Today is World Albatross Day, but for how much longer?June 19th, 2020
Today we have an opportunity to think about our awe-inspiring albatross. Kiwis have a great love and appreciation for these magnificent aviators of the seas.
Unfortunately, many species of seabird are declining, and some are critically endangered. This is certainly true of the albatross. We have a particular responsibility towards them as they rely on our islands, our breeding colonies and our territorial and fishing waters for their survival.
Yes, plastic waste is a problem, and there are several other factors which threaten the survival of albatross. BUT the science is clear: The number-one threat to the survival of the albatross is commercial fishing vessels.
These poor birds have nowhere else to go. They must risk their lives to catch scraps from nets and hooks because the demand to eat sea life is stripping the oceans of fish.
We need cameras on all fishing boats, period. We also need independent observers on all vessels to stamp out common practices that, research shows, are killing our seabirds.
The fishing lobby has fought very successfully to ensure that cameras and observers do not stand in their way. They’ve also implemented training and other voluntary measures that look good on paper but which are a poor replacement for meaningful legislation.
We need our Government to be brave and stand up for sea life, including beautiful birds like albatross. Everyone knows this needs to happen. If the iconic albatross is to continue to grace the oceans of Aotearoa, we need urgent action.
What you can do:
Email the Minister of Fisheries, Hon Stuart Nash, asking him to make cameras and observers compulsory on New Zealand commercial fishing boats.
Be kind to the albatross and sea life. Take fish off your plate. Try these tasty fish alternatives instead.