• World Albatross Day 2021 “Ensuring Albatross-friendly Fisheries”

    Today is the World Albatross Day (WAD)! It was launched in 2020 by the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) to dedicate 19th June every year to raise awareness of the conservation needs of albatrosses, petrels, and shearwaters. Many of them are being killed as a result of fisheries operations and other human-induced threats. This year, the theme for WAD2021 is “Ensuring Albatross-Friendly Fisheries”, to highlight the problems of populations of albatrosses, and other seabirds that are declining due to fisheries bycatch. Words from Mr. Robert (Robb) Kaler, Chair of EAAFP and Chair of EAAFP Seabird Working Group “This year’s theme of World Albatross Day “Ensuring Albatross-Friendly Fisheries” reminds us of the impact that human brought to, not only Albatrosses but many seabird species. Fishery bycatch is one of the main threats to the decline of seabirds worldwide. Scientists, government agencies, and the fishing industry sector are now implementing mitigation, in which some of them are simple to apply. In the EAA Flyway, studies about seabirds are very limited. World Albatross Day is a great opportunity to raise the awareness on seabird conservation, and highlight the importance of reducing impacts of the world’s fisheries on seabirds and other non-targeted species.” The problems of fisheries threatening albatrosses and other seabirds Many seabird species, especially Albatrosses, spend most of their lives soaring in open seas, except during the breeding time when they return to land to nest. Yet staying far from land does not stop seabirds from being impacted by human activities. In fact, nearly half of the world's seabird populations are declining, especially Albatrosses, with 15 of 22 species are threatened with extinction. Albatrosses feed mainly on fish and squid on the ocean’s surface. They can smell their prey from a far (up to 20 km away!). This extraordinary ability, however, exposes them to danger, for they are attracted to fishing vessels which use baited hooks in the longline fishery and can get caught and drown. An estimated 160,000 to 320,000 seabirds are killed annually in longline fisheries1. Trawl, purse seine, and gillnet fisheries are other gear types also have seabird bycatch issues. At least 400,000 seabirds (especially diving species) are estimated to be killed annually in gillnet fisheires globally2. According to a global assessment of threats to seabirds, the three primary threats are: (i) invasive species impacting 165 species, (ii) bycatch in fisheries affecting 100 species, and (iii) climate change affecting 96 species3. Albatrosses and petrels killed by bycatch in fishery ©Fabiano Peppes   Conservation work in the EAA Flyway Scientists around the world are working on solutions to reduce seabird bycatch. Some of these methods are: bird-scaring lines (also called tori lines) with colorful streamers attached to lines to keep birds away, fishing at night to reduce interactions between birds and fishing activities, and adding weights to increase the sinking speed of baited hooks. Source: Birdlife International (2021) Towards Seabird-safe Fisheries - Global Efforts & Solutions   In the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, especially in the Asian region, research on seabirds is rather limited, let alone the study on the impact of fisheries on seabirds. Yet, there is work by BirdLife International and Wild Bird Society of Japan (both EAAFP Partners), which developed a nationwide-scale hotspot map of seabird bycatch in gillnet fisheries in Japan (read [more]). Another project to evaluate mitigation ideas of seabird bycatch in gillnet under a controlled condition is ongoing, and data collection of seabird bycatch in gillnet fisheries in collaboration with local fishers is about to begin. Know about the three species of Albatrosses in EAAFlyway Laysan Albatross ©Simba Chan Laysan Albatross, Phoebastria immutabilis, is a large seabird (length: 79-81 cm) with white head with dark gray-brown upper wings. It is the most common albatross in open Pacific Ocean. The species is listed as Near Threatened (NT) by IUCN. Main threats in breeding sites are the invasion of rats and feral cats. Conservation or eradication of Polynesian rats had been successfully managed. The famous oldest known wild bird in the world Wisdom, still raising a chick at age 70, is of this species.   Black-footed Albatross at Ogasawara Island ©Tomohiro Deguchi Black-footed Albatross, Phoebastria nigripes, (length: 68-74cm) has long, narrow wings and mostly dark except for a white ring around its long, thick bill. It breeds on oceanic islands across the tropical and subtropical North Pacific Ocean and adults concentrate on nesting islands in Izu and Ogasawara Islands of Japan and on Senkaku Islands. The species is listed as Near Threatened (NT) by IUCN because it is taken incidentally by longline fishery. Main threats used to be feral cats on Northwestern Hawaiian Islands where the eradication has been taken effectively. Short-tailed Albatross ©Lee Kwok Shing Short-tailed Albatross, Phoebastira albatrus is a large pelagic bird (length:84-94 cm) with long narrow wings adapted for soaring just above the water surface. It spends most of its life over northern Pacific Ocean and breeds on islands off Japan and more recently, Midway Atoll. Its population is estimated to be 7,365 birds and listed as Vulnerable (VU) by IUCN. Erosion, flooding, and high winds (blow chicks off their nests) at Tsubame-zaki colony, and black rats on Torishima remain as threats to the bird despite habitat management efforts that have been undertaken.   Join the World Albatross Day activities: Follow the Albatross Task Force on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/albatross_stories/), join the Albatross World Cup, take the Friday Quiz, see how much you know about Albatrosses in the world. Check also their Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Albytaskforce/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/AlbyTaskForce) World Albatross Day events in Japan (in Japanese): 世界アルバトロスデー Join the quiz from EAAFP about the World Albatross Day, click [here]!   https://www.eaaflyway.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/WAD-video_final.mp4   References: Anderson, al. 2011. Global seabird bycatch in longline fisheries. Endang. Species Res. 14, 91–106 (http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esr/v14/n2/p91-106/) Žydelis, al. 2013. The incidental catch of seabirds in gillnet fisheries: A global review. Biological Conservation. 162: 76-88. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2013.04.002) Dias al. 2019. Threats to seabirds: A global assessment. Biological Conservation. 237: 525-537 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.06.033) Birdlife International (2021) Towards Seabird-safe Fisheries - Global Efforts & Solutions.


