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Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria Albatrus)

Existing Protection or Other Status

The Japanese government designated the Short-tailed Albatross as a protected species in 1958, as a Special National Monument in 1962 and as a Special Bird for Protection in 1972. In 1992, the species was classified as endangered under the newly implemented Species Preservation Act. Torishima, one of the two remaining breeding colonies, was designated a no-hunting area by the Japanese Government in 1933, and later a National Monument in 1958. Harvest is prohibited, and human activities and disturbance on Torishima are restricted. In 2001 the Fisheries Agency of Japan set seabird by-catch regulations. These include the requirement for boats fishing within 20 nautical miles of Torishima, during the breeding season, to adopt various mitigation measures to reduce the incidental take of Short-tailed Albatross (Hasegawa 2001, in litt.).

In July 1975 the Short-tailed Albatross was included in Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The species is listed as Vulnerable under criteria D1 and D2 by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The species is included in Appendix 1 of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wildlife Animals.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed the Short-tailed Albatross as Endangered rangewide except in the US in the List of Endangered Foreign Wildlife (Federal Register 35:8495, 2 June 1970). This Endangered status was extended to include the range within the United States on 31 July 2000 (Federal Register No. 46643). The species is also listed as Endangered in the State of Alaska (State of Alaska, Alaska Statutes, Article 4, Sec. 16.20.19). The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) requires the Alaska longline fisheries to employ bird avoidance techniques to reduce the incidental take of seabirds by the fishing industry, and in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recently proposed management measures to reduce seabird incidental take in the hook-and-line halibut and groundfish fisheries in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Alaska (Federal Register 2003). In addition, the NMFS has recently set incidental take limits for Short-tailed Albatrosses in three fisheries (hook-and-line groundfish, groundfish trawl, and halibut hook-and-line) off Alaska (NMFS 2003). 

The species is ranked by the Nature Conservancy as follows:

Global Heritage Status Rank: G1 (14 Sep 2000)

National Heritage Status Rank – United States: NZN (19 Mar 1997)
National Heritage Status Rank – Canada: NAN (02 Feb 2001)

Sub-national Heritage Status Rank – United States: Alaska (S1N), California (S?), Hawaii (S1), Washington (SZN)
Sub-national Heritage Status Rank – Canada: British Columbia (SZN)

There has been one recorded confirmed sighting of a Short-tailed Albatross in the waters off Pacific Rim National Park (Species in Parks Systems database 2003). On the basis of historical distributions, the species is also likely to occur adjacent to Gwaii Haanas National Park. However, the at-sea presence of the species adjacent to or even within the boundaries of a National Park does not guarantee the protection of the Short-tailed Albatross.