In continued efforts to share useful information and outreach material about seabirds that are known to interact with the longline fisheries off Alaska, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is relaying the following information on the current breeding status of the endangered short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus), according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS.
The following information is excerpted from a report received by the world's foremost expert on the short-tailed albatross, Dr. Hiroshi Hasegawa, Toho University, Chiba, Japan.
"In the early March of this year, I visited Minami-kojima [25?56' N, 123?42'E] in the Senkaku Islands helped by a helicopter of the Asahi Shimbun Newspaper. We camped one night on that island and confirmed 24 chicks and a total of 79 adult/immature birds there. Apparently, the population has been increasing since the number of chicks was at least 7 in the 1987-88 season, and 10 in 1990-91, 11 in 1991-92 at my previous visits. I guess that there would be about 40 nesting pairs (about 170 individuals including pre-breeders) in the Senkaku Islands. So, the estimated total population would be about 200 birds (that is 170 birds plus 24 chicks that must have fledged).
From the late March to the early May, I made my 77th visit to Torishima. By banding every chick, I finally confirmed a total of 173 chicks, 172 at the original colony and 1 at the new colony....The breeding success <need pdf link> of the last season was 73% (238 pairs nested), the highest in recent years. I think the managements at the nesting habitat were so effective in reducing the accidental death of the eggs and chicks. I estimate that the total size of Torishima population would be about 1300 birds right now.
Therefore, the world population of the Short-tailed Albatross now could be about 1500 birds (1300 on Torishima and 200 in the Senkaku).
[During] June, I am going to visit Torishima again to do the conservation managements of nesting habitats for the Short-tailed Albatross."
NMFS strives to work proactively in its efforts to reduce seabird bycatch in longline fisheries. Efforts to date have involved collaborations with: scientists, fishers, longline vessel associations, environmental advocates, national and international agencies and organizations and other interested members of the public. Click here for additional information about these efforts, or contact Kim Rivera at 907-586-7424 or Kim.Rivera@noaa.gov.