As a geographically isolated country with many unique plants and animals and as a country dependent on activities such as agriculture, fishing and forestry for our economic wellbeing, New Zealand has a strong interest in species conservation. New Zealand therefore plays an active role in the operation of international treaties relating to species conservation with a particular interest in the protection of marine species such as whales.
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) is a multilateral environment agreement that aims to conserve avian, marine, and terrestrial migratory species that inhabit or pass through more than one country’s national boundaries at any time in the species’ normal migration route. It provides a framework for taking strict measures, including prohibiting taking, to protect endangered species listed in its Appendix I (species facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild throughout all or a significant portion of their ranges) and for negotiating appropriate regional conservation and management agreements for species listed in its Appendix II (species with unfavourable conservation status that would benefit significantly from international cooperation).
New Zealand signed the Convention in September 1999; it came into force on 1st October 2000. The Department of Conservationis the key implementing agency for the Convention in New Zealand. The Ministry works with the Department of Conservation in developing policy.Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels
The sixth conference of the parties of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), listed all Southern Hemisphere albatross species and a number of petrel species on either Appendix I or II of the Convention. This development led to the creation of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) as an Agreement under the CMS. It was negotiated over two meetings: the first in Hobart and the second in South Africa. It opened for signature in June 2001 and has been signed by eleven countries – New Zealand, Australia, Spain, Brazil, Chile, France, Peru, United Kingdom, Ecuador, South Africa and Argentina. To date it has been ratified by Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador, Spain and South Africa, and entered into force on 1 February 2004. The first Meeting of the Parties will probably be held in late 2004, probably in Australia.
The Agreement promotes cooperation between countries in the conservation of albatrosses and petrels, particularly in addressing the major threat of incidental capture in fishing operations. A high number of birds are drowned or injured by being caught in longline fish hooks or being snagged in trawl warps. Because these species migrate between ocean areas and come in contact with different countries’ fishing fleets, cooperative approaches are needed to address this threat.