Saturday, September 28, 2013

MAP News Issue 324, Sept 28, 2013


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
324rd Edition                                September 28, 2013

Action Alerts:

Save the Sundarbans from Rampal power plant – View Sample Letter to Minister
Sign the Petition
Volunteers needed in Sri Lanka – Positions Open with EMACE – READ MORE

Please help RedManglar Mexico put pressure on the Mexican government to protect the mangroves now threatened by development. PLEASE JOIN US IN SIGNING THIS PETITION

Question Your Shrimp- Don't Buy or Sell Imported Tropical Shrimp! Sign the Petition

Donate to MAP via Paypal
Giving could never be easier
It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.
—Mahatma Gandhi

Green Planet Fundraising Assists MAP – LEARN MORE



MAP is looking for volunteer interns for its Thailand Headquarters – READ MORE




The importance of restoring mangroves in an effective, long-term manner. Mangrove video - VIEW

Please view our new video for our Question Your Shrimp Consumer/Markets Campaign! It is now on our website under the Question Your Shrimp section heading. WATCH VIDEO

Mangrove Restoration in Asia – Watch Short Video
Mosaic of Life 
READ A MOSAIC OF LIFE” Peek into the underwater world of mangroves, "womb of the sea." By Liz Cunningham Photos By Wes Matweyew and Liz Cunningham

View MAP’s uploaded Videos at MAPmangrover’sChannel

“Education In The Mangroves" can now be seen on the  PhotoPhilanthropy website here!

Marvellous Mangroves – A Curriculum-Based Teachers Guide.
By Martin A. Keeley, Education Director, Mangrove Action Project
Read this 10 page history of the development of MAP’s educational curriculum VIEW DOCUMENT


Education In The Mangroves
Six minute video features discussion of Mangrove Action Project’s Mangrove Curriculum VIEW THE VIDEO
Article in Canada's Green Teacher Magazine -
Read More

"Question Your Shrimp" Campaign

Learn more about the affects of the shrimp industry on mangroves by visiting our blog

Editor’s Note: Mangrove Action Project’s Executive Director, Alfredo Quarto was interviewed about shrimp by Green Acre Radio’s Martha Baskin


Join MAP on Facebook

Sign the Consumer's Pledge to avoid imported shrimp


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Note to Our Readers:
We strive to keep active links in our newsletter. However, due to circumstances beyond our control,
occasionally links to stories may become broken. If you find a link to a story is not functioning, please cut and paste the headline into your browser search bar. In most cases you should be able to locate the original story.

Help Mangrove Action Project through your recycled E-Waste.  List of Accepted E-waste Items:

Injet Cartidges, Cell Phones, Pagers, GPS, Radar Detectors, Mobile Hot Spots, Calculators, eBook Readers, iPods/MP3 players, Digital/Video Cameras/Camcorders, PDAs, iPads/Tablets/Laptops, Video Game Consoles, Handheld Video Games

Visit the Mangrove Action Project recycle website Click on the recycle button then click on the Download Shipping Label, and follow the instructions.





Rampal power plant: A project of deception and mass destruction
BANGLADESH - Thousands of people, young and old, women and men, recently embarked on a 400 km 5 days long march from Dhaka, the capital city, to Digraj a place in Rampal, the extended Sundarbans area, in South west Bangladesh. The march took place on the 24th of September, 2013. Organised by the ‘National Committee to Protect Oil Gas Mineral Resources Port and Power’, the main demand for this long march is to cancel ‘Rampal coal fired power plant’ and stop all activities that would destroy the Sundarban. Officials of the march say if implemented, the power plant would destroy the largest mangrove forest in the world. Sign The Petition to Stop This Project SIGN HERE Why are people around the country so sensitive, and why they are coming forward to resist this? The name Sundarbans সুন্দরবন is a combination of two Bangla words, Sundar and Bans. Sundar means beautiful and Bans means forests. So, in English, Sundarbans means the beautiful forests. Yes, it is. Not only beautiful in all senses, it is extraordinarily rich in biodiversity, single largest mangrove forest in the world. UNESCO declared it as world heritage site. This has also been a huge natural safeguard against frequent cyclone, storm and other natural disasters in the country. Sidr, Aila, Mohasen were recent ones. Our living memory shows that in every natural disaster, the Sundarban saves lives of hundreds of thousands human beings, their properties, and other non-human lives READ MORE
Mangroves bring wildlife back to Senegal coast
SENEGAL – Crabs scuttle among mangrove roots in a dense riverbank forest in southern Senegal, where a major reforestation project is reviving wildlife and boosting the west African country's lukewarm economy. "Everything you see here has been replanted. Before 2006, there wasn't a single tree," said Senegalese environmental activist and government minister Haidar El Ali in Tobor, a village near Ziguinchor, the main city of the Casamance region. He gestured toward mangroves tied to stilts bordering the Casamance river, planted by his Oceanium environmental organisation to boost an area that experts said was severely depleted by deforestation, drought and increased salt levels in the water. Alongside the road leading to the neighbouring Marsassoum valley, and around the paddy fields used in the centuries-old activity of rice cultivation, various mangrove species are abundant. READ MORE

