About the Albatross

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John Ridgway Save the Albatross Voyage 2003-4


On the Verge of Extinction

The albatross is being driven to the verge of extinction by fleets of pirate fishing boats, operating in the Southern Ocean, to catch the Patagonian Toothfish. Setting lines up to 130 km in length behind their boats, these illegal longline fleets set an estimated 1 billion hooks annually. Some of the baited hooks are eaten not by their intended targets but by albatrosses, who dive on the floating frozen squid bait before it sinks and are dragged under water to drown. The albatross is simply a useless by-catch.

It is believed that up to 100,000 albatrosses are being needlessly killed annually, 17 of the 24 species are now under threat, double the number in 1994.

Prevention is Possible

Simple mechanical methods, which ensure the baits are never near enough to the surface for albatrosses to reach them, do exist. Once installed in the boats, these methods would drastically reduce the number of albatrosses being caught. BUT it is the willingness to use these methods which is lacking. Please help us to ensure the methods are enforced by raising world awareness to this needless slaughter. The Patagonian Toothfish industry needs regulation if it is to become self-sustaining. The pirate fleets need to be driven from the seas.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge tells of the terrible price the Ancient Mariner paid for killing just one albatross. Now, human greed is threatening to kill all the remaining albatrosses. And all this, just when the human race is needing all the luck it can get.


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