• Life as an ATF instructor - First week at sea

    Ndamona Mateus is part of our team of dedicated instructors based in Namibia. She recently spent just over a week on board a fishing vessel, her first trip out as an ATF instructor. Our ATF teams spend weeks at sea checking that fishers are using life-saving seabird bycatch mitigation measures and building invaluable relationships with the fishing community. Ndamona shares her first experience..

    Ndamona on board the fishing vessel, hundreds of seabirds already gathering behind.
    Ndamona on board the…

    • 5 Aug 2021
  • 22,000 seabirds saved in Namibia every year thanks to the Albatross Task Force and fishing industry

    Guest blog by Alan Munro, International Marine Policy Project Officer.

    Everyone loves a good news story! And boy do we have one…hold on tight.

    After over a decade of work with the country’s fishing industry and fisheries managers, the Albatross Task Force (ATF) in Namibia are celebrating a major conservation success. A new paper hot off the press shows that seabird deaths in the Namibian demersal longline…

    • 5 Jan 2021
  • Obituary: Ismael Linicius Kavela

    A strong promoter of marine conservation and Albatross Task Force ally in Namibia has passed away

    Champion of sustainable fishing practices and seabird conservation, former government fisheries observer and Albatross Task Force collaborator, Ismael Linicius Kavela passed away last month in his home town of Omaruru, at the age of 42.

    Ice, as he was affectionately called by the team, had been working as a a consultant seabird…

    • 31 Jul 2020
  • Celebrating the first World Albatross Day!

    Join us and people around the world in celebrating the first ever World Albatross Day and find out what the RSPB and its partners are doing to keep these amazing birds safe...

    As you may or may not already know, the RSPB does quite a lot of albatross work! It was in fact one of the RSPB's very own seabird biologists (Michelle Risi studying albatrosses on Gough Island) that first came up with the idea of launching a #WorldAlbatrossDay…

    • 15 Jun 2020
  • Lockdown life...

    Have you been wondering what our international team of dedicated seabird bycatch instructors have been up to during the past couple of months? Read on to find out how they have been keeping busy from the comfort of their homes since the global COVID-19 pandemic came along and turned our world upside down!

    Whether it be somewhere along the coast of Chile, in a neighbourhood with a view of Table Mountain in Cape Town or…

    • 29 May 2020
  • Winning the hearts and minds of fishers at-sea

    Last month we learned about about what life is like for members of the Albatross Task Force in Brazil. This month, we are hopping across to the other side of the Atlantic, to speak to one of dedicated team members in Cape Town, South Africa. 

     My name is Reason Nyengera and as an Albatross Task Force instructor my main job is to work directly with fishermen on the deck of their vessels and engage with them on the issue…

    • 22 Apr 2020
  • Starting the new decade off with a bang

    It is true that things have been a bit quiet on the ATF blog front lately – but that is not because stuff hasn’t been happening! Indeed 2020 is set to be an important year and decade in the world of albatross conservation and our teams have been getting stuck right into it all!

    Those of you following our #AlbatrossStories on social media may have picked up on the exciting news: in June we will be celebrating…

    • 4 Feb 2020
  • Blues, rock and albatross

    I have a habit. When I am out at sea, I always listen to music...

    My name is Gabriel Sampaio, I am a marine biologist and an ATF instructor in Brazil. I recently got back from a 2 week long trip on-board the Maria - a 24 metre long pelagic longline fishing vessel operating in southern Brazil. This was actually the first vessel I ever did an ATF trip on and being on-board the Maria again made me think back to that very…

    • 6 Dec 2019
  • Threats to seabirds: what can we learn from Seven Worlds, One Planet?

    A lot of you may have seen that some of our favourite seabirds were featured in the first episode of the new Sir David Attenborough series, Seven Worlds, One Planet.

    The colony of grey-headed albatross filmed for this program is situated on Bird Island, the colony we have been following for the best part of a year with #AlbatrossStories! And whilst many of us were enthralled in their charisma and beauty - a familiar…

    • 7 Nov 2019
  • Chile introduces vital regulation to save seabirds

    At the end of August, Chile introduced new regulations to reduce seabird bycatch in its trawl fleets. This is a vital and welcome step towards protecting albatross in the Pacific (such as the black-browed albatross from the Diego Ramirez archipelago in the picture below) and represents another milestone for the Albatross Task Force programme.

    Photo Credit: Cristian G.Suazo

    Much like the law introduced in Argentina last…

    • 17 Oct 2019
  • Glide into the danger zone

    How tracking technology is improving our understanding of at-sea threats to seabirds

    Over the last three to four decades, industrial fisheries have expanded into far-flung oceans in search of lucrative fish such as bluefin tuna. Larger fishing areas and more fishing vessels have increased the likelihood of fatal interactions between boats, hooks and birds. It is estimated that around 100,000 albatrosses are killed each…

    • 8 Aug 2019
  • Seabird-friendly fishers in the making

    When our Albatross Task Force instructors are not monitoring seabirds out at sea, they spend their time teaching fishers about seabird conservation and bycatch mitigation in key ports across South America and southern Africa. 

