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Black Albatross Is Not Officially Endangered

WASHINGTON (CN) - Protecting the black-footed albatross under the Endangered Species Act is not warranted at this time, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The number one threat to the albatross is becoming ensnared in fishing nets, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which, along with the Turtle Island Restoration Network and EarthJustice, filed the listing petition.

Because the birds mate for life - only producing one egg per year - the loss of a single albatross can have a disproportionate impact on the overall population because the surviving mate can go years before finding a new partner.

While the agency recognized that entanglement in fishing nets is a threat to individual birds, it said that seabird avoidance measures adopted by commercial fishing fleets over the last decade had significantly reduced the threat to the species as a whole.

The petition asked the agency to consider breaking the world-wide population into distinct population segments and consider individual listing of those segments if it found that listing the entire population was not warranted.

The agency agreed to recognize a Hawaiian Islands and Japanese Islands breeding populations as distinct population segments, but found that neither warranted listing as threatened or endangered under the act.

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