In January, I attended the East Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) meeting in Singapore - a major international meetings targeted at coordinating actions to save our flyway’s incredible migratory waterbirds. The EAAFP is multi-actor voluntary agreement for conserving migratory waterbirds (shorebirds, seabirds, cranes, anatidae) along the 22 countries of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, from Alaska to New Zealand. It has a primary focus on habitat conservation for shorebirds, cranes, anatidae, and seabirds – as habitat loss remains a key threat to many species across these taxa. The EAAFP Meeting of Partners (MOP) is convened every two years and is the main decision-making forum of this agreement.
My role was to join the Seabird Working Group pre-meeting, where a flyway-wide approach to the conservation of seabird was discussed. The paucity of standardised monitoring data on the flyway’s 118 breeding seabirds was raised at this meeting, and this became a recurring concern identified throughout the MOP for all species groups. Among other commitments, the Seabird Working Group pledged to carry out a flyway-wide analysis of population trends and knowledge gaps. This work will be carried as part of my PhD, as it dovetails with my current analysis of global seabird population trends. The Seabird Working Group also shared and discussed other successes, including the remarkable story of the Chinese Crested Tern, thought to be extinct for over 60 years before its rediscovery in 2000. This positive story, amidst a backdrop of continuing declines in many other species, served as a beacon of hope showcasing the importance of coordinated, targeted actions.
The MOP made major steps forward on several issues. For a full account of the progress please visit the Fuller Lab website, or stay tuned for our upcoming article in Oryx.