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MAP board member oversees project to restore aquatic life
USA - Nine years after hurricane-whipped waves breached a gypsum-stack berm near Riverview, the corporation that owns the mining operation is paying $5 million for a pair of ambitious projects to restore wetlands and tidal marshes where the Alafia River empties into Hillsborough Bay. The two Mosaic projects are being undertaken along U.S. 41 on the north and south sides of the river bridge, officials announced at a Wednesday news conference held on the south bank of the river. Neither project was connected to the spill, but Mosaic was required to create restoration projects in the area as part of an agreement the phosphate giant made with the government in the wake of the spill. "The mangroves there are under severe stress," said Robin Lewis, an environmental consultant hired by Mosaic to oversee the projects. Cutting the tidal flow results in "a mangrove heart attack," he said. "That's a sudden death of mangroves due to poor circulation." The choking of the mangroves, which purify the water and provide a spawning environment for many fish, predated the spill, he said, and the restoration will put the area in better shape than it has been in half a century. READ MORE
Mangrove Action Day celebration 2013 report from GREENCODE
NIGERIA - Green Concern for Development (GREENCODE) in partnership with Concern Universal and NGO Collation for Environment (NGOCE) with support from European Union (EU) under the Integrated Mangrove Forest Management (IMFORM) Project organised Mangrove Action Day 2013 at the Ikot Nakanda council hall in Akpabuyo LGA , Cross River State. The event was attended by 1,000 participants drawn from the traditional rulers, MDAs like Forestry Commission, Ministry of Environment, Executive Secretary of Education Authority Board, School Children and their Patrons/matrons, villagers/community people, CSOs, Media and other stakeholders. Activities line-up for the day were; seminar presentations, drama, poems, folks and presentation of gifts to winners of essay writing competition on the topic the importance of mangrove in my community. Prizes were given and also certificates to winning schools. READ MORE
Editor’s note – this is a follow-up on our special on human rights violations. See MAP News Issue 316, June 8th 2013
Leaders Of Infamous Human Trafficking Gang Arrested
THAILAND - Thai authorities in the last week have rounded up three leading members of a Burmese human trafficking gang responsible for selling hundreds of their fellow countrymen into slavery and murdering dozens of people. According to the Burmese embassy in Bangkok’s labour attaché Naing Htun, combined forces from the Royal Thai Police and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) nabbed the group’s leader Ko Myo last week after capturing one of his top aides on 31 July. Another of the gang’s henchman was reportedly arrested on Tuesday, while officials continue to search for an unidentified Burmese national associated with the outfit. The notorious human trafficking and racketeering group are believed to have been behind approximately 40 murders and operated around the ports in Trang province’s Kantang district. The area serves as a major hub for Thailand’s massive fishing industry, which employs thousands of Burmese migrants many of whom are believed to have been trafficked and sold into captivity. READ MORE
Marine eco-system in the Gulf at risk of collapse
THAILAND – Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines are at serious risk of permanently destroying their marine eco-systems, due to over-fishing, pollution and the destruction of environmental habitat, according to Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "Right now in Southeast Asia, there are fishing operations which are above the capacity of our oceans - especially in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, which are all over-fishing their territorial waters. Too many fishing boats cashing in on too few fish has led to serious over-fishing," Sirasa Kantaratanakul, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, told The Nation. Greenpeace's ship Esperanza has been in Thai waters since June 15 in preparation for launching its campaign, "Oceans in the Balance: Thailand in Focus". READ MORE
OP-ED: The need to save our mangroves
THAILAND - Despite the mangrove forests' capacity as one of nature's best ways for fighting global warming, large areas of mangroves in the Southeast Asian region are at risk of being depleted to make way for indiscriminate coastal development. Not many of us are aware that mangrove forests, normally found in marshy areas between the shore and the sea, can make a difference in mitigating climate change, with their ability to serve as carbon sinks. We don't have to look far for signs of the devastation. One such affected area is Indonesia's South Sulawesi, in which over the past 30 years close to 90 per cent of the total original mangrove forest has faced massive destruction due to deforestation, over-harvesting and pollution. The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), in a report, said that Southeast Asia suffers from the highest rate of mangrove losses, with at least 600 square kilometres being stripped away each year over the last two decades. This turn of events is quite alarming because the ASEAN region holds about one-third of all mangrove forest area worldwide. READ MORE
US agrees to zero anti-dumping tariff
THAILAND - Thai shrimp exports look set to become more competitive in the United States, after the US agreed to cut its anti-dumping tariff to zero percent this year, the Foreign Trade Department has announced. It's the first time in eight years that the tariff has been cut. Thai shrimp exports have been hurt by the high anti-dumping duties on Thai shrimp in recent years. Bangjongjit Angsusingh, deputy director-general to the Foreign Trade Department, said that Thai frozen shrimp exports to the US faced a more positive future, following Thailand’s efforts to provide clear documentation against the US-imposed anti-dumping duties (AD) on Thai shrimp. Thai shrimp exports have struggled with high duties since 2005, hampering competitiveness and creating additional financial burden for Thai exporters. READ MORE
