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
Preorder Your 2014 Childrens Calendar–
Bangladesh's Plans for Massive Coal-Fired Power Plant Threaten World's Largest Mangrove Forest
BANGLADESH - Bangladesh is planning to construct a massive coal-fired power plant that will not only spell out disaster for the world’s largest mangrove forest, but also destroy one of the country’s best defenses against climate change. The plant which will be located less than ten miles downstream from the Sundarbans mangrove forest poses a significant risk to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as one of the largest reserves for the endangered Bengal tiger. Experts have ranked Bangladesh as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change. The devastating cyclones, floods and erosions that plague the country continue to force mass migrations as a result of global warming. Located between land and sea, the thick Sundarbans mangrove forests provide a critical protective buffer against the rising sea level and act as a major carbon sink, reducing greenhouse gases through carbon sequestration. The controversial plan spurred activists to stage a 20,000-person, five-day protest in September to fight against the proposed environmental calamity. Despite strong opposition from its citizens, Bangladeshi officials are moving forward with the plan. Projected to spew over 4.75 million metric tons of liquid waste a year, scientists warn that the 1,320-megawatt Rampal power plant’s drain on the ecosystem’s water supply and harmful emissions will do irreparable damage to the forests. READ MORE
A Key Mangrove Forest Faces Major Threat from a Coal Plant
BANGLADESH - On October 22, Bangladeshi and Indian officials were supposed to hold a ceremony laying the foundation stone for the Rampal power plant, a massive new coal-fired project that will sit on the edge of the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest. Instead, the governments canceled the ceremony and announced that the project had already been inaugurated in early October by the two countries’ heads of state via a Skype call. While the governments say the change was made because of busy schedules, activists contend the sudden scuttling of the ceremony was more likely due to rising pressure against the coal plant, including a five-day march in September that attracted an estimated 20,000 people. Opponents say that the 1,320 megawatt project could devastate the Sundarbans, Bangladesh's largest forest and the nation's last stronghold of the Bengal tiger. They contend that water diversion to the plant, coupled with air and water pollution and heavy coal barge traffic, could leave the Sundarbans — a UNESCO World Heritage site — an increasingly degraded ecosystem, potentially threatening the livelihoods of some of the half-million people who depend on the great mangrove forest. READ MORE
India shrimp prices up 50 percent
INDIA - Indian shrimp firms are getting prices 50 higher than last year for their products in China, according to a leading official at the country’s fisheries representative body. Demand from China has replaced a weaker EU market, it’s very good for our black tiger and vannemei producers,” said Dr. Shine Kumar, deputy director of MPEDA. “China used to be a fish market for us but now we’re getting a lot of demand from here for our shrimp, especially Vannemei,” he told Seafoodsource. Interestingly however, China is ranked in fourth place — behind Southeast Asia, the U.S. and the EU (in that order) — in Kumar’s ranking of India’s top seafood markets. Indian seafood exporters are also eager to lift sales of whole and gutted fish as well as lobsters in China and are working hard to build sales of perch and croakers, according to Kumar. “We have plenty of resources from northeast or northwest India,” he explains. He says lobster consumption remains limited in India “as it’s beyond the means of most Indians so we export it.” READ MORE
Poaching of migratory birds rampant along TN, Puducherry coastal regions
INDIA - Poaching of migratory birds is rampant along the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, particularly on the stretch between Mahabalipuram and Nagapattinam, charges a Cuddalore-based non-government organization (NGO). Several narikuravas and villagers in these regions poach thousands of migratory birds that come to water bodies and sanctuaries to lay eggs in this season. They particularly target cranes (egrets) as these birds can be easily caught. After capturing two or three cranes using small nets, the narikuravas make bigger net traps to capture a large number of cranes. They make scores of crane-like structures using thermocol and place them in the net traps near a water body or agricultural field. They stitch the eyes of the cranes they caught earlier and tie them in the traps. Flocks of cranes passing through the region descend to feed, and the poachers trigger the net trap and capture scores of birds. They have been poaching thousands of birds using this technique. They sell the meat to the local villagers and bars and restaurants, where its demand has been on the rise. READ MORE
Dahisar locals foil another mangrove encroachment bid
