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
313th Edition April 27, 2013
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Entire planet will soon have rapid deforestation detection system
TURKEY - World Resources Institute (WRI) previewed a long-awaited tool that could revolutionize global forest monitoring, reports the UN Forum on Forests, which is meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. Global Forest Watch 2.0 is a platform that combines near-real time satellite data, forestry data, and user-submitted information to provide the most complete picture of the world's forests ever assembled. The system has been developed over the last several years as a collaborative effort between WRI and other partners, including Google, the University of Maryland and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Although Global Forest Watch 2.0 isn't slated to launch publicly until late this year, WRI demonstrated the system at the meeting to provide a sneak peak of a tool that could soon help governments, NGOs, local communities and companies fight deforestation. READ MORE
Editor’s Note – The following article starts with a recap of the importance of mangrove conservation. The snippet below starts after this introduction.
FAO Install Move to Protect Mangroves
CAMEROON - …The government of Cameroon has teamed up with the FAO and local NGOs to safeguard the country’s surviving mangroves and restore depleted zones. The over six million dollar venture, dubbed Sustainable Community Management and Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystems in Cameroon, will last five years. It was launched in February. Julius Niba Fon is a conservation expert in the Cameroon Ministry of the Environment. He says the project will involve communities residing within and around mangrove forests. "We understand that the local areas have local development plans which don’t take into consideration this special ecosystem," says Fon. "We also have the creation of protected areas for mangroves." Elsewhere, the effort will help build legal and institutional frameworks for the protection of mangroves, compile inventories of remaining areas and teach local populations how to use and maintain mangrove forests. It will also propose alternatives to using the trees for cooking and for smoking fish. And, it will propose new livelihoods, like snail breeding, for those who use the valuable coastal habitats. READ MORE
New phone app can help save forests, wildlife
THAILAND - Environmentally conscious tourists can help Thai authorities preserve forests and wildlife with the help of a smart-phone. With the A-Eye application, they can quickly report observations such as forest fires, illegal logging and illegal hunting. They can also send photos and details to monitoring centers. The app will help identify the location. Officials check updated reports via the app and will go to the area to deal with the problem, if necessary. In the case of a forest fire, a red circle will appear on the app's map feature. All tourists using the app will see the location of the fire and can avoid that area. The A-Eye app's formal name is "Extra eyes assisting in the environmental surveillance of national parks". When people find a rare species, they can take photos of it and share them on the app. Other tourists nearby will know where it is and can go to see it. READ MORE
EIA report on coal-fired power plant near Sundarbans rejected
BANGLADESH - Environmentalists rejected an environment impact assessment report on the proposed 1320MW coal-fired power plant adjacent to the world’s largest mangrove forest Sundarban.
India and Bangladesh signed contract to jointly set up the plant. The environmentalists observed that the EIA report failed to cover most of the important and critical aspects of the environment of Sundarban, its ecology, flora and fauna and also the local people’s livelihood. ‘We need electricity, but not at the cost of the Sundarban. It (power plant) will kill the world heritage and destroy the ecology,’ said Tahsin Ahmed, a local environment leader and a writ petitioner against the move of the power plant, at a consultative meeting on the issue. The Power Division organised the meeting at Bijoy Hall of Bidyut Bhaban in the city to discuss the environment impact assessment report on the proposed power plant which the government decided to set up at a location at Rampal upazila in Bagerhat. The power plant site is only 10-12km away from the Sundarban. READ MORE
Coastal erosion threatens life on Indonesia's Derawan Island
INDONESIA - An increased rate of marine erosion on the island of Derawan off the coast of Berau district threatens a local community and the endangered turtles that lay their eggs there, officials and conservationists warn. Bahri, the chief of the island’s sole village, told the Jakarta Globe on Monday that rising sea levels since 2004 have accelerated the rate of coastal erosion. “The rate at which the erosion is occurring is really fast. The island is visibly decreasing in area,” he said. “We’ve already lost a volleyball court and a helipad that were built along the coast. Some people have even lost their homes.” He added that officials from the district and provincial administration had conducted a survey of the phenomenon in 2010 and agreed on the need to build artificial breakers off the coast, but there had been no follow-up action since then. READ MORE
Shrimp exports get a boost as barriers removed
BABGLADESH – Exports of shrimp and frozen fish to the European Union (EU) market rose to Tk47.03bn last year, almost double the 2009 exports figure, as the government took stricter steps to maintain quality and control contamination. “The success we achieved has come due to the decision of the EU in November 2011 to withdraw the embargo of 20% compulsory test on frozen food items including shrimp and other fish items entering its market,” fisheries and livestock Minister Abdul Latif Bishwas told the Dhaka Tribune. The minister blamed unscrupulous exporters for creating trouble by exporting shrimp and fisheries items containing heavy metals and chemical contamination. He also said the EU authorities even closed its observation book for the Bangladeshi frozen food items as the officials concerned were satisfied with the measures the government recently took following complaints. READ MORE
