Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.
The MAP News
WE NEED HELP! – Stop Bombing Indonesia’s Mentawai Reefs!
Support grows for mangroves
SWITZERLAND - Mangrove forests are an important part of tropical and sub-tropical coastlines but they are under considerable threat and need more conservation action. The establishment of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Mangrove Specialist Group will bring together experts to share mangrove knowledge and develop conservation plans. Thriving in saline conditions in which many species cannot survive, mangroves play a vital role in coastal areas by providing a nursery for fish and crustaceans; a home to a great variety of reptile, mammal and bird species; coastal protection from cyclones and tsunamis for human populations living in coastal areas and many more ecological benefits. There are 70 known species of mangroves and of these, 11 species are listed as threatened on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. READ MORE
Dutch court says Shell responsible for Nigeria spills
NIGERIA - A Dutch court ruled on Wednesday that Royal Dutch Shell's Nigerian subsidiary was responsible for a case of oil pollution in the Niger Delta and ordered it to pay damages in a decision that could open the door to further litigation. The district court in The Hague said Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd. (SPDC), a wholly-owned subsidiary, must compensate one farmer, but dismissed four other claims filed against the Dutch parent company. Four Nigerians and campaign group Friends of the Earth filed suits in 2008 in The Hague, where Shell has its global headquarters, seeking reparations for lost income from contaminated land and waterways in the Niger Delta region, the heart of the Nigerian oil industry. READ MORE
Landmark ruling for Tana Delta
Kenya - The High Court has made a landmark ruling requiring local people to be involved in all development plans for the fragile Tana River Delta. High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi said an agency should be set up to oversee the development of the delta with full participation of the communities, government agencies and conservation groups. Lady Justice Ngugi directed that the Tana and Athi River Development Authority (Tarda), one of the respondents in the suit, releases for review its existing development plans. READ MORE
Call to Stop Bombing Indonesia’s Mentawai Reefs
INDONESIA – Since 1980's, the remote Mentawai Islands have been attacked by fishermen using dynamite to explode the reef in order to kill fish. With increasing tourism and local populations, the bombers can no longer operate in secrecy. This practice must stop! We are petitioning the Indonesian government to help Mentawai patrol her western border in order to stop bomb fishing and other illegal activities. READ MORE
Unleasing Fish Ponds
Much mangrove forest has been lost due to the creation of fish ponds for commercial shrimp farming, a good source of income in coastal areas, at least in the short term. If we are to return the coast to mangrove forests, we need to find land that can be rehabilitated. Fishpond barrier with one stranded mangrove tree in center Much mangrove forest has been lost due to the creation of fish ponds for commercial shrimp farming, a good source of income in coastal areas, at least in the short term. If we are to return the coast to mangrove forests, we need to find land that can be rehabilitated. Many fish ponds are no longer of any value to the owners for shrimp farming but are still locked up by leases held by the owners. READ MORE
Big potential for Myanmar seafood sector
MYANMAR - The seafood sector in Myanmar has a large potential to contribute to food security, employment and economic development. Natural resources are widely available and fisheries is an important source of income and animal protein for the domestic population. Many products, like shrimp, mud crab and sea bass have a large commercial potential in high value markets in the EU and other overseas markets. To reach its full potential many constraints at the production and export level need to be overcome. This concludes LEI Wageningen UR in collaboration with The Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Import from Developing Countries (CBI) based on a quick scan to analyse the EU market potential of the seafood sector in Myanmar. READ MORE
Crocodile Island: a conservation hotspot