INDIA – Vigilant citizens of Dahisar have stalled yet another attempt at encroachment of mangroves in the area. Barricades came up on a section of mangroves at Kandarpada, adjoining the 425 acres of green patch declared as reserved forests, during the four-day Diwali festival. "First the 15-ft high metal sheets came up and then mangroves were uprooted. Citizens who go for morning walk to the area noticed the destruction. On Sunday, they informed us about the mangroves being chopped," said Harish Pande, member of the New Link Residents' Forum. The New Link Road Residents Forum in the past had put up a fight that went right up to the Supreme Court to protect mangroves in the area. Activists said that around that 700 buses are parked every day in the CRZ area. "A lot of sand cleaning activity is being carried out in the area as it is secluded. All the sand is being brought into the city illegally," said an activist. READ MORE
Wetlands [structures] to be demolished-EPA Director
SIERRA LEON Deputy Director, Environment Protection Agency, Dr. Kolleh A. Bangura says the structures which have taken over the wetlands and mangrove swamps especially in Aberdeen will soon be demolished. He disclosed on Friday that the EPA has been working with partners to ensure that this area is not overtaken by structures and the activities of people living there which will drive away fishes and other sea creatures from laying eggs in a safe environment. He drew attention to the fact that since the era of Bobson Sesay from 2002 to date, land encroachers have been moving the boundary from one point to another. “We have warned these people from time to time but instead they kept building more houses and reducing the area of the mangrove swamps. Now is the time to take concrete action by demolishing these structures and we are determined to see that it is carried out to save our wetlands from extinction. He said that Sierra Leone is a signatory to global preservation of the wetlands where fishes, turtles, shrimps and wild birds migrate to but if it overrun by humans, these animals will have nowhere to breed and will become extinct. READ MORE
Mosaic begins restoration near Giant’s Fish Camp
USA – A wetlands restoration project off of U.S. 41 near the site of the former Giant’s Fish Camp and Restaurant is intended to attract aquatic life and preserve a stand of mangrove trees skirting the edge of Hillsborough Bay. The work, which should be completed by springtime, is an attempt to correct damage caused more than a half-century ago by the fish camp’s namesake — the “giant,” Al Tomaini, and his wife, Jeanie — who dredged a tidal basin and put in a sea wall for the camp’s marina just south of the Alafia River. That work cut off water flow to the nearby mangrove forest and disrupted part of the river’s natural path to the bay. The Mosaic Co. restoration project is wedged between the river and a reproduction of a huge boot once owned by Tomaini. The boot is atop a pedestal at the former site of the fish camp and unofficially marks the northern entrance to Gibsonton, a community known as the winter home of circus and carnival performers. The restoration, which is under way, is the result of a mitigation agreement Mosaic made with state and federal officials following a phosphate gypsum stack breach in 2004 during Hurricane Frances. Some 65 million gallons of acidic water rushed in to Archie Creek, then into the bay, killing fish and other marine creatures. READ MORE
Early Mortality Syndrome for Shrimp hits Mexico
MEXICO – Cargill's animal nutrition division is working with its customers in Mexico with a workshop next week to help combat early mortality syndrome (EMS) in shrimp. The workshop, taking place 12 to 13 November in Ciudad Obregon, will "explore strategies to help customers deal with a new bacterial disease causing mass mortalities" in cultivated shrimp. EMS has already been ravaging shrimp farming operations in Southeast Asia, causing billions of U.S. dollars in damage every year. Cargill said the workshop is in reaction to the discovery of the disease in shrimp farms in Sonora, Sinaloa and Nayarit in Mexico. Already, shrimp-producing associations are estimating a 65 percent drop in production compared to 2011. "We hope that a partnership between researchers, industry and government can help develop some holistic solutions to this destructive disease," said John Peppel, senior VP of Cargill Animal Nutrition. Earlier this year, scientists identified virus-infected forms of the vibrio parahaeomolyticus bacteria as the cause. Now, the discussion of EMS has shifted to how to control the bacteria, and thus the spread of the disease. Donald Lightner, a professor at the University of Arizona who helped identify the cause, is expected to take part in the workshop. READ MORE
Half of all wetlands ‘destroyed since 1900,’ threatening human welfare
FRANCE - An alarming 50 percent of the world’s wetlands have been destroyed in the last 100 years, threatening human welfare at a time of increasing water scarcity, a new report said. Wetlands serve as a source of drinking water and provide protection against floods and storms, yet they have been decimated to make space for housing, factories and farms or damaged by unsustainable water use and pollution. “In just over 100 years we have managed to destroy 50 percent of the world’s wetlands,” said Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme. “It is a startling figure,” he said at a UN conference in Hyderabad. The report, compiled by an ongoing research project entitled TEEB, or The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, said coastal wetland losses in some regions, including Asia, have been happening at a rate of 1.6 percent per year. READ MORE
