One albatross dies every five minutes around the world because of the longline technique used to catch tuna, swordfish and sharks. Huge fishing lines up to 130 km long, with very large numbers of hooks (up to 20,000 per line), are trailing behind the bird-attracting vessels. drown.
Albatross reproduction is too slow to compensate for excess mortality. Their late sexual maturity (5 or 10 to 12 years) and their very low fecundity (only one egg, and sometimes only every five years) explain that any adult mortality has a strong impact on population dynamics.
Tristan albatross and Amsterdam albatross at risk of extinction
The albatrosses are the largest seabirds in the world: the Wandering Albatross reaches 3.50 meters of wingspan! Their longevity is also remarkable, since they can live up to 80 years. They are also peerless sailors: they spend 90% of their life at sea where they can reach top speeds of 130 km / h and cover more than 1,000 km in one day. p>
It is estimated that, out of the 14 albatross species listed, tens of thousands die each year from longlining. Tristan albatross and Amsterdam albatross are the two species that are “critically endangered”. The latter breeds only on the island of the same name, in the French Southern and Antarctic (Taaf), with only 25 to 30 pairs settled each year.
A plan of action to save Taaf albatrosses
France has a first-rate responsibility and a major role to play. Created in 2006, the Taaf Nature Reserve is a major breeding site for many albatross species. Conservation measures have also been put in place on the high seas by Taafs, such as fishing exclusively at night (albatrosses feeding during the day), strict regulations and a permanent link with the owners operating the areas concerned.
These efforts have made it possible to put an end to albatross mortality caused by legal fishing in French waters, but beyond that, the threat remains intact. p>
The Taaf, supported by the Ministry of Ecology and in association with the LPO, CNRS scientists from Chizé, the Paul Emile Victor Polar Institute (IPEV) and the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN), the fishing organizations and the various administrations concerned have put in place a national action plan for the conservation of the Amsterdam albatross.