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Mali’s Lush Wetlands Drained by Foreign Agribusiness
MALI - Mayor Daouda Sanankoua had traveled overnight by boat to see me, through flooded forests and submerged banks of hippo grass. There was no other way. Sanankoua's domain, the district of Deboye in the heart of Mali in West Africa, is on the edge of the Sahara. Yet Sanankoua's homeland is mostly water. His people live by catching fish, grazing cattle, and harvesting crops in one of the world's largest and most fecund wetlands, a massive inland delta created by the meandering waters of one of Africa's mightiest waterways, the Niger River. Nearly two million Malians live on the delta. "Everything here depends on the water," said the mayor. "But"—and here he paused gravely, pushed his glasses down an elegant nose, and began waving a long finger—"the government is taking our water. They are giving it to foreign farmers. They don't even ask us." What is happening here in Mali is happening all over the world. People who depend on the natural flow of water, and the burst of nature that comes with it, are losing out as powerful people upstream divert the water. READ MORE
Indonesia's forests under renewed threat – experts
INDONESIA - Indonesia’s dwindling forests and an ambitious plan by the country’s president to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the world’s third largest emitter are under threat due to the struggle between national and local governments for authority over precious forest land, environmental activists told AlertNet. In February, Indonesia’s Constitution Court struck down a controversial clause of the Forestry Law, saying it was unconstitutional for the central government to designate forest zones without proper mapping, after six plaintiffs, including five district heads (known as “bupatis”) from Central Kalimantan, a province in the Indonesian portion of Borneo, asked for a review of the law. This has left everyone wondering what would happen to millions of hectares of land that have been designated as forest zone but have not been mapped. Currently, only 14.2 million of some 130 million hectares are adequately mapped. READ MORE
No growth for Thai shrimp exports in 2013
THAILAND - Thailand's shrimp exports will probably post no growth next year due to sluggish global demand, especially in Europe and the US. Somsak Paneetatyasai, president of the Thai Shrimp Association, said export volume is expected to remain at 350,000 metric tons (MT) next year. Overall shrimp production is projected at 540,000 MT this year, down 10 percent from 600,000 MT in 2011, due to diseases known as early mortality syndrome and white spot syndrome. Exports have also declined by 10 percent this year. However, Somsak said export value would remain unchanged at 100 billion baht this year. He said price trends in 2013 would be about the same as this year _ THB 140 for shrimp sizes of 70 units per kilogram. Global shrimp production is expected to total 2.02 million MT this year, down 13 percent from last year, because of the spread of emerging shrimp diseases and climate changes. READ MORE
Thailand's small-scale fishermen turn marine advocates, using small boats and special nets to preserve ecosystem
THAILAND - The woefully depleted marine ecosystem of Thailand's Pattaya Bay has gained an unlikely ally, as a group of Naklua fishermen are repairing the damage done by overfishing by using smaller boats and special nets. The Naklua Small Fishing Boats group is comprised of about 25 local captains who are hoping to save the waters inside Pattaya’s Near Islands by moderating catches and building artificial reefs to replenish fish and coral. Sunya Phatsaena, a consultant to the group, said the fishermen have been sticking to waters a kilometer or less off shore for two years, using biodegradable nets with larger holes to catch only what they need. At the same time, they’ve been working with the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to weave and deploy structures made of rope that can be transformed by hardened coral into artificial reefs. Fisherman Sombun Jankua said the new nets are made of bone byproducts and last only a year, compared with as many as six years for synthetic nets. But when nets are lost, they don’t suffocate coral reefs or entangle fish for long periods of time, as do the artificial versions. The problem, he said is that “most fishermen opt to use nets that offer the most convenience and return on investment.” READ MORE
Two arrests as Bangladeshis protests GCM mine plans in Phulbari
