Hobart’s role as an Antarctic Gateway has been strengthened with the signing of a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Australian and Tasmanian Governments.
Greg Hunt MP, federal Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage and Lara Giddings MHA, Tasmanian Minister for Economic Development today signed the MoU that will see the international Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) gain a permanent secretariat in the city’s Salamanca district.
“Today’s signing brings to fruition an undertaking I made at the historic first ACAP Meeting of Parties in Hobart last November to establish the Secretariat in Australia,” Mr Hunt said
“The development of ACAP was a key initiative of the Australian Government and we are proud of our leading role in establishing the permanent home for the Secretariat here in Hobart in conjunction with the Tasmanian Government.
“This demonstrates our commitment to ACAP and its long-term future in reducing the hundreds of thousands of deaths of these magnificent seabirds each year from longline fishing — a method still used by several nations. In addition, Australia remains at the forefront of working with the international fishing industry to reduce the impact of longlining.
“The Australian Government will be providing administrative and financial support to the ACAP Secretariat and we are pleased the Tasmanian Government is assisting by providing accommodation and funding for the secretariat office.”
Ms Giddings said today’s decision demonstrated the importance of Hobart as Australia’s gateway to Antarctica.
“It is appropriate that the ACAP secretariat should be housed at Salamanca Place, a stone’s throw from the Hobart waterfront with its long history as a starting point for expeditions to Southern Ocean and Antarctic regions,” Ms Giddings said.
“We are very pleased to be a part of this initiative and look forward to working with the Australian Government and ACAP on the ongoing work to protect these wonderful seabirds.
“Albatrosses and petrels face far greater danger in these modern times. As well as longline fishing, other dangers at sea include marine pollution, debris in which albatrosses and petrels can become entangled or can ingest and over-fishing of the prey.
“On land, they are at the mercy of feral pests and disease or have to compete with other species for nesting space.”
The Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve albatrosses and petrels by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to populations of these endangered seabirds. ACAP has been developed under the auspices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).
ACAP came into force on 1 February 2004 following the ratification of six Parties (Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador, Spain, the Republic of South Africa and the United Kingdom). France and Peru have since ratified while Argentina, Brazil and Chile have signed the agreement but have yet to ratify it.
The development of ACAP was a key initiative of the Australian Government in 1997 and Australia has actively promoted ACAP and provided interim secretariat services.