The MAP News
525th Edition July 24, 2021
MANGROVE ACTION DAY IS JULY 26, 2021
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THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE CONSERVATION OF THE MANGROVE ECOSYSTEM
GLOBAL - The ‘International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem’, celebrated each year on the 26th July, aims to raise awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems and to promote solutions for their sustainable management and conservation. Mangrove forests are essential and productive ecosystems that provide numerous goods and services to the marine environment and local communities. These important habitats that are one of the last hunting grounds of the Bengal tiger and a refuge for countless migratory birds, mammals, and insects. This historic day commemorates Greenpeace activist Hayhow Daniel Nanoto, who died of a heart attack on the 26th July 1998 during a massive protest to re-establish the mangrove wetlands in Muisne, Ecuador. The local community of Muisne joined forces with NGOs and the Greenpeace crew of its flagship Rainbow Warrior to dismantle an illegal shrimp pond in an attempt to restore this damaged zone back to its former state as a mangrove forest. Since Hayhow’s death, Mangrove Action Project (MAP) joined FUNDECOL of Ecuador in commemorating this date as Mangrove Action Day. As of 2015, 26th July was declared the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem by UNESCO, also known as World Mangrove Day. “The 26th July is the day that we, communities and organizations working in defense of the mangroves, joined for the first time as little ‘Davids’ confronting a big ‘Goliath’ – the shrimp industry. That is what we must celebrate, but please, do not forget Nanoto who left his life in the mangroves of Muisne,” said Veronica of FUNDECOL, Ecuador. READ MORE
‘Help us protect the Ankobrah mangrove forests’ – Assemblyman appeals
GHANA - The Assemblyman of the Ankobrah Electoral Area in the Western Region, Mr Isaac Morkeh Codjoe, has appealed for assistance to protect the mangrove habitats around the Ankobrah River from being destroyed for firewood and construction. Mangroves are a group of tropical trees or shrubs that grow in dense thickets or forests along tidal estuaries with exposed roots that serve as a buffer between marine and terrestrial communities by protecting shorelines from damaging winds, waves, and floods. In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) Mr Codjoe said although other conservation groups had intervened through education and awareness creation, the problem still persisted and getting out of hand. “The Assembly and other groups have tried to protect the mangrove forests around the Akobrah River for so many years, but things are not the same now. People are cutting down the trees to sell for firewood and for construction,” he said. READ MORE
Kenya’s huge railway project is causing environmental damage.
KENYA – Kenya is constructing a railway line that connects the coastal port of Mombasa and the interior of the country. It is expected to terminate at Malaba, a town on the border with Uganda, and link up with other railways that are being built in East Africa. Although the actual land area affected by the railway itself is small, parts of it are raised and it cuts through a wide range of the country’s ecologically fragile and important ecosystems. Participants in our study identified that the railway line had an impact on soil, water and air contamination, during construction and operation of the line. During construction, soil was compacted and excavated. It was also moved from one location to another to erect embankments. This has many effects on the environment. Community Forest Association officials (around the coastal mangrove forests in Mombasa) observed that sediment, eroded from the rail embankments, affected streams and plants. “Not only did it affect mangroves seed development and self-germination but also blocked streams and reduced the stream size’, they said. READ MORE
Mangrove forest project gets boost from Aspen donation
BERMUDA - An environmental drive to create a coastal red mangrove forest on Trunk Island has been boosted by a $125,000 donation from Aspen Bermuda. Aspen will give $25,000 a year over five years to support the Bermuda Zoological Society project on the Harrington Sound island and will contribute to its educational Living Classroom programme. Colin Brown, BZS president, said: “Thanks to the generous donation from Aspen Bermuda Limited, the BZS has an opportunity to create a new red mangrove habitat on Trunk Island. “The habitat will give our education team new opportunities to teach science in exciting ways and will permit substantive and sustained educational experiences for thousands of students as they move through the Bermuda school systems.” READ MORE
World’s largest seagrass project proves ‘You can actually restore the oceans’
USA – Karen McGlathery, an environmental sciences professor at the University of Virginia, is part of a team running the largest seagrass restoration project in the world in these coastal bays — and one of the most successful. The two-decade-long project is a “blueprint for restoring and maintaining healthy ecosystems,” according to a 2020 research paper, and proof that marine habitats can be brought back to life in a way that’s self-sustaining. Over the last 20 years, supported by an army of volunteers, the project team has sown nearly 75 million seeds. Around 9,000 acres of coastal bays are now blanketed with eelgrass, which has improved water quality, increased marine biodiversity and helped mitigate climate change by capturing and storing carbon. The project, says Unsworth, “is demonstrating to the world that you can actually restore the oceans.” While plenty of projects have restored coastal habitats such as mangroves and salt marshes, he adds, few have been able to restore the ecosystems that lie beneath the surface of the water. “It’s quite fundamental what they achieved.” READ MORE
Genome of salt-secreting mangrove species decoded by DBT