CHINA – Cayman Brac’s (and MAP’s) environmentalist, educator and author Martin Keeley spent time in China’s Crocodile Island this holiday season. Crocodile Island lies in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, about three miles from the city of Xiamen, China. The island used to be covered with mangroves but they were destroyed for fishing and by dredging. Both activities still remain a threat as the ocean current patterns around the island are being shifted by the recent re-establishment of dredging, and fishnets surround the island as aquaculture also threatens the ecosystem. The nets were removed several years when local villagers were paid by the government to get rid of them but re-appeared last year and continue to increase in number. According to Chinese Mangrove Conservation Network, 90 per cent of Xiamen’s mangroves have been destroyed through pollution, coastal real estate development and land reclamation. Something the NGO is fighting to rectify. READ MORE
MAP Support Enhances Village Livelihood
THAILAND - MAP has been working on the island of Phra Thong on the Andaman coast of Thailand since 2008. The island has diverse and abundant marine resources, including mangrove and seagrass. MAP has promoted their protection through sustainable management and the development of alternative livelihoods for local people. To that end, MAP has supported handicraft development, specifically the production of tie-dye cloth using natural dyes, and a home-stay program that earns income for village families from tourism. Local people remain dependent on small-scale fisheries, and they are very concerned about conserving them for future use. Two villages on the island have declared protected areas in their seagrass meadows, where removing organisms of any kind is prohibited. READ MORE
Focus on wetlands as natural solutions to global water crisis
NETHERLANDS - A report on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands urges a major shift in our attitudes to wetlands, to recognise their value in delivering water, raw materials and food, essential for life, and crucial for maintaining people’s livelihoods and the sustainability of the world’s economies. The report launched 1 February presents insights on critical water-related ecosystem services in order to encourage additional policy momentum, business commitment, and investment in the conservation, restoration, and wise use of wetlands. It shows how recognizing, demonstrating, and capturing the values of ecosystem services related to water and wetlands can lead to better informed, more efficient, and fairer decision-making. READ MORE
Shrimp farming sector being encouraged by EU
NETHERLANDS - Seafood exports from Myanmar are set to grow significantly this year, as European Union trade restrictions begin to lift, according to a new economic analysis. “The EU expects this year to implement a plan to import all cultured (farmed) product from Myanmar,” said Willem van der Pijl, business developer and consultant for The Netherlands-based socio-economic research firm LEI Wageningen UR, which produced the report. Buyers from the EU, the U.S. and, other countries are looking to the country to fulfill global short supplies of wild shrimp and other wild and farmed species such as tilapia. READ MORE
Mayan Riviera has lost 50% of mangroves and live coral
MEXICO – A scientific report, endorsed by the National Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA in Spanish) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF ) states that since 1976 the Mayan Riviera has lost 50 percent of mangrove and nearly half of its live coral, “sacrificed for the sake of tourism.” “This is a major global concern. The reef and generate oxygen, vital area for thousands of fish species, mangrove and seagrass, has direct dynamics over the sea transport of larvae, plant nutrients and organic matter and protect coastal cities and shorelines of waves, storms and erosion “. The report presented on the occasion of World Wetlands Day on February 2nd , is based on the monitoring of the Mesoamerican reef and mangrove conducted from 1976 to 2011 in Solidaridad and Tulum. READ MORE
MARN and FIAES promote restoration of wetlands
EL SALVADOR - As part of World Wetlands Day, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) outlined actions to conserve and restore seven wetlands surrounding municipalities of El Salvador, two valuable tools for conservation and management of these ecosystems: The "Reviews Priority Areas catalog on Wetlands "and" Environmental Strategy and Operational Plan ". Lina Pohl, vice minister of environment and FIAES president, noted that MARN has worked with communities to identify problems affecting these ecosystems and establish a strategic plan of action. In this event, it was announced that The Fund for the Americas Initiative (FIAES) will be supporting the first actions of this plan, by financing environmental projects to be implemented in wetlands that have the status of Ramsar site, which are: the Jocotal Laguna, lagoon Olomega Jaltepeque Complex, Complex Guija, Jiquilisco bay Complex and Cerron Grande reservoir. READ MORE
Shrimp: A year of risk?
