Sea coast is regarded as an irreplaceable and indispensable hub for birds migrating along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway from the Arctic to South-East Asia and Australasia, spaning some 20 countries and two hemispheres.

As the Environment Minister, I am particularly focused on the harmful impacts of plastics on our oceans and the migratory birds that frequent the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

Australia will continue to be a strong advocate for protecting the natural environments that sustain migratory birds such as the Antipodean albatross.