    In Brazil, our instructors are based in port towns in the south-eastern part of the country. This is an important foraging area for many albatrosses and petrels breeding in the south Atlantic. But…

    • 24 Jul 2019
  • Celebrating World Oceans Day in Namibia

     Last weekend saw the towns of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Henties Bay come together to celebrate World Oceans Day 2019. And there really is a lot to celebrate this year in Namibia – with the ATF team having demonstrated massive bycatch reductions in one of the deadliest fisheries for albatross in the world, previously estimated to be killing 30,000 birds each year!

    To the left: ATF team leader Samantha Matjila and…

    • 13 Jun 2019
  • When one size does not fit all : A new bird-scaring line design for small longline vessels in South Africa

    Bird-scaring Lines (BSLs) have become the primary and most commonly prescribed seabird bycatch mitigation measure in longline fisheries worldwide. These are usually composed of a backbone section, colourful streamers and a drag section or towing device. They are extremely effective at reducing seabird bycatch since they scare foraging birds away from the “danger zone” in which baited hooks are close to the surface and…

    • 22 May 2019
  • “Wandering” about those albatrosses Attenborough was talking about?

    I am guessing many of you will have been glued to your screens over the last few weeks, watching the new Our Planet series on Netflix – I certainly have!

    The highlight for me was of course the gorgeous Wandering Albatross from South Georgia, featured in the Frozen Worlds and High Seas episodes. Their massive wingspans, impressive life history and sheer beauty are mesmerising even to those of us lucky enough to study…

    • 26 Apr 2019
  • Help name our albatross stars!

    This year the Albatross Task Force is following the lives of four albatross species breeding on Bird Island, South Georgia. Help us come up with names for them by March 19th!

     The four species we're following are Grey-headed Albatrosses, Wandering Albatross, Light-mantled Albatross and Black-browed Albatross. We have been working with an artist in Japan to create cartoons of these four species so that you can become more…

    • 5 Mar 2019
  • Sharing our love of nature and marine conservation

    For the past two years I have been teaching schoolchildren in Mar del Plata (Argentina) about albatrosses and petrels. I am always touched by the enthusiasm and astonishment in the faces of the girls and boys who participate in these learning activities, no matter how old they are.

    At one point I ask them to close their eyes. This is one of my favourite moments. While they have their eyes closed, I take out a life-sized…

    • 30 Jan 2019
  • New life on Bird Island this Christmas

    The wandering albatross breeding season on Bird Island (South Georgia) has officially begun, with the first egg being laid last week! The bird in question has never bred on Bird Island before, but was ringed as a chick there back in 2008. It looks like she has finally returned home this Christmas to take on the responsibility of parenthood – 10 years later!

     The new parent and her chick will need all the luck they…

    • 19 Dec 2018
  • Surviving the high seas aboard a Japanese-South African joint-venture vessel

    I recently embarked on a Japanese joint-venture voyage from Cape Town. On-board were six Japanese, 16 Indonesians and a South African. This motley crew was to become my only human connection for the next two months! The South African crew member, fluent in both Indonesian and Japanese, was to become my language bridge in this lingo pandemonium. His high tempo, effervescent Wikipedia attitude kept me entertained and I…

    • 19 Nov 2018
  • Working to reduce seabird and turtle bycatch in Brazil

    Bycatch in longline fisheries is a major source of mortality for albatrosses and large petrel species, many of which are already endangered. It is estimated that over 300,000 seabirds are killed by longline fisheries globally every year, as the birds become caught on fishing hooks while they scavenge for the bait being set by the fishermen at the stern of vessel.

    Like thousands of others, this black-browed albatross…

    • 22 Oct 2018
  • Finding my Pacific sea legs

    Last week I returned from my trip on Abate Molina – a scientific research vessel owned by the Fisheries Development Institute (IFOP) in Chile. Although I have been working with the Albatross Task Force for over ten years, this was the first time I was on such a boat. In fact, being Argentinian, it was the first time I sailed through the waters of the South Pacific Ocean!

    I spent 20 days testing bird scaring lines…

    • 10 Sep 2018
  • A new wave of collaboration for ATF teams in South America

    This austral winter has brought positive change for the ATF teams working to reduce seabird bycatch in South America. In Argentina and Chile we have been working hard to put together a collaborative conservation effort to help save vulnerable seabirds in the Humboldt Current system - an unprecedented international cooperation in the history of the ATF!

    The idea of a transnational collaboration first came about when the…

    • 15 Aug 2018
  • Exciting times in Namibia!

    I am sitting with Titus Shaanika, one of our Albatross Task Force Instructors, at his desk in the Namibia Nature Foundation Regional Office, Walvis Bay. It is covered in seabird bycatch data entry forms, letters from government officials and an agenda packed with meetings with fishing company representatives. Outside the winter winds are howling - bringing sand and hot air from the East to this little dusty harbour town…

    • 6 Jul 2018
  • Starting a new chapter with the Albatross Task Force

    The last couple of months have involved a lot of change for me personally and for the ATF team as a whole. With new people coming on-board and regulations changing in the countries we work in, exciting times lie ahead and we want to share it all with...
    • 8 Jun 2018
  • The unshakeable resilience of Chilean fishermen

    Some time ago I wrote about the challenges for small scale fishers in Chile, who are represented by fragile working conditions and confront stormy waters in the ironically named Pacific Ocean.

    I have always tried to highlight the role of small scale fishers as providing an important source of nutrition and tourism for local economies, as well as holding a wealth of knowledge that is relevant for future marine conservation…

    • 28 Sep 2015