INDIA - Scientists have reported for the first time a reference-grade whole genome sequence of a highly salt-tolerant and salt-secreting true-mangrove species, avicennia marina, the Department of Biotechnology said. The genomic resources generated will pave the way for researchers to study the potential of the identified genes for developing drought and salinity tolerant varieties of important crop species of the coastal region that is significant for India with 7,500 kilometres of coastline and two major island systems, it added. Mangroves are a unique group of species found in marshy intertidal estuarine regions and survive a high degree of salinity through several adaptive mechanisms. They are a critical resource for the coastal region and are of great ecological and economic value. READ MORE
Datinakhali village battles climate crisis
BANGLADESH - Datinakhali rests on the edge of the Bangladeshi Sundarbans in the town of Shyamnagar, Satkhira. The small village is a gateway towards the great Sundarbans — one of the most beautiful places on earth, but the families eking out a living in its waters are buffeted by one problem after another. Being on the frontline of the climate crisis, rising sea levels and erosion due to the hungry storm surges claim more and more land each year in Datinakhali. Salt infiltrates the drinking water and imbues the vegetables with a sharp tang. There was no one in this village whose houses and properties didn’t wash away in the cyclones like Aila and Amphan in the past decade. Around Datinakhali, the aquaculture industry dominates the landscape, surrounded by an earthen patchwork of shrimp ponds and soft-shell crab farms. Livestock, goats and chicken-common in almost every household in rural Bangladesh is also a rare sight here. The smell of crab and fish waste permeates the hot and humid air as children run barefoot through the barren area just alongside the river. READ MORE
Mangroves, a crown jewel of Singapore’s coastline
SINGAPORE - Hundreds of millions of people in coastal communities across the tropics depend on mangrove forests for fisheries, fuel wood, medicines and coastal protection. The huge importance of mangroves is commemorated every year on Jul 26, with the United Nations’ International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem. There is much to celebrate: Mangrove forests were previously considered one of the most threatened habitats on the planet, but international efforts have turned this habitat into an emerging conservation success story. READ MORE
Goa’s mangroves have unique food and medicine, need management
INDIA - Mangroves are popular as fish nurseries and nature’s defence systems. In Goa, they are a perfect setting for celebrations, crocodile worship and boat festivals even as their potential for honey, vegetables and medicinal benefits need to be explored. Making a case for comprehensive mapping of mangroves and identifying their importance in various aspects with other activists, Fr Bolmax Pereira, a botanist and priest, suggested conservation status for the Kandella candel as a state mangrove species. The submission at the recently held public hearing for the draft coastal zone plan (CZMP) was prepared by a team led by him and supervised by Goa Foundation. “Kandella candel species has discontinuous distribution along the Indian coast, but is found abundantly in Goa’s estuaries of Zuari, Mandovi and Cumbarjua,” Pereira said. READ MORE
Our Coast: Guarding Mangroves
CHINA – In 1990, the National Shankou Mangrove Ecological Nature Reserve was established in Shankou Town, Beihai City, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Mo Jirui, who grew up in this mangrove forest, is the most senior forest ranger on the premises. Many of the trees and shrubs in the reserve have been planted by Mo, who is also an expert on the conservation techniques of different mangrove species. At the age of 66, he continues his work, guarding the mangrove forest he so much cherishes. China's coastline stretches over 18,000 kilometers and is home to abundant marine life, such as Bryde's whales, Chinese white dolphins and sea turtles. READ MORE
Minister’s visit to set the ball rolling for mangrove research centre in Kochi
INDIA – Fisheries Minister Saji Cherian visited the Puthuvype Fisheries Station to assess the facilities at the station before considering a proposal for setting up a world-class centre for mangrove research and development there. The fisheries station, under the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos), is spread over 50 acres and is home to a large collection of mangrove plants. The station is being considered as the venue for establishing a centre for research and is home to several local varieties of brackish water fishes and crabs as well as water birds that include migratory birds. A proposal had been submitted to convert the station into a world-class research centre following suggestions from a national conclave of fisheries and ocean scientists in Kochi in May, 2019. READ MORE
A closer look at plans for Australia’s largest prawn farm
AUSTRALIA - As Project Sea Dragon comes one step closer to lift-off, The Fish Site assesses the potential impacts – both positive and negative – that it’s likely to have on the social, economic and environmental fabric of two remote regions of Australia. Seafarms Group Limited’s newest aquaculture endeavour, Project Sea Dragon, is set to become Australia’s largest tiger prawn farming operation and one of the world’s largest prawn farms. The facility is projected to produce 150,000 tonnes of tiger prawns (Penaeus monodon) per annum when fully operational — approximately half of which will be exported overseas. Despite the move affording the project relative regulatory freedoms, the Legune coastal floodplain is a site identified by the Northern Territory Government as one of conservation significance, due to its high concentration of waterbird and shorebird species. In the wet season, the water from the catchment is flushed into the estuarine receiving environment, and this run-off transports freshwater, sediment loads and detritus that have built up during the dry season and contain nutrients that are deposited downstream. However, according to the EIA, an assessment of the area found that the project would not result in a significant impact to the “nationally important” aggregations of waterbirds or other threatened and migratory species. READ MORE
MANGROVE ACTION DAY IS JULY 26, 2021
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