Study shows serious threat to coral reef colonies, mangrove forests
INDIA – A recent study taken up by a team of researchers from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Chennai, brought to light the serious threat of extinction the coral reef colonies and mangrove forests in the Palk Bay are facing. At present, only two per cent of the coral reefs survive in the area. Global warming, siltation, release of untreated raw sewage into the water bodies and overgrowth of algae were stated to be the three important reasons for the possible disappearance of coral colonies and its associated organisms from the Palk Bay area. Giving details to TheHindu, K. Venkataraman, Director of ZSI said, a decade ago, the Palk Bay area used to be rich in biodiversity. The uniqueness of the place is that no where in the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve one could see coral colonies, sea weed and grass, besides mangrove forests. READ MORE
Slow Fish Movement looks at Mangrove Loss to Shrimp Farm Issues in Italy
ITALY – Lider Góngora Farías, Coordinator of the National Environmental Assembly of Ecuador, will participate at Slow Fish 2013 to raise the drastic consequences of mangrove deforestation in their country. Dedicated to the world of fisheries and marine ecosystems, Slow Fish will have an outdoor market, Taste Workshops and events and meetings with fishermen, chefs and experts in the historic port of Genoa (Italy), from 9 to May 12. Farías will present the project "National Defense Coordination of Mangroves", launched to promote the reconstruction of mangroves in Ecuador. On Saturday, May 11, Farias will lead the Water Workshop, "Towards a collective management of common resources", which will shed light on the unsustainable management of coastal ecosystems in Ecuador and its grave consequences for the communities and wildlife in the region. The Water Workshops are free and they will address a broad range of issues relating to fishing and fish consumption. READ MORE
Dredging – mangrove clearance taking place north of marina channel
BELIZE - The San Pedro Sun can confirm that dredging is taking place in an area north of the San Pedro Marina Channel (located south-west of Ambergris Caye). The person to whom the dredging permit has been issued to is Darrin Sherry for Royal Belizean Land Co. S.A. The San Pedro Sun can also confirm that the recommendation was granted by the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and signed by Mayor Daniel Guerrero on April 2, 2013. Documents obtained by The San Pedro Sun shows that the owner of Lot Number 5481 and 5482 in the San Pedro Registration Section intends to dredge a total of 76, 917 cubic yards of sand, silt and mud. However the person has divided the dredging into three phases; the first will see 16,851 cubic yards of material dredged, the second 11,666 cubic yards and the third 48,400 cubic yards. It is interesting to note that the law requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for any dredging exceeding 50,000 cubic yards of material. READ MORE
Dead dolphins and shrimp with no eyes found after BP clean-up
USA - Hundreds of beached dolphin carcasses, shrimp with no eyes, contaminated fish, ancient corals caked in oil and some seriously unwell people are among the legacies that scientists are still uncovering in the wake of BP's Deepwater Horizon spill. This week it will be three years since the first of 4.9 million barrels of crude oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, in what is now considered the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. As the scale of the ecological disaster unfolds, BP is appearing daily in a New Orleans federal court to battle over the extent of compensation it owes to the region. Infant dolphins were found dead at six times average rates in January and February of 2013. More than 650 dolphins have been found beached in the oil spill area since the disaster began, which is more than four times the historical average. Sea turtles were also affected, with more than 1,700 found stranded between May 2010 and November 2012 – the last date for which information is available. On average, the number stranded annually in the region is 240. READ MORE
Update on the International Mangrove Project
HONDURAS - Smoked clams production by a women's cooperative in Nicaragua, the economic valuation of environmental services offered by one of the national parks in Honduras, or the creation of teaching materials on mangroves in Guatemala, are just some of the fruits planted and harvested by the International Mangrove Project, which has provided economic alternatives compatible with the sustainable use of natural resources in the Caribbean coast of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The footprint of the project is more extensive, and includes the construction of trails to increase attraction surrounded by small communities based mangrove conservation, holding training courses for foresters in blue carbon measurement (the carbon stored by coastal marine ecosystems such as mangroves), and the appointment of two new Ramsar sites in Honduras. These are some of the results achieved by the Mangrove Project, implemented by the United Nations Program for Environment (UNEP) with the ministries of Environment and Natural Resources of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, with the financial support of the Government of Spain. READ MORE
Mexico stops Vietnamese shrimp import
MEXICO - Mexico has decided to stop importing shrimps in all forms from China, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The government made the decision following the outbreak of the early mortality syndrome (EMS) in order to protect domestic shrimp farming, the Mexican Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (Sagarpa) said on April 18. Sagarpa asked the national food hygiene and safety administration to keep a tight grip on the import of shrimps from other countries free from EMS. It insisted that the domestic shrimp farming industry is able to meet the local consumer demand without increasing imports from other countries. READ MORE
GULF OF FONSECA OR “DEAD GULF”?
