Gibson’s wandering albatrosses (Diomedea gibsoni) are endemic to the Auckland Islands, with approximately 95% of the population breeding on Adams Island, the southern-most island in the group. They forage largely in the Tasman Sea, but also along the continental shelf off southern and south eastern Australia, and off eastern New Zealand. The population has been in decline, and is listed as ‘Nationally Critical’ in the Department of Conservation’s threat ranking.
Due to the vulnerability of this species, their survival, productivity, recruitment and population trends have been monitored during almost annual visits to Adams Island since 1991. In the 1990’s the population slowly increased following a major, presumably fisheries-induced, decline during the 1980’s. However, between 2005 and 2008 there was a sudden drop of more than 40% in the size of the breeding population, from which recovery has been very slow. The Gibson’s wandering albatross population is now only about two-thirds of its estimated size in 2004, having lost all the gains slowly made through the 1990’s.
With ongoing fisheries bycatch of a species in marked decline, further information was sought on the adult survival and population trends of Gibson’s wandering albatrosses in 2013/14. This report summarises the most recent findings on the current status of Gibson’s wandering albatrosses, collected during the 2013/14 summer and is the second in a series of similar annual reports.