Mangrove ecosystem course for the Western Indian Ocean region
KENYA – Registration is now open. We invite applications for a new training course on Mangrove Ecosystems for the countries of the the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) Region. In an effort to expand the geographical reach of the successful UNU-INWEH supported training course on mangrove ecosystems held in India every year since 2004, the course is now being piloted in Kenya this fall to ~20 participants from the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) Region. Together with partners from Kenya, UNU-INWEH has succeeded in securing a grant from the Western Indian Ocean Marine Sciences Association (WIOMSA) through its Marine Science for Management (MASMA) programme to conduct this 11 day regional training course at the University of Nairobi field research facility in Diani, Kenya (2-12 December 2013). Please go to the website to apply.
Wetlands International Embarks On Mangrove Replanting in Kiang West
GAMBIA - Wetlands International Africa recently planted mangroves in Sandeng and Bondali Tenda in Kiang West, Lower River Region. The initiative was meant to restore ecosystems, fight against encroachment of the river and increase livelihoods of populations. The two-day intensive mangrove planting exercise, held at the river boundary sides of the villages, was actively participated in by youth in the villages. The Canary Current Land Marine Ecosystem (CCLME) project was funded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and implemented by Wetlands International Africa and International Union for Conservation of Nature. Speaking at the exercise, Pape Diomaye Thiare, Wetlands International Africa's communication officer and media coordinator, thanked the communities of both villages for their active participation in the exercise. READ MORE
Governing Africa's Mangroves - a Sustainable Future
SOUTH AFRICA - Despite their widely recognised socioeconomic and ecological value, mangroves are among the world's most threatened vegetation types. More than a fifth of the world's mangroves have been lost over the past 30 years alone, and many surviving forests are degraded. Safeguarding them will require urgent interventions aimed at ensuring that their vital ecosystem services and non-market benefits are adequately incorporated in policy and development choices. Given Africa's extractive boom, countries need to fully understand the consequences of natural resource exploitation for their fragile ecosystems, in order to minimise negative impacts and avoid poor trade-offs. Policy-makers and planners must realise that mangroves need to be restored, protected, and managed. This will require more effective management tools and interventions, as well as mechanisms for minimising the tensions between extractive development and the conservation of mangrove forests. VIEW SOURCE
Bodo Community Rejects Shell's N7.5 Billion Compensation Offer
NIGERIA - About 11,000 fishermen and others from Bodo community, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers, who lost incomes when a pipeline belonging to shell burst in 2008 have rejected a £30 million (about N7.5 billion) or around £1,100 compensation offer for each person affected by the oil spill. Martyn Day, a partner with the UK law firm Leigh Day who represented the Bodo people during the negotiation, told British newspaper, The Guardian that Shell's offer was rejected unanimously at a large public meeting in Bodo. "The amount offered for most claimants equated to two to three years' net lost earnings whereas the Bodo creek has already been out of action for five years and it may well be another 20-25 before it is up and running properly again. I was not at all surprised to see the community walked out of the talks once they heard what Shell were offering." READ MORE
Malaysia aquaculture sector struggles for land
MALAYSIA – Expansion of Malaysian aquaculture continues to be crimped by demand for land for palm oil and rubber production, according to a senior fisheries officer in Kuala Lumpur. “Malaysia wants to increase domestic shrimp output and also increase the value-add of our aquatic products,” said Ahmad Iskandar, senior marketing officer at the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia. “But pond space is really at a premium given the continued growth of the palm oil industry.” The palm industry is also competing for an increasingly scarce supply of cheap labor from Thailand and Indonesia (drying up as migrants have more opportunities nearer to home) according to Iskandar. READ MORE
Urgent Clarity Needed as 4-Year Thailand Migrant NV Deadline Expires