HONDURAS - For decades, the arrest of traditional fisherfolk in the Gulf of Fonseca, shared by El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, has been used as an excuse by these governments to deflect public scrutiny from their internal problems. Declarations and threats in “defense of their sovereignty” result in “Joint Declarations” where they offer to turn the Gulf into a paradise of brotherhood. And the fisherfolk? They are arrested once again, robbed, wounded, and even murdered. With an area slightly larger than three thousand square kilometers, the Gulf provides sustenance to thousands of fishing families and fish traders. Meanwhile, the surrounding watersheds are mismanaged and they drain pesticides and polluting nutrients onto the coasts. The shrimp aquaculture industry destroys billions of individual native species in various stages of development as they are trapped by hundreds of suction pumps. The polluted waters of shrimp farms and “larval laboratories” go straight towards the estuaries and the sea, affecting biodiversity in the mangroves and waterways that are themselves being destroyed, not only by the shrimp farms, but by sugarcane fields, melon farms, and others. READ MORE
Group seeks to harmonize various sustainable seafood certification standards
USA - The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Global Aquaculture Association (GAA) and GlobalGap agreed Tuesday to develop a plan to harmonize their various sustainable seafood certification standards to reduce duplication between the programs and make it easier for producers and buyers to adopt certification programs. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) comes short of unifying the three programs into one, but it does lay the basis for a more complete integration in the future. The agreement could lead to a tiering of standards. The MOU does not impact each certification group’s ability to develop its respective product independently. The agreement requires the groups to identify common elements of their standards and audit criteria and seek ways to conduct combined audits to their respective standards so certification bodies can conduct a single audit against all of the groups’ standards at once, to avoid duplication of effort and reduce the cost and inconvenience of multiple audits. READ MORE
Ocean of Life: How our Seas are Changing
AUSTRALIA - Professor Callum Roberts is a marine biologist and one of those rare creatures – he can deliver in scary detail the health of world’s oceans, but he maintains an optimism and he has some very rational strategies that we can enact to future-proof the marine environment. He’s the professor of marine conservation at York University in the UK and for the last 20 years he’s been studying some of our most fragile and damaged marine environments. In this address, the David Thomas Conservation Oration, he covers noise pollution, global warming, coral reefs, predatory crabs moving into the Antarctic, dead zones and vampire squids from hell! Key to Roberts' strategies for protection of oceans is the establishment of a network of protected marine zones. He suggests closing 30% of the oceans to control over fishing. The world wouldn’t go hungry and fish stocks would be replenished. READ MORE and VIEW VIDEO
In response to last Issue’s report on Myanmar’s shrimp export growth, (MAP News Issue 312, April 13, 2013 "Myanmar: the next big thing in seafood?") MAP’s Executive Directed wrote the following letter to the author.
Dear Willem van der Pijl,
I have seen your credentials that state that you are a "Seafood Market and Supply Chain Specialist and Business Developer” at the Dutch Research Institute LEI Wageningen UR. I just read the recent report you authored, "Myanmar: the next big thing in seafood?" Your investigative trip to Burma was aimed at analyzing the EU market potential of the seafood sector there, and was done in collaboration with The Dutch Center for the Promotion of Import from Developing Countries (CBI).
We at Mangrove Action Project are quite concerned about the potential loss of large areas of mangroves to the expansion of shrimp farming in Burma, as this has been the case in other major shrimp producing nations, as so clearly evidenced in neighboring Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. I wonder how much you are aware of this serious threat posed by shrimp farming and Burma's now more vulnerable coastal mangroves. Certainly, there are other threats to Burma's mangroves from urban expansion, tourism and other developments, but shrimp farming is considered a leading threat, so we are concerned to read your enthusiastic endorsement of this destructive industry as a way forward for the country.
I attach a couple of articles on the subject, but urge you to reconsider your endorsement of the shrimp aquaculture industry for Burma. The value of Burma's mangroves far outweigh any temporary monetary gains from clearing the mangroves, and far more harm than good will become manifest for the thousands of coastal residents who will lose more of their mangrove bio-shield against cyclones and tsunamis, will lose their wild fisheries and their last defense against rising seas due to climate change. Please look at shrimp farming in the more realistic light of the last three decades of problems caused by this unsustainable and ruinous industry.
For the Mangroves and Mangrove Communities,
Mangrove Action Project
~ 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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Saturday, April 27, 2013
MAP News Issue 313, April 27, 2013
Posted by BlogAdmin at 9:43 AM