Fish and Game Home

Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus)
Federally Endangered

photo of a short-tailed albatross Millions of short-tailed albatross were harvested by feather hunters prior to and following the turn of the 20th century. This unsustainable level of harvest almost drove this species to extinction. In 1949 people thought the Short-tailed Albatross was extinct when no adults returned to known breeding areas, however, approximately 10 adults were observed in 1951. More recently, large numbers of short-tailed albatrosses have been taken incidentally in long-line fishing operations. Protections have been put in place, including streamer lines to deter birds from taking baited hooks, that have greatly reduced the accidental by-catch of short-tailed albatrosses. When the Conservation of Endangered Species Act, the precursor to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), was passed in 1970, the short-tailed albatross was listed as an endangered foreign species. In other words, it was considered endangered throughout its range outside of the United States. In 1998, the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the short-tailed albatross as endangered within the US under the ESA. It was subsequently listed in 2000. The State of Alaska placed the short-tailed albatross on the State endangered species list in 1972.

For general information on Short-tailed Albatross, see the Short-tailed Albatross species profile page.