Friday, February 20, 2015

MAP News Issue 358 - Feb 21, 2015

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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
358th Edition                                February 21, 2015


FEATURE STORY

Krabi fishermen protest coal-fired power plant
Krabi Coal

THAILAND - Local fishermen in Krabi have joined the fight against an 870-megawatt coal-fired power plant to be built in the province’s Nua Khlong district, east of Phuket. A horde of boats carrying angry villagers congregated at the Baan Klong Ruo pier in Nua Khlong, wielding large signs that read: “Protect Krabi from coal-power plant” and waving green flags picturing dugong calling for “No coal”. The fishermen were especially opposed to a coal seaport at the pier as part of the power plant project, the Phuket Gazette was told. “About 102.12 square kilometers in this area are wetlands which are protected under the Ramsar Convention [story here],” Alee Channam, leader of the Krabi Kon Rak Lay (Krabi Sea Lovers) Club told the Gazette. “We cannot allow the power plant to be built. Using coal as a power source will affect the environment and our way of life, which depends on fishing. It is also possible that the area would be removed from the [Ramsar] wetlands preservation list.” The protests vowed they would not stop until the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) halts the project. “This is just the beginning. If the EGAT stays on track with the project, we will continue to protest. It will not just be us; everyone who is against the plant will stand up,” said Mr Alee. READ MORE
 
ASIA
 
MPEDA to promote mud crab culture in mangroves
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INDIA - Here is some good news for fisherwomen and Self Help Groups (SHGs) interested in cultivating mud crabs in the mangroves in the district. The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) is planning to allot funds for SHGs in Nagayalanka, Avanigadda, Machilipatnam and other sea coast mandals to raise mud crabs, also known as mangrove crabs. Mud crabs, raised in mangroves along the coast, have a good demand in Japan, Thailand, China and other countries. Fishermen are exporting quality mud crabs, said MPEDA Chairman Leena Nair. “MPEDA is planning to boost export revenue and export of crabs will certainly help in increasing the country’s Foreign Exchange (FE). We will identify SHGs interested in cultivating mangrove crabs in AP,” said Ms. Nair. READ MORE

Trang forest poaching curbed
THAILAND - Trang authorities took the most-aggressive legal action yet against illegal encroachment of public land in 2014, more than doubling the number of cases launched the prior year.  Monpatra Wangsanuwat, chief of Trang province's natural resources and environment office, said 174 encroachment cases involving 1,225 rai of forest land were begun in 2014. That compares with 73 cases involving 637 rai of land in 2013 and 139 encroachment cases covering 1,053 rai in 2012. He said the crackdown came after the National Council for Peace and Order and the government ordered agencies nationwide to move against against destruction of natural resources. Legal action was taken against poachers backed by large investors. The cases are now in various stages of prosecution, ranging from verification of land rights to court proceedings, he said. READ MORE

Land plan draws on HM's advice
THAILAND - Nakhon Si Thammarat: A mangrove forest project backed by the King in Chanthaburi's Ao Kung Krabane will serve as a role model for a pilot project on land management for the poor in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Mingquan Witchayaransarit, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said the new project involves managing 12,618 rai of mangrove forest in Nakhon Si Thammarat. The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources will run the scheme, drawing on lessons learned from the royal initiative in Ao Kung Krabane, which also involved mangrove forests. VIEW SOURCE
 
GIM students to ‘evaluate’ mangroves
INDIA - A group of first year management students of the Goa Institute of Management at Sakhali, as part of an academic project, are trying to assess the value of Goa's precious mangrove cover in monetary terms. The students are using a new method known as contingent valuation. The idea is to help Goans realize the worth of its natural asset. "When we started working on the project, we asked different persons living around the mangrove vegetation if the growth was valuable to them," Princy Sethia, a student, told TOI. "Some, like fishermen, said that it was valuable to them as fish use this cover as breeding grounds, whereas others like farmers said mangroves are not needed. So we wanted to give it a definite value in terms of money and make locals realize the worth of mangroves in economic terms." The mangrove valuation is part of GIM's 'Give Goa' project, taken up by students in a bid to groom managers who are sensitive to society's and the environment's needs. The project is being done in collaboration with the Porvorim-based Centre for Environment Education, where the students were trained by scientist Sujit Dongre, which first helped them understand the ecology of Goa and the role mangroves play. READ MORE
 
HC encourages satellite imagery to preserve mangroves
INDIA – The Bombay High Court, on 18th February, 2015, directed the Maharashtra State Government to make use of modern technology, such as satellite imagery, to help protect mangroves and wetlands. Division Bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice A S Gadkari said, "The use of modern technology will help the authorities ascertain the nature of destruction, if any." Justice Patil cited a case that he had heard while presiding in an Aurangabad Bench of the High Court, where the Court had ordered the replanting of trees which had been previously felled. At that time, the Court had told the Government to provide satellite images of the planted trees in order to ensure proper compliance with its order. The Court's directions came during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO, 'Vanashakti', which alleged that damage had been caused to vast tracts of mangroves and wetlands across the State. The High Court then directed the Government to submit a report on the action taken against people who encroach upon wetlands. READ MORE
 
