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Stamp of disapproval

Falklands stamps draw attention to albatross extinction riskā€¦

The Falkland Islands are focussing attention on the plight of their Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys, now one of the fastest-declining albatross species, by releasing a set of commemorative stamps.

The newly-released stamps are designed to raise awareness of the plight of this species, which BirdLife International has just significantly upgraded according to IUCN Red List categories and criteria to Endangered. The species was listed as Near Threatened in 2000 and Vulnerable in 2002, with new census information from the Falklands, where 60% of the breeding population is found, showing that the species is likely to be declining by more than 50% over 3 generations (65 years). - The four beautiful stamps portray adult and immature Black-browed Albatrosses and also appear in a special edition souvenir sheet. The stamps have been specially produced in support of BirdLife International`s Save the Albatross campaign, with a portion of the sale proceeds from the issue donated to preventing the needless slaughter of albatrosses and other seabirds in longline fisheries [Since 2001, BirdLife`s Save the Albatross campaign has aimed to reduce the number of seabird deaths caused by the longlining fishing industry to a sustainable level, ensuring that relevant international agreements, such as the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP), are implemented to benefit both birds and the legal fishing industry. For further details of BirdLife International`s Save the Albatross campaign, please see http://savethealbatross.birdlife.orgThese stamps are particularly timely as the number of countries to ratify the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels or ACAP (under the Convention on Migratory Species or Bonn Convention) will soon reach the necessary five for it to enter into force. The Agreement requires signatory states to take specific measures to reduce seabird by-catch from longlining and to improve the conservation status of albatrosses and petrels. Australia, Ecuador, New Zealand and Spain have fully ratified, and either South Africa or the UK (unfortunately not covering the Overseas Territories, such as the Falklands, where the albatrosses breed) will be the next to do so. [See the Fatbirder Falklands page for a picture]I am delighted that the Falkland Islands has decided to draw attention to the Black-browed Albatross by publishing these stamps, says Dr. Michael Rands, Director and Chief Executive of BirdLife International. All 21 albatross species are now at risk of extinction and the Black-browed Albatross, in particular, has suffered dramatic declines of late largely due to longline fishing.

Forest & Bird, BirdLife International`s New Zealand Partner, is hosting an online petition to urge all countries to eliminate pirate fishing which will be given to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisazion next year. For further details, please visit http://www.forest-bird.org.nz/petition/index.asp

A graphic depicting the souvenir sheet and stamps will be available from 23 October 2003 at http://www.birdlife.org/news/pr/index.html, or from BirdLife International beforehand. For information on purchasing the stamps please contact: Sovereign Stamps, P O Box 123, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 4WH, UK. Telephone +44 (0)20 8770 1373 or visit their website at www.sovereignstamp.co.uk where stamps can be viewed and ordered online.

For further information please contact Richard Thomas at BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK on + 44 (0) 1223 279813 or 07779 018332 (mobile). E-mail: richard.thomas@birdlife.org.uk

4th July 2014