Getting hooked and drowned on fishing gear has been the greatest causes of death for adult albatrosses for several decades. The main problem is lines dozens of miles long with thousands of baited hooks, called long-lines. For a decade, conservation groups including Blue Ocean Institute and Birdlife International’s Global Seabird Program and others have worked with fishing boat owners and with governments, partly through an international treaty called the Agreement of the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels.
Positive results have been dramatic. For instance, from 2007-2008, measures taken by predominantly Japanese fishing boats reduced albatross mortality by 85% off of South African waters. This is a huge success and an important step toward seabird conservation for a country with an enormous longline fleet. Other areas with great reductions in albatross fishing deaths in recent years include waters around Hawaii, Alaska, the Falkland Islands, Australia, New Zealand and some other places.
In the mid-1990s, many people feared this problem would cause the extinction of many albatross species (more than 20 species exist). Now, there is definitely hope.