Assessing the value of Singapore's mangrove swamps
ST_20150221_STMANGROVE_1083356e
SINGAPORE - The coastline generally associated with Singapore is one of harbours, ships, artificial beaches and concrete seawalls, all contributing to - and a product of - economic activity. But hidden among the cranes and refineries is a different coastal Singapore, a coast teeming with life. This is a coastline fringed by intertidal mangrove forests and subtidal seagrass meadows, a coast that is home to crocodiles, dolphins, otters, and some of the most biodiverse coral reefs in the world. However, Singapore's coastal ecosystems have declined rapidly with urbanisation. While data varies, the country may have lost almost 90 per cent of its mangroves since the 1950s due to land reclamation in the north and south-west. Other coastal ecosystems continue to decline, with recent research suggesting that over 40 per cent of intertidal coral reefs and almost 38 per cent of mudflats and sandflats have been lost in only the last 20 years. READ MORE
 
Belitung boosts tourism with mangroves
INDONESIA - The Forestry Office of Bangka Belitung Province is developing 500 hectares of mangrove forests on Belitung Island to conserve the areas and boost ecotourism. “This year, we are developing the mangrove forest areas in Selat Nasik, Pengantungan, and Tanjung Pandan,” Nazarliyus, the head of the forestry office, said in Pangkalpinang.  He said the mangrove forests on Belitung Island are still not affected by offshore lead mining and encroachment activities. “We are managing the mangrove forests and building the facilities, so that visitors can enjoy the beauty of the island,” Nazarliyus said as quoted by Antara news agency. According to him, the mangrove forest areas in Belitung are still well-conserved, as the administration has formulated policies to protect its biodiversity potential. In contrast, the mangrove forests on Bangka Island have been severely damaged. READ MORE
 
AFRICA
 
Coastal Areas are exposed to environmental risks
sea
SIERRA LEON - The Executive Director of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Madam Haddijatou Jallow, on Thursday said most areas along our coastline are exposed to environmental risks. She was speaking at the official opening of the validation workshop of the draft Reports: Coastal Sensitivity Mapping and the State of the Marine Environment at the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources conference hall. The EPA Executive Director added , these two projects; “The State of The Marine Environment Reporting and the Marine and Coastal Oil spill sensitivity mapping”, were initiated in 2014, and frantic efforts have been made with support from experts and partners. She emphasized that both the coastal oil spill sensitivity mapping and the assessment on the State of the Marine and Coastal Environment are key resource management tools that have the potential to enhance our knowledge on the essential steps in addressing the problems they face. READ MORE
 
Editor’s Note: The following story highlights the dangers of rushing in to “save” the environment. Some may disagree with the author’s opinions, but it is interesting to see the evolution of environmental awareness and impacts of conservation on local communities.
Sea cucumbers saving lives: the radical charity giving Madagascan fishing communities hope
MADAGASCAR - Dr Alasdair Harris is a 35-year-old marine ecologist who is changing the way people think about conservation. In November 2013 he went to Washington, DC, to give a presentation at a World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) conference on ‘the power of communities to protect the planet’. ‘I’ve been told that I’ve been billed as an iconoclast,’ he began, before going on to question one of the cornerstones of marine conservation: marine protected areas (MPAs). There are more than 6,500 MPAs – in most cases controlled by national governments – covering nearly three per cent of the world’s oceans. And numbers are increasing rapidly. Dr Harris showed a slide of a marine reserve in Tanzania. ‘An MPA,’ he said, ‘but really, it’s just a paper park. A park in name only. Overfishing is rife. Dynamite fishing is widespread. Sadly, lamentably, this is not an isolated incident.’ Harris and his colleagues at Blue Ventures, the charity he co-founded in 2003, are at the forefront of a new strand of marine conservation that concentrates on people as much as endangered fish or sea turtles. Their core belief is that MPAs can bring benefits, but at a cost. READ MORE
 
AMERICAS
 
To Save Coral Reefs, First Save the Mangroves
coral-mangroves-usvirgin-islands-21_88441_990x742
USA - With coral reefs in decline and NOAA calling for a larger protected area for reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. Geological Survey scientists are pointing out another strategy to save reefs: First save the mangroves. Mangrove trees' thickets of stilt-like roots protect coastal land from erosion and help mitigate the damage of tsunamis and hurricanes. They may also serve as a haven for corals, according to a recent report in Biogeosciences. (Read more about how mangroves support animal life.) Warming waters have not been kind to coral reefs. Heat causes corals to release the photosynthetic algae that live within and help feed the reefbuilding creatures—a phenomenon called bleaching, which is often fatal. In the Caribbean, where bleaching is widespread, more than 50 percent of the area that was covered by reefs in the 1970s is no longer. In the mangroves of Hurricane Hole on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, however, Caroline Rogers of the USGS made a startling discovery. Growing among the tree roots were more than 30 coral species, including four threatened species. Some of the older corals must have survived bleaching that devastated the nearby reefs, suggesting the mangroves protected them. READ MORE
 
Environmentalists rally against permit to cut mangroves
USA - Carrying signs and signing a petition, dozens of protesters rallied along the side of Manatee Avenue near the bridge to Anna Maria Island. They're upset about plans to cut some mangroves from around Perico Island to make room for four houses on 3 and a half acres of land. "We're talking four houses, just a drop in the bucket, that's true -- but it's acres of mangrove habitat," said environmental activist Andy Mele. Mele says if the administrative judge allows development over mangroves, a dangerous precedent could spread. And worst case scenario?
"If you were to remove the mangroves from the shorelines today the gulf ecosystem would crash. It's that critical," Mele said. READ MORE


LAST WORD(S)
 
Hi All,
 
Just to let you know that the slight redesign of the homepage is now LIVE. 
Please encourage people to have a look and play around :)
 
http://mangroveactionproject.org/
 
Many thanks
Leo Thom
MAP Web Support


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