PICTURED: Black Petrel, Richard Robinson © 2017. depth.co.nz  

What threats do seabirds face?

By 2019 march

At the end of March the Northern NZ Seabird Trust, with support from the Foundation North Gulf Innovation Fund Together (G.I.F.T.) Initiative and the Hauraki Gulf Forum will publish a comprehensive new book on the threats to seabirds of the Hauraki Gulf and northern Aotearoa New Zealand. It will be available online through the Forum and other websites. There will also be a limited printed run.

Seabirds, those species that inhabit our coastlines and oceans, are the most threatened group of birds on earth. There is a lot of literature about the threats they face globally – from climate change to fisheries bycatch – but there is little information specific to our region, northern New Zealand. This knowledge is important in assisting researchers and conservation managers to plan projects on our native seabirds.

The review was led by Edin Whitehead, supported by several other authors active in seabird research and conservation in our region – Nigel Adams, Karen Baird, Biz Bell, Stephanie Borrelle, Brendon Dunphy, Todd Landers, Matt Rayner, James Russell and Chris Gaskin. Department of Conversation, Principal Science Adviser, Biodiversity, Marine Species and Threats, Graeme Taylor has provided a forword for the book.

The authors have synthesised global and local literature to compile a list of threats to seabirds in our region. In addition, they’ve identified knowledge gaps about the impact these threats have, as well as the knowledge lacking about the seabirds themselves. Northern New Zealand, including the Hauraki Gulf, is a global seabird hotspot with 28 species breeding in the region, some of which we know very little about. The new book covers the threats the birds face from climate change, introduced species, pollution, fisheries, and other direct human impacts. While further research is recommended in some cases, the authors urge for conservation actions to take precedence where possible to prevent the decline of some of our most threatened native species.

Buller’s shearwater by Edin Whitehead
Buller’s shearwater by Edin Whitehead

The review complements Hauraki Gulf Seabirds: their natural history, research and conservation by Chris Gaskin (Northern NZ Seabird Trust) and Matt Rayner (Auckland Museum) that the Hauraki Gulf Forum published in 2013 (revised in 2017).

For a stunning showcase video about the seabirds of the Hauraki Gulf, watch Across All Realms commissioned by the Northern NZ Seabird Trust.

You can also listen to Graeme Taylor on Nine to Noon, RNZ discussing seabird populations.

To pre-order a copy of the new Seabirds Threats book, register your interest with Chris Gaskin, chris@nzseabirds.com