Saving the albatross starts in Tasmania

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Australia’s championing of albatross protection from long-line fishing started a process that last week led to Hobart becoming the world headquarters for protecting these giant seabirds.

The permanent secretariat for the international Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels will, for the moment, share offices in Salamanca Square with the State Government’s Antarctic Tasmania agency.

A memorandum of understanding to support the Hobart base for the secretariat was signed yesterday by the parliamentary secretary to the federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, and state Economic Development Minister Lara Giddings.

ACAP advisory committee vice chairman John Cooper, from the University of Capetown in South Africa, said it was fitting for the secretariat to be based in Tasmania because of its links to Antarctica and the fact that some albatross breeding areas were in the region.

“Long-line fishing was the initial drive behind ACAP and it was really Australia that blew the whistle on that practice,” Dr Cooper said.

“So Tasmania is a good centre for that.”

Source: The Mercury (Australia)