VASEP protests against anti-subsidy duties on local shrimp
VIETNAM – The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) has voiced its protest against the latest decision on the imposition of anti-subsidy duties on Vietnamese shrimp exporters from the US Department of Commerce (DOC). VASEP said such a decision is unfair to local shrimp processors and exporters as they are operating under market mechanisms, and have never received any government’s subsidy or any other kinds of subsidies. This decision also means that the US has levied two kinds of taxes on the same product, the import tariff and the anti-subsidy duty, thereby directly affecting the livelihoods of 600,000 Vietnamese farmers and many others working in related fields, including workers and businesses. VASEP also pointed out the disadvantage of the US consumer after the new decision. READ MORE
MAP ASIA Intern reports on restoration photos
In June working with MAP as a volunteer intern I got a chance to visit our Ecological Mangrove Restoration (EMR) site at Thunggor village, Had Samran district in the Trang province. Our task for the trip was to make a time-lapse photo collection of the EMR demonstration site. This article will discuss about the steps of timelapse photo collection from my first-hand experience. Time-lapse photos monitoring is a crucial procedure of the EMR process. Time-lapse photos are collected in order to monitor the changes within the EMR site after the project has been implemented. It is a simple quick way to monitor and inexpensive which does not require scientific knowledge. It is one of the important indicator tools to help determine success / failure of the EMR project. The monitoring is carried out according to a sequence for 3-5 years. READ MORE
Dominican Republic bans shrimp imports from six countries
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC –Agriculture Minister Luis Ramon Rodriguez has banned imports of all shrimp from China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico, due to fears of Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS). Imports of shrimp both cooked and live has been banned in order to prevent EMS from entering the country. Rodriguez noted that imports will still continue from other countries that can guarantee they are free of EMS. The measure is covered by Law No. 307-04 of Fisheries and Agriculture, establishing effective measures to prevent the extinction of certain marine species, ensuring food and health protection. VIEW SOURCE
Creation of a New Protected Area in Southwestern Haiti
HAITI – On Wednesday August 7th, 2013 Haiti’s Council of Ministers announced the creation of the “Protected Area of Natural Resources Management of Port Salut/Aquin (Aire Protégée de Ressources Naturelles Gérées de Port Salut/Aquin)” located in southwestern Haiti. It is composed of five zoned sites enclosed within an area covering a total of close to 150,000 hectares (1,500 sq.km.) and includes mixed marine and terrestrial sites. We once again applaud the Haitian government’s move to protect our natural resources. This designation is another critical step forward as Haiti renews its commitment to protect the environment, especially in light of President Martelly’s designation of 2013 as The Year of the Environment for Haiti,” stated Jean Wiener, Director of the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FoProBiM) in Haiti. “However, the designation is the easy part, now comes the hard part. We must ensure an increased engagement of the local communities, national stakeholders, the government, and our international partners to actively participate in the protection and sustainable management of the resources within this important area. We are also looking towards the designation of Marine Protected Areas in the very near future.” READ MORE
Palm oil empires in the name of “green energy” and “sustainable development”
Honduras - International environmental and human rights campaigners condemn the 4th Latin American Palm Oil Conference to be held by the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in Honduras on 6th-8th August. From 6th-8th August, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is holding its 4th Latin American Conference on so-called sustainable palm oil in Honduras. Environmental and social campaigners have been shocked to learn that one event sponsor is the palm oil company Dinant Corporation, owned and controlled by Miguel Facusse, the largest landowner in Honduras. They are calling on World Wildlife Fund WWF and three other organisations to withdraw from and denounce the conference being held in Honduras due to the Dinant's sponsorship of the event and the serious human rights implications. Mr. Facusse was a key supporter and beneficiary of the June 2009 military coup in Honduras, has been associated with narco-trafficking , and, along with other large oil palm growers, has been linked to the targeted killing of more than 88 members and supporters of peasant organisations since June 2009 in the Aguan Valley , one of the main palm oil producing regions in Honduras. READ MORE
Don't sweat mercury — eat your fish
USA - It’s time to tell people to stop being afraid of methylmercury. This may sound like a radical statement, considering over the past decade many consumers have been leery of eating too much seafood out of fear of methylmercury poisoning, especially in children and pregnant women. The majority of seafood buyers and sellers worldwide are aware on some level of the health messages that children and pregnant or nursing mothers should limit their consumption of fish known to have high levels of methylmercury. What most consumers don’t understand, however, is why most ocean fish is really OK to eat — whether you’re pregnant or not — and why it really is safe to feed that tuna fish sandwich to our children. READ MORE
Deaths of Manatees, Dolphins and Pelicans Point to Estuary at Risk