THAILAND - There are an estimated 3 million foreign migrant workers in Thailand, over 80% originating from Myanmar. Since the late 1980s, these workers have irregularly crossed borders to work in mostly dirty, dangerous and demanding jobs in Thailand thereby significantly contributing to Thailand’s economy and providing billions of dollars in remittances to support relatives in origin countries. These workers continue to face significant exploitation and confusing piecemeal government migration policies. According to the 2003 Memorandum of Undrestanding signed between Thailand and Myanmar, after migrants from Myanmar have remained in Thailand for 4 years they must return home for 3 years before becoming eligible to return to Thailand. This policy has never been realistic both for workers, employers and Thai and Myanmar governments and their respective economies. Workers need to remain in Thailand to support their families in Myanmar; employers don’t want to lose their trained workers at times of labour shortage; and Myanmar is not ready to receive back migrants to develop its opening economy. READ MORE
EJF issues new human rights abuses report
THAILAND – The nonprofit advocacy group Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has issued a new report on human rights abuses in the Thai seafood industry, this time focusing on workers in shrimp processing. The EJF made headlines in May, when it released a report, “Sold to the Sea,” detailing human trafficking, forced labor, imprisonment and murder of workers on Thai fishing vessels. Now, the group has introduced a new report, “The Hidden Cost: Human Rights Abuses in Thailand’s Shrimp Industry,” which looks at the shrimp processing industry. The report alleges human trafficking of migrant workers, withholding of pay, forced detention, bonded labor and other abuses. The report includes interviews with five former workers at a pre-processing factory owned by a captain in the Royal Thai Police. The workers described being forced into 16-hour shifts, with many workers, including children, peeling shrimp and extracting excrement until 8 p.m. daily. READ MORE
Shrimp industry hit by EMS disease
MALAYSIA - Local shrimp farmers are being adversely affected by large-scale losses of their products due to a disease called “Early Mortality Syndrome” (EMS), says an industry expert. The disease has caused high mortality rates of cultivated shrimp in China, Vietnam and Thailand for the past two years. The problem has also affected Malaysia, said the industry expert Shamar Kamarudin. He said EMS or Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Syndrome (AHPNS) comes from bacteria and delays shrimp growth that prevents it from reaching maturity. “It simply means the shrimp will be undersized and eventually they cannot be harvested. “The disease can infect shrimp through virus carriers such as wild shrimps, crabs and the shrimp seeds itself,” he said in an interview here yesterday. In the latest case, he said an EMS case was detected in July in Johor, where 100% of all shrimps in seven ponds died due to infection. READ MORE
Vietnam shrimp exports continue growth trend
VIETNAM – According to Vietnam Customs, in the first 8 months of 2013, Vietnam shrimp exports reached USD 1.73 billion (EUR 1.3 billion), up 22 percent from the same period in 2012. Since the second quarter of 2013, shrimp exports have recovered and reported continuous growth on par with that of the same month of last year. In August this year, value of shrimp exports reached USD 335 million (EUR 348 m illion), marking the sharpest growth of 65.5 percent. Shipment of whiteleg shrimp increased three-fold compared to the same month of 2012. Through August, whiteleg shrimp exports rose by 71 percent compared to the same time last year while exports of black tiger shrimp increased 2.7 percent. So far this year, shrimp exports accounted for 41.6 percent of Vietnam’s total seafood export value thanks to higher global price and shorter shrimp supply. In January to August of 2013, the increase in shrimp exports compensated for the decrease in other seafood exports including pangasius and tuna, and contributed to push the total seafood exports to reach USD 4.16 billion (EUR 3 billion), an 4.3 percent increase over last year READ MORE
MAP's newest volunteer intern "digging the life" of an environmentalist
MAP Volunteer Intern
THAILAND -Mid-dig in an abandoned shrimp pond, I would not normally have answered the phone. Number blocked. As it turned out, it was a friend of mine from the UK wishing me a happy birthday. I had completely forgotten. Kind of her to think of me, and we chatted for a while about the stresses of a London existence and running her business, mad traffic, the price of shoes and the flattening UK weather.  ‘You're really living the life!’ she concluded. In order to avoid my phone being filled with rain, I'd been bent double and twisted over to shelter it.  The rain was stinging me so hard I used a shovel as an umbrella. The wind had picked up making me shiver involuntarily as I was sodden from sweat and rain. Mercifully, that day's two hour digging session was being drawn to a close by the evening call to prayer from Bang Lang Da's mosque and the gloaming. I was shattered - hands, back and shoulders aching - and still had 26k to scooter home in the hard rain, along the side of a two-lane intercity speedway. Living the life, indeed. READ MORE
