The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) provides a comprehensive legislative framework to protect Australia’s marine environment. A list of threatened species has been established under Part 13 of the Act. Species on this list are considered to be either extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, or conservation dependent. Listed threatened species are protected to help ensure their long–term survival.
The EPBC Act provides for recovery plans for the protection, conservation and management of listed threatened species. Recovery plans must set out the recovery objectives and the actions required to achieve those objectives, including performance indicators and responsibilities for implementation of the actions and timeframes involved.
The majority of the world’s albatross species occur in areas under Australian jurisdiction. Hence, Australia has a responsibility for their protection both nationally, under the EPBC Act and State and Territory legislation, and internationally, under agreements such as the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).
This Background Paper updates relevant information on the biology and ecology of Australia’s albatrosses and giant petrels, identifies issues and threats to these species, and also appropriate management strategies. It will inform the updating of the five–year National Recovery Plan for Albatrosses and Giant Petrels (2011). In all, 21 species—19 species of albatross and both of the giant–petrels—have been considered in this paper (Table 1.1).