In the last century, populations of the shy albatross were drastically reduced due to their demand in the feather trade, but since then their numbers have slowly increased (2). Today the main threat facing this albatross, like other species, is longlining; a fishing method that involves a single line up to 130 kilometers long, with thousands of baited hooks attached to it, being pulled behind a boat. Shy albatrosses, scavenging in the ocean, try to eat the bait from the line as it is set behind the boat, but instead swallow the hooks and are dragged under and drowned (9). The ingestion of plastic, marine debris and pollution also pose a threat to the shy albatross whilst at sea (5).
At the breeding sites, few threats exist, as the only human disturbance arises from activities associated with the conservation management of the islands (5). There are no non-native species resident on Mewstone and Pedra Branca Island, and those on Albatross Island have no impact on the albatross population (5). However, an avian pox virus poses a potentially serious threat. This virus, probably transmitted by parasitic fleas and ticks, has been recorded in chicks on Albatross Island and kills an unknown number of birds (1) (5) (10). As albatross are long-lived birds with a low reproductive output they are exceptionally vulnerable to the effects of any threats, as they can not breed fast enough to replace the numbers being killed (9).