Group calls for global awareness of wetland destruction of RAMSAR protected site
HONDURAS - Several days ago landowners near the Honduran Cuyamel National Park, seemingly with the complicity and support of local authorities and high ranking government officials, have destroyed a large area of some 800 hectares of National Park and RAMSAR site number 2133 , recently declared February 2, World Wetlands Day 2013. This devastation was carried out in order to implement planned oil palm and biofuel projects within the National Park. The National Park status is one of the strictest environmental laws in Honduras, yet these projects continue. Fishermen and residents of the area also report logging of various mangrove species in RAMSAR site on the shores of Lake Chachaguala. The destruction has taken place within National Park boundaries in the Chachaguala lagoon, a ​​flooded forest, lagoon systems, and mangrove ecosystem. The degradation and destruction of ecosystems to plant monocultures directly affects the Cuyamel river, which has even been diverted. Also impacted are the wetland systems of Motagua River, an area that borders the Wildlife Refuge Manabique , another Ramsar site protected area in neighboring Guatemala , which is a binational impact ecological degradation. The most significant impacts have been given Cuyamel river channelization and its negative effects on drainage and sedimentation of its lagoon systems, deforestation and loss of forest cover and the destruction of ecosystems such as mangroves, loss of biodiversity and strategic habitat for flagship species and the destruction of livelihoods of local communities. READ MORE (en Espanol)
US professor builds new shrimp-farming system
USA - A University of Missouri (MU) professor has invented a shrimp-farming system that not only grows shrimp quickly but also produces zero waste. “No one in the U.S. has yet been able to demonstrate profitability with shrimp. Ninety percent of our shrimp [consumed in the U.S.] comes from Asia,” David Brune, professor of agricultural systems management at the University of Missouri, told SeafoodSource. Over the long-term, Asian shrimp farming methods are unsustainable and harm the environment, according to Brune. “Most shrimp are grown in China, Indonesia and Thailand, where producers feed wild-caught fish meal and are discharging waste from their ponds into Asian coastal waters. Eventually, these practices will stop and everyone is going to have to go to a limited discharge or zero discharge system,” he said. READ MORE
EDITORS NOTE - Here is another strong statement against further conversion of mangroves to shrimp farms or other uses:
Carbon stocks of intact mangroves and carbon emissions arising from their conversion in the Dominican Republic
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Mangroves are recognized to possess a variety of ecosystem services including high rates of carbon sequestration and storage. Deforestation and conversion of these ecosystems continue to be high and have been predicted to result in significant carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Yet few studies have quantified the carbon stocks or losses associated with conversion of these ecosystems. In this study we quantified the ecosystem carbon stocks of three common mangrove types of the Caribbean as well as that of abandoned shrimp ponds in areas formerly occupied by mangrove; a common land use conversion of mangroves in the world. In the mangroves of the Montecristi Province in Northwest Dominican Republic, we found C stocks ranged from 706 to 1131 Mg/ha. The medium statured mangroves (3-10m ht) had the highest C stocks while the tall (>10 m ht)) mangroves had the lowest ecosystem carbon storage. Carbon stocks of the low mangrove (shrub) type (<3m ht) were relatively high due to the presence of carbon-rich soils as deep as 2 m. Carbon stocks of abandoned shrimp ponds was 95 Mg/ha or about 11% of that of the mangroves. Using a stock-change approach, the potential emissions from the conversion of mangroves to shrimp ponds ranged from 2244 to 3799 Mg CO2e/ha. This is among the largest measured C emissions from land use in the tropics. READ MORE
Sustainable Shrimp Farming
USA - The United States imports over a billion pounds of shrimp annually. Most of it arrives frozen from environmentally destructive tropical farms. Now U.S. shrimp farmers are using environmentally friendly techniques to produce a fresh, delicious product with a much gentler environmental footprint. Living on Earth’s Naomi Arenberg reports. “Virtually all the shrimp we eat is problematic - it's mostly imported frozen from Asia, and raised in environmentally damaging conditions. But now indoor shrimp farmers could turn shrimp into a “perfect protein,” delicious and sustainable”, Naomi Arenberg reports from Stoughton, Massachusetts. READ MORE
Bahamas National Trust president visits proposed terminal site in Bimini
