Thousands of albatrosses die needlessly every year as the victims of longling fishing. They are attracted to the baited hooks, get caught and are dragged under the water and drown.
Fishermen are often unaware of the simple, cost effective techniques that when used rapidly reduce albatross deaths.
In 2005, along with a number of our BirdLife International partners, the Albatross Task Force was formed. These men and women are the world's first international team of skilled, at-sea instructors.
Since their formation, there have been a dramatic reduction in the numbers of albatross and other seabirds killed. This is a sure sign that Albatross Task Force members really are getting something practical done to help save albatrosses from extinction.
This blog follows the trials and tribulations of the Albatross Task Force as they work onshore and at sea, spreading the message about these life-saving techniques.
After all the cargo work was finished yesterday, we finally got a chance to go ashore on Bird Island. This was the only base I didn't make it to on the journey down in 2004, so I was particularly looking forward to stopping here.
We had a quick cup of tea and catch up with the people wintering on the base, and then were taken up the hill behind the base to see the wandering albatrosses and their chicks.
It's an amazing place, covered with tussock grass and fur seals lurking behind every clump – some were a little feisty, which made the walk all the more interesting!
As we got towards the top of the hill, we saw the first albatross nests with chicks. I've seen lots of pictures of them, but until you are up close you don't realise quite how big they are! All of the nests are marked so the progress of the chicks can be checked periodically, but it was sad to hear the scientists say that the future looks very bleak for these birds.