The effects of fishery practices on black-footed (Phoebastria nigripes) and Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) continue to be a source of contention and uncertainty. Some of this uncertainty is a result of a lack of estimates of albatross demographic parameters such as survival. To begin to address these informational needs, a database of albatross banding and encounter records was constructed. Due to uncertainty concerning data collection and validity of assumptions required for mark-recapture analyses, these data should be used with caution. Although demographic parameter estimates are of interest to many, band loss rates, temporary emigration rates, and discontinuous banding effort can confound these estimates. We suggest a number of improvements in data collection that can help ameliorate problems, including the use of double banding and collecting data using a `robust? design. Additionally, sustained banding and encounter efforts are needed to maximize the value of these data. With these modifications, the usefulness of the banding data could be improved markedly.