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Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
12 November 2004
Hobart is to host the permanent secretariat for the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP).
On the final day of the historic first Meeting of Parties of ACAP, delegates accepted Australia's offer to fund the secretariat.
The offer, made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Mr Greg Hunt, at the official opening of the meeting in Hobart on Wednesday, also has in-kind support from the Tasmanian Government.
Mr Hunt said that establishment of a permanent home for the secretariat meant that it could now get down to the business of furthering ACAP's goals of reducing the deaths of seabirds, particularly of albatrosses and petrels.
"Hundreds of thousands of these animals die unnecessarily each year. Longline fishing is the most serious threat. Australia is at the forefront of working with the international fishing industry to reduce the impact of longlining."
"Australia's offer to host the secretariat demonstrates our commitment to the international conservation of seabirds and enhances our part in meeting that commitment."
Mr Hunt welcomed the Parties' agreement for the secretariat to be located in Hobart saying that it was recognition of Australia's well-earned record on conservation issues.
The Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve albatrosses and petrels by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to populations of these endangered seabirds. ACAP has been developed under the auspices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).
ACAP came into force on 1 February 2004 following the ratification of six Parties (Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador, Spain, the Republic of South Africa and the United Kingdom). Five other countries - Argentina, Brazil, Chile, France and Peru - have signed the agreement, but have yet to ratify it.
The development of ACAP was a key initiative of the Australian government. Australia has actively promoted ACAP and has provided interim secretariat services.