Wildlife & Biodiversity

COP14: Draft resolutions on the Atlas on animal migratory species, maltreatment of seabirds submitted

Thousands of seabirds are killed every year in the Mediterranean region alone  

By Himanshu Nitnaware
Published: Wednesday 14 February 2024
Photo for representation: iStock

The 14th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (COP14) on February 13 submitted draft decisions on the Atlas on Animal Migration.

The EU had proposed the amendments to the United Nations Environment Programme at the COP14 held at Samarkand, Uzbekistan regarding reporting burdens.

The COP11 had included development of an atlas on animal migration for migratory mammals in the Central Asian region and bird migration in the Eurasian-African region to address the historical changes in migration patterns and intentional killing of birds by humans. 

It also included understanding migration seasons of hunted species and migration connectivity with the European-African migration system.

The need for mapping was felt to identify “important sites for migratory species and understanding migration patterns” to help achieve objections of the convention and global policy priorities such as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. 

The draft decisions stated, "Parties are encouraged to make use, as appropriate, of the numerous modules of the atlas on animal migration prepared thus far in their policies, decision making and management, and in implementing the provisions, Resolutions and Decisions of the Convention on Migratory Species.”

It directed the Secretariat to further develop ongoing modules, promote the knowledge and use of existing modules using appropriate means. 

It also directed to consider updating existing modules and improving their usability. The Secretariat was further directed to explore options on developing additional modules and improving availability of various modules of the atlas through scientific council and global database respectively among others.

The COP14 also made draft decisions on the maltreatment and mutilation of seabirds in fisheries where it directed the parties bordering the southwest Atlantic Ocean to work with fisheries management agencies and identify ways to address issues impacting seabird populations.

It directed Parties, “to endeavour to prevent further injuries to threatened and at-risk migratory species in their Exclusive Economic Zones” and inform.

The State of Migratory Species 2024, released by the Convention on Migratory Species at the beginning of the COP14 listed bycatch as one of the overexploitation factors, which poses serious threats to seabirds, especially albatrosses and petrels.

These species are estimated to be killed in thousands by getting caught in longline and gillnet fisheries.

The report further estimated that illegal killing claims about 11 million-36 million birds in the mediterranean region alone and 1.7 million-4.6 million birds are estimated to be taken in Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq.

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