Carbon storage recovers faster than plant biodiversity in re-growing tropical forests
UK - A new study of re-growing tropical forests has concluded that plant biodiversity takes longer to recover than carbon storage following major disturbances such as clearance for farming. The findings, published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, have important implications for conservation since there are now many re-growing forests in South and Central America. The new study is the first large-scale analysis of the recovery of both plant biodiversity and carbon pools in re-growing forests.Over half of all tropical forests have already been converted for agriculture, logged or burnt in the recent past. Re-growing forests could help both to soak up carbon emissions produced by human activities and to reduce species’ extinctions. The scientists, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Bournemouth University, concluded that although carbon recovered most quickly, even after 80 years re-growing forests tended to have less carbon than old-growth forests. This is probably because these forests are often dominated by small, fast growing trees. It may take centuries for larger trees which hold more carbon to become established. READ MORE
Stunning satellite images of Earth reveal the challenges our planet faces
FRANCE - Few images can beat those of Earth from space, which can display its magnificent vortices, stunning colours and abstract patterns in a way we rarely see. But its beauty can also highlight some of the world’s problems including pollution, desertification, urban sprawl, farming and natural disasters. In this series of images, Paris-based environmental activist Yann Arthus-Bertrand aims to explore some of the world’s biggest environmental and sociological challenges using satellite imagery. Compiled as part of his book, Earth from Space, Mr Arthus-Bertrand probes scientists and activists on how satellites can draw attention to some of these problems. READ MORE
Fishermen In Palau Take On Role of Scientist To Save Their Fishery
PALAU - The island nation of Palau is a legendary tropical coral paradise, with perhaps the most farsighted fisheries management in the Pacific. Palau has protected its reef fishes from the export business that has destroyed fish populations on many reefs for the limitless demand in China. That’s why Palau remains a favorite destination for divers. The fish stay in Palau and the money comes to them. But divers have to eat. And they like to order fish. So in the last few years, conservationists have been concerned by signs that the fish are declining. But how do you count fish on complex coral reefs? No one’s ever figured out how. Plus monitoring fish populations typically requires years of data collection and a lot of money – something Palau and many other developing nations often lack. So it’s hard to assess the effects of fishing. But now scientists with the Nature Conservancy organization have come up with a clever new way. Instead of counting the number of fish in the water, the idea is to determine the proportion of the population capable of breeding for each fish species. And to use fishermen to collect the data, so it costs very little money! The scientists teamed up with the fishermen of Palau to try it out. The scientists trained fishermen on how to measure the length of the fish they catch. They also showed them how to cut open the fish’s stomach and inspect their gonads to determine the sex and if it’s sexually mature or an immature juvenile. This information will tell them if enough fish are breeding to repopulate and sustain the fish populations, and if the fish are growing to their adult size. READ MORE
TROPIMUNDO is the first International Master in Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems (2 years, 120 ECTS) that allows students to delve into the interlinked ecosystems under threat by spending an entire semester in the field : tropical rainforests and woodlands, wetlands, both terrestrial and coastal such as mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs.
The European Commission provides a certain number of full scholarships for EU and non-EU students. Applications for 2014-2015 are now opened and the deadline for applications is 30 November 2013.
Please do not hesitate to forward the information to your colleagues, students or any other potentially interested person.
Thank you !
TROPIMUNDO General Coordinator
~ 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
BACK TO TOP
Not yet a subscriber?
Click here to subscribe.
Please cut and paste these news alerts/ action alerts on to your own lists and contacts. Help us spread the word and further generate letters of concern, as this can make a big difference in helping to halt a wrongdoing or encourage correct action.
|Mangrove Action Project|
Saturday, November 9, 2013
MAP News Issue 327, November 9, 2013
Posted by BlogAdmin at 9:43 AM