BAHAMAS – Last week, Neil McKinney, President of the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and Eric Carey, Executive Director of BNT visited Bimini on a fact-finding mission. They had two objectives - firstly to determine if residents were aware of the details of the proposed cruise ship terminal to be placed off the western shore of Bimini and secondly the BNT wanted to dive on the areas that could possibly be impacted by the development. Both McKinney and Carey went through the community, speaking to local Biminites about their knowledge of the proposed cruise ship terminal. As anticipated, many of the individuals were appreciative of the positive economic impact of Bimini Bay, however, many complained about the huge toll the development has taken on the island. On the other hand, when it comes to the cruise terminal, most Biminites said that no one really knew what the plans were, and to date there has been little to no information shared about the project with locals. READ MORE
Save The Bays strongly urges release of Genting Group’s environmental impact assessment
BAHAMAS - After a thorough tour of marine habitats in Bimini to observe the results of ongoing development, rapidly-growing environmental movement Save The Bays is strongly urging the government and Genting Group to make public the findings of the hotel and casino developer’s environmental impact assessment (EIA). The request comes days after executives of the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) also toured the island on a fact-finding mission, discovering a mass sense of uncertainty from residents and a withholding of information from those who have the answers. “Even the BNT has not had the opportunity to view the EIA, so a lack of transparency while having no environmental protection act in place makes this matter worse,” said Save The Bays Director Joe Darville. “The excavation work is being carried out substantially by non-Bahamians, so there is no vested interest in their psyche to have a sense of preservation for our environment. I call upon the government to do so something about this, because it is desecrating our natural heritage in Bimini.” READ MORE
ITC stops shrimp duties
USA - Warren Connelly, the attorney representing Ecuador’s National Chamber of Aquaculture, was in the room in Washington Friday morning when the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) voted 4-2 that trade subsidies from seven nations, including Ecuador, do not harm the domestic shrimp industry enough to warrant countervailing action. “Joy,” Connelly said when asked for his reaction. “What else? It’s hard to win these cases.” The vote, according to the ITC, showed it had made “negative determinations in its final phase countervailing duty investigations” and setting duties on shrimp imported from China, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Ecuador. The battle started when the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries filed a petition on behalf of its 28 member companies. The petition accused the seven countries of subsidizing their shrimp industries, making imported shrimp from those countries cheaper than domestic shrimp. If regulators found in favor of the coalition, those seven nations could have faced heavy countervailing duties on shrimp exports. READ MORE
Start-up promises to revolutionize shrimp farming
U.K. - A UK start-up says it has developed a low-cost, ecological alternative to traditional shrimp farming by using bacteria as both a water filter and food for its shrimp. IKEA-like portable units using microbes and solar power to cheaply grow shrimp indoors could transform the booming aquaculture sector and prevent further environmental degradation, according to its inventors. If made available to farmers in developing countries, the technology could help tackle malnourishment while reducing environmental degradation, and all at a lower cost than current shrimp production, they say. Founded by biochemical engineering students from University College London, the start-up Marizca is producing whiteleg shrimp in central London in its first trial operations. READ MORE

Editor's note - below is an excerpt of a letter we received

In a time when the basis of civilization, the so called modernism is challenged, in a time when Bolivia is passing the Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, Bangladesh is resuscitating a Dinosaur couple – an open pit coal mining in Phulbari and a thermal power plant in Rampal, Sunderban.  As a concerned global citizen, we feel the urge to stand by the struggle of the people in Bangladesh fighting this couple.

Considering the need of the hour, we invite all concerned global citizens to exercise their right and join the protest initiative on fighting this Dinosaur couple. Please make your voice heard by signing the petition to stop the destruction (Click Here) Btw, it is 4570 signatures now.
Thanks and Regards,
Indranil Saha
Mobile +91 9674242004

Read the entire letter HERE

~ 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.


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