The Department of State’s Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs together with the Office of Marine Conservation are working together to promote international seabird conservation. As part of that effort, they are working to secure U.S. accession to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP). U.S. interest in ACAP stems from the United States’ concerns about the link between seabird-fishery interactions and declines in many albatross and petrel populations, existing U.S. management responsibilities for several species of albatrosses and petrels, and the United States’ close working relationship with other involved organizations and instruments, such as the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources and Regional Fishery Management Organizations to which the United States is a Party.
ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve albatrosses and petrels by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations. The Agreement prohibits deliberate takings of or harmful interference with albatrosses and petrels, provides a focus for international cooperation and exchange of information and expertise and aims to establish an enhanced understanding of the status of albatrosses and petrels, their susceptibility to a range of threats, and to identify effective means to mitigate these threats. Although the Agreement was developed under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the United States is not a party to CMS, non-parties may still accede to ACAP as Range States. ACAP was opened for signature in June 2001, entering into force on 1 February 2004, and has 13 current parties (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, France, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, and Uruguay). Our participation to date has been as an Observer and Range State.
The Administration submitted the Agreement to the Senate on September 26, 2008. The Departments of State, Commerce (NOAA) and Interior (FWS), in consultation with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Management and Budget, have been working on a draft of the domestic implementing legislation that would be necessary to carry out certain U.S. obligations under ACAP for submission to Congress.