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  • World Environment Day 2021 call for actions to restore our degraded ecosystems

    World Environment Day is celebrated on 5th June every year since 1974. Convened by UN Environment Programme, it is one of the most renowned events to engage governments, businesses and citizens for environmental actions to address worldwide environmental issues, such as climate change, biodiversity loss. In 2021, the theme is “Ecosystem restoration”. Habitat loss and degradation are depleting natural resources and their associated ecosystem services. Over the last century, more than half of the wetlands in the world have been destroyed. For wetlands in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway, they are not only supporting millions of migratory waterbirds which breed, rest, and feed in their annual journey, but also provide food and natural resources to other wildlife and people, protecting the shorelines, reducing disaster risks, purifying water, and carbon sequestration. In a recent study, the monetary value of both inland and coastal wetlands is more than 2 times the value for all forests1. Despite the huge values wetlands provide, they are the most vulnerable ecosystems in the world. “The value of the ecosystem services of wetlands and its importance to humans and biodiversity need to be recognized by decision-makers, government officers and the general public. We have to work together between sectors, disciplines and countries, and act quickly! We have lost too many of our wetlands and need to now work on their restoration. On the World Environment Day, I echo the call from the United Nations for the Partners of EAAFP to take action to restore our lost natural habitats and conserve the existing ones” said Mr. Doug Watkins, Chief Executive of EAAFP Secretariat. On 4th June 2021, 1600 EAT, the United Nations is holding a Virtual Launch Gala of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Watch the virtual event of the launch here: EAAFP Secretariat also set up an interactive quiz game about the ecosystems around us. Join the quest [here] or click the image.  For more information about World Environment Day 2021, visit [here]. Reference [1]: Davidson NC, van Dam AA, Finlayson CM, McInnes RJ (2019a) The worth of wetlands: revised global monetary values of coastal and inland wetland ecosystem services. Marine and Freshwater Research. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF18391


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  • A Tale of Black-faced Spoonbill Linking Two Cities – Launch of Incheon-Hong Kong Sister Site Agreement video

    Sister Site Agreement under the EAAFP Flyway Site Network is a useful mechanism to enhance the collaboration between important sites of migratory waterbirds in the Flyway. In 2019, Governments…


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  • Sing, Fly, Soar – Like a Bird! – 2021 World Migratory Bird Day Virtual Choir

    On 8th May, 2021, the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership who partnered with Bowerbird Collective, launched the first ever WMBD Virtual Choir…


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  • “Flyway: connecting people and migratory waterbirds” story series #10 – Youth Engaged in Wetlands (YEW)

    Interview with Gab Mejia, YEW Communication and Outreach Lead and Elise Allély-Fermé, YEW Network Lead EAAFP: Hi Gab and Elise, can you briefly introduce Youth Engaged in Wetlands (YEW) to…


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  • World Migratory Bird Day 2021 invites us to reconnect with Nature by appreciating “bird songs and flight”

    The World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD), a global annual campaign is held on every second Saturday of May and October, to raise awareness of migratory birds and calls for…


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  • New EAAFP key species factsheet

    The EAAFP Secretariat has recently produced a set of factsheet for eight key species of East Asian – Australasian Flyway. It is one of the actions from the EAAFP…


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  • 2020 Yellow & Bohai Sea Coastal Wetlands Symposium and establishment of Yellow Sea Wetland Institute in China

    Since the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase I) in Yancheng was inscribed in the as UNESCO’s Natural World Heritage site on 5th…


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  • Join the very first World Migratory Bird Day Virtual Choir

      This year the theme of the World Migratory Bird Day is “Sing, Fly, Soar – Like a Bird!”. We are inviting you to be a part…


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  • First council meeting of Incheon Black-faced Spoonbill (BFS) Conservation Guild

    On 5th March 2021 the first council meeting of Incheon Black-faced Spoonbill (BFS) Conservation Guild (hereinafter referred to as “council meeting”) was convened by the National Institute of Ecology…


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