Research ArticleAPPLIED ECOLOGY

Global political responsibility for the conservation of albatrosses and large petrels

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Science Advances  03 Mar 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 10, eabd7225
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd7225

Abstract

Migratory marine species cross political borders and enter the high seas, where the lack of an effective global management framework for biodiversity leaves them vulnerable to threats. Here, we combine 10,108 tracks from 5775 individual birds at 87 sites with data on breeding population sizes to estimate the relative year-round importance of national jurisdictions and high seas areas for 39 species of albatrosses and large petrels. Populations from every country made extensive use of the high seas, indicating the stake each country has in the management of biodiversity in international waters. We quantified the links among national populations of these threatened seabirds and the regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) which regulate fishing in the high seas. This work makes explicit the relative responsibilities that each country and RFMO has for the management of shared biodiversity, providing invaluable information for the conservation and management of migratory species in the marine realm.

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