USA - The first hint that something was amiss here, in the shallow lagoons and brackish streams that buffer inland Florida from the Atlantic’s salt water, came last summer in the Banana River, just south of Kennedy Space Center. Three manatees — the languid, plant-munching, over-upholstered mammals known as sea cows — died suddenly and inexplicably, one after another, in a spot where deaths were rare. A year later, the inquiry into those deaths has become a cross-species murder mystery, a trail of hundreds of deaths across one-third of the Indian River estuary, one of the richest marine ecosystems in the continental United States. The cause continues to evade easy explanation. But a central question is whether the deaths are symptoms of something more ominous: the collapse of the natural balance that sustains the 156-mile estuary’s northern reaches. READ MORE
Environmentalists ask Authorities to Protect the Mangroves
MEXICO - An urgent appeal to the state government, are making environmental organizations and civil society, in order to stop the destruction of mangroves on the north bank of the lagoon Carpenter, on the occasion of the Centennial Green Park works. At a news conference, attorney and historian Hilda Miriam Gomez Huberman cautioned that is altering the ecological balance in that glass lakeside, putting at risk the health and even the safety of thousands of families living in the vicinity, as the mangrove meets a wide range of beneficial functions to maintain the balance of nature. And they made a timeline of what they consider a real ecocide, pointing to the Municipality, PROFEPA and SEMARNAT, among other agencies involved, which have been ignored citizen complaints filed since early this year. Therefore, Hilda Gomez said requested and a federal injunction to order the suspension of the work carried out in an area of 16 hectares of land reclaimed from the lagoon of the Carpenter, on which they hope to rule the judge of the 9th Judicial District in the course of next week. READ MORE
Higher Prices could Mark the Start of Shrimp Season
USA - Shrimpers in Louisiana are gearing up for Shrimp season that's set to start Monday. But shrimpers say major prices changes are in store. Industry experts are estimating as much as one dollar per pound higher than last season. Problems with shrimp overseas have reduced the amount of shrimp being imported. It's created a lower supply of shrimp in the U.S., and made what's caught even more valuable. "I always said that our shrimp would be gold, worth gold, if those ponds, something happened to those ponds and they quit shipping that shrimp here...that our shrimp was going to be what the people wanted," owner of Granger Seafood Albert Granger said, who's been a shrimper for over 25 years. Shrimpers are hoping that higher prices this year will make business better than ever. They also want customers to be aware of the overall higher prices this season. READ MORE
Consumers will pay more for responsible products
USA - In the largest study of its kind, researchers at NYU Stern School of Business conducted a meta-analysis of 83 different research papers on consumers’ willingness to pay a premium for socially responsible products of all types (both durable and nondurable items such as seafood). They found that 60 percent of consumers are willing to pay extra for socially responsible products. On average, consumers are willing to pay a 17.3 percent premium for goods that provide a social or environment benefit. Shoppers are willing to pay the highest premium — 9 percent more — for goods that provide benefits to humans (such as good labor practices), followed by purchases that benefit animals (0.5 percent), followed by goods that are environmentally friendly. “This has some implication for how companies market and develop their products. In the seafood industry, issues such as saving jobs or providing good working conditions for industry workers may pay off better than considerations for the fish themselves,” Russ Winer, chair of NYU Stern’s Marketing Department and the study’s author, told SeafoodSource. READ MORE
Editor’s Note: Obviously, when the industry is hurting in one area, it stimulates growth in another. Thus, the mangroves and coastal communities of Ecuador, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Burma need to beware!
Ecuador, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Burma plan for shrimp farm expansions
NETHERLANDS - According to a new report from Dutch bank Rabobank, the outbreak of early mortality syndrome (EMS) in the Far East has brought an end to a decade-long boom in the shrimp aquaculture industry, resulting in the largest ever contraction in supply and subsequent record prices. The report, published by the bank’s Food and Agribusiness Research and Advisory team, says the impact of EMS on the three largest global shrimp producers opens a window of opportunity for other shrimp producing regions, and predicts the long-term result will be consolidation and vertical integration of large, multinational shrimp producers. With the recent discovery of the cause of EMS, Rabobank said it expects the industry to emerge more consolidated and with larger, diversified, more vertically integrated multinational producers leading the next growth wave. Producers in Ecuador, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Myanmar are rapidly expanding production.” READ MORE
Group calls for more safety
After the death of a new crab gather in the province of El Oro recently, the C-CONDEM (National Coordinated Defense of Mangrove Ecosystems) requires government authorities to ban electrification of fences in mangrove areas and the repeal of permits to carry weapons for the shrimp industry.
On Monday, members of the C-CONDEM with a large representation of community members from various mangrove areas of the five coastal provinces, met with Minister Javier Ponce to document the various acts of violence involving the shrimp farm industry in mangrove areas. Ponce Minister had occasion to hear the talk of widows and families of victims, as local villagers have been killed by gunshot wounds, torn by dogs or electrocuted on electric fences on their way to perform their tasks of shellfish collecting, crabbing or performing fishing activities.
Communities living in mangrove areas reported to the highest authority MAGAP as in many cases, community roads that have been historically used by the inhabitants to reach harvesting areas and fishing areas where they claim their food sovereignty, are being illegally fenced and closed by the shrimp industry. READ MORE
~ WE WELOCME YOUR LETTERS - 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, August 17, 2013
MAP News Issue 321, Aug 17, 2013
Posted by BlogAdmin at 12:26 PM