USA - The forecast for the global shrimp industry this year is cloudy at best. “Grim” is the best word to describe the shrimp panel at the National Fisheries Institute’s (NFI) Global Seafood Market Conference in Santa Monica, Calif. last week. Another one might be “honest.” It is going to be a tough, tough year for shrimp in 2013, and not a single one of the panelists even tried to pretend different. Where to begin? Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) and weather threaten production. The US Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries has leveled accusations of dumping against seven shrimp production nations, which could lead to countervailing duties (CVD). In addition, rising labor costs are putting further pressure on already tight margins. READ MORE
Improving ARTISAN fishing and conserving biodiversity
HONDURAS - Improving fishing and conserving marine biodiversity along the coastal mainland, was a topic that was brought up in discussion between the Committee on Fisheries (COFi) of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and Member States, which (with Honduras among them), should meet this year to discuss and approve. “FAO Voluntary Guidelines to Ensure Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries" is an instrument for the improvement in the lives of the people, and for those who manage or rely on catches and marketing of small scale fisheries, as well as for those concerned about the continued conservation of biodiversity degradation in aquatic environments on the planet. There is no universal definition for small scale fisheries because of diversity of economic, cultural, dependence on fishing, traditional knowledge, labor relations, type and size of the boat, gear, etc., so many States primarily consider small scale fisheries to be like traditional fishing, considering it as a livelihood for obtaining food, shelter, education, health, income and small employment, with small boats and fishing gear operated manually. READ MORE
Are 'Frankenfish' Swimming Your Way?
USA - The seemingly straightforward question, “What are we having for dinner?” may get trickier to answer, due to a revolution in science. Many people call it "frankenfood" when the answer to the dinner question could be, "Salmon with a dash of eel genes"! This genetic manipulation isn't some pie-in-the-sky notion. In December, the US Food and Drug Administration moved one step closer to approving Massachusetts-based AquaBounty's application to sell genetically modified (GM) salmon. The agency found the company's AquAdvantage GM salmon is safe for human consumption and does not pose a significant risk to the environment. Yet both AquaBounty's product and numerous other GMO foods have raised serious concerns from many different groups. READ MORE See our Last Word below.
Will Washington State counties be able to ban aquaculture?
USA - A state representative in the Washington State House sponsored a bill this week that would endanger fish farm operations: it would let counties ban net pen aquaculture. “Master programmes may include provisions for siting or prohibiting the siting of marine aquaculture net pen facilities,” says the bill by Representative Kevin Van De Wege. The bill, HB 1599, does not impact any net pens already in operation, he pointed out. Steve Gray, Clallam County deputy director of the Department of Community Development, handles the county’s update of its shoreline master programme, which is still in early stages, Peninsula Daily News reports. READ MORE
As you may be aware, the Food and Drug Administration has posted its draft Environmental Assessment (11EA") for the New Animal Drug Application (NADA) for AquAdvantage Salmon. This application was filed by AquaBounty Technologies, and has been the subject of intensive review and public debate. In 2010 the FDA held public meetings, and disclosed the results of their scientific review of the application and concluded that AquAdvantage Salmon was identical to the traditional food and was as safe to eat as the traditional food. Similarly FDA concluded that if approved under the conditions of use proposed in the NADA, AquAdvantage represented no threat to the environment. FDA's Veterinary Medical Advisory Committee (VMAC), a committee composed of outside academic experts concurred with the FDA review. The materials released to the public for these meetings can be found on the FDA's web site.
Along with the EA, FDA has published its preliminary Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The FONSI is a very important document, because it represents the agency's preliminary conclusions based upon the information in the EA that no further environmental assessment is required (for example, the conduct of an Environmental Impact Study, or EIS) as a prerequisite for possible FDA approval of the AquAdvantage NADA. This process presents the opportunity for the public, opponents and supporters alike, to submit comments to the FDA with respect to its preliminary conclusions.
It is my request that you will consider commenting on these two documents. I have supplied a one page summary of the FDA's findings for your information. As FDA will consider all comments received, it is customary for you to file comments on both the EA docket (FDA- 2011-N0899-0002) as well as the FONSI docket (FDA-2011-N-0899-0003). Because the FDA will count form letters as a single comment, comments should clearly represent an individual's or entity's unique perspective and reaction.
This letter and the appended summary are intended only to provide background and information you might wish to utilize in formulating comments. Our website (AquaBounty.com) has additional information if you choose to visit. Please, as you see fit, share this letter with other interested individuals and organizations.
Ronald L. Stotish,Ph.D.
CEO & President, AquaBounty Technologies.
~ 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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