BANGLADESH - Three people were killed and over 200 injured on 26 August 2006 when paramilitary troops fired on a massive protest of some 80,000 demonstrators in Phulbari. The protesters were opposing a proposed open pit coal mine in the north-west of Bangladesh that the Bangladesh subsidiary of GCM Resources plc, Asia Energy, intends to implement. The project threatens to destroy the homes, lands, and water sources of as many as 220,000 people, and forcibly evict an estimated 130,000 people. The project has generated grave concern at national and international levels including the United Nations and among human rights and environmental organisations worldwide. With their concerns about impending and grave human rights violations unaddressed, seven Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations issued a joint UN press release on 28 February, 2012, calling for an immediate halt to the project on the grounds that it threatens the fundamental human rights of hundreds of thousands of people, including entire villages of indigenous people, and poses “an immediate threat to safety and standards of living.” READ MORE
Vietnam shrimp farmers mull Myanmar venture
VIETNAM - A group of Vietnamese shrimp farmers has voiced an interest in setting up a 500-acre farm in Yangon Region following a visit to Myanmar, a Myanmar Fisheries Federation official said. U Han Tun said during the weekly fisheries federation meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11 that the Vietnamese delegation discussed a possible venture with the Myanmar Shrimp Association on Sunday, reports The Myanmar Times. “They joined us at an exhibition of livestock and fisheries products on December 7 and 8,” he said of the Vietnamese delegation. “They were very interested in prawn farming in Myanmar because it’s a relatively undeveloped sector but one that they understand,” he said. READ MORE
Storm surge reduction by mangroves
USA - Storm surges occur when high winds and low atmospheric pressure raise water levels at the coast, causing sea water to surge onto the land. They are a major threat to low-lying coastal areas and their inhabitants. The largest storm surges are caused by tropical cyclones (also called hurricanes and typhoons in different regions); peak water levels can exceed 7 m in height, and can result in extensive flooding, loss of life and damage to property. Global climate change may result in increased storm surge flooding in some areas, through intensification of the cyclones driving the storm surges and as a result of sea level rise.Mangroves can reduce storm surge water levels by slowing the flow of water and reducing surface waves. Therefore mangroves can potentially play a role in coastal defence and disaster risk reduction, either alone or alongside other risk reduction measures such as early warning systems and engineered coastal defence structures (e.g. sea walls). Measured rates of storm surge reduction through mangroves range from 5 to 50 centimetres water level reduction per kilometre of mangrove width. In addition, surface wind waves are expected to be reduced by more than 75% over one kilometre of mangroves. READ MORE
A MAP INTERN SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE
It is nine o clock in the morning, Vienkapang road, Trang city. I arrive at MAP´s Asia office feeling a little dizzy after a short night and a hurried, unfinished breakfast (I still can´t get a whole night of sleep without waking up – I don´t know if it is the climate or the noises I haven´t been able to grow accustomed to in the past three days of my freshly started internship…). Today I´m going to leave the office for my first field trip. The destination is Thunggor, Bawi. It will take us a good hour car ride headed to the south. It is just me (Marc, fresh intern from Germany), Ning (MAP Asia office field coordinator) and Mr. Sompoch (Freelancer and aquaculture expert) who will be on this field trip. At the site we will meet a member of the DMCR (department of marine coastal resources) and the pond owner. MAP is starting a restoration project in Thunggor, Bawi with the objective to rehabilitate an abandoned shrimp pond with the tool of EMR (ecological mangrove restoration) and to turn a neighbouring abandoned shrimp pond into a sustainable aquaculture site where indigenous vegetation and compensational livelihood for the villagers shall go hand in hand in the future READ MORE
~ If you’d like to have the last word on this or any other mangrove related topic, please send us your submission for upcoming newsletters. We’ll choose one per issue to have “the last word”. While we can’t promise to publish everyone’s letter, we do encourage anyone to post comments on our Blog at www. mangroveactionproject.blogspot.com
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|Mangrove Action Project|
Saturday, December 22, 2012
MAP News Issue 304 Dec. 22, 2012
Posted by BlogAdmin at 1:14 PM