Today is World’s Oceans Day, a day to remind us of the richness of the world’s oceans. But also a day to remind us how we use that richness, or better, misuse it…. Mankind has thought for a long time that there was so much fish in the ocean that we couldn’t possibly have a lasting impact on these populations. Now it’s starting to get obvious this is not the case. It is hard to get proper estimates of world populations of fish (how do you count those?), but it’s getting clearer and clearer that most populations are declining. This will also have an effect on the seabirds feeding on this fish. Now already are 81 of the 131 species within the order Procellariiformes (tubenoses) categorized as being threatened in any way by the IUCN (red list categories between near threatened and extinct. All 22 members of the family Diomedeidae (albatrosses) are categorized as being (near) threatened by the same IUCN.
I’ve always been fascinated by albatrosses. The birds with the largest wingspans (up to 3.6m for the Wandering Albatross), just flying effortless across the oceans, not touching land for years. They are true ocean wanderers and for me they were a highlight of my visit to the Southern Ocean in 2005-2006.