The Online Magazine for Sustainable Seas
October, 2001 Vol. 4 No. 10
In a statement contained in Opinion No. 62 S. 2001 dated October 23, 2001, DOJ affirmed the opinion earlier expressed by some legal experts about the technical nature of DAO 17.
The statement read: “The resolution of the issue raised, more particularly, the propriety of the adoption of the archipelagic baseline method or any other methods specified in [DAO 17]… requires the technical expertise of technical people like surveyors and geodetic engineers. As Attorney General, the Secretary of Justice renders opinion only on questions of law and not on highly technical matters.”
DOJ’s opinion was sought by DENR, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior and Local Government, National Anti-Poverty Commission, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development after the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations headed by Rep. Rolando G. Andaya passed a resolution “declaring the existence of legal infirmities affecting [DAO 17]… and recommending its revocation.”
The resolution questioned the use of the archipelagic method in determining the 15-km municipal water boundary. The method prescribed by DAO 17 is based on the archipelagic principle, which states that small islands should be treated in the same manner as any land territory within the municipality and thus should generate their own municipal waters.
“In cases where smaller islands fringe the coast of a larger island, the smaller islands become starting points for measuring the municipal waters,” explained marine policy expert Jay Batongbakal in his article “Who’s Afraid of Municipal Waters?”. “In cases where municipalities are formed by two or more widely separated islands, each island of the municipality generates its own municipal waters.”
The House appropriations committee’s resolution averred, however, that the archipelagic method cannot be applied, as, in their opinion, 1998 Philippine Fisheries Code defines offshore islands as “within 15-km from the shoreline”.
DAO 17 is supported by about 100 fisherfolk and rural organizations and networks, non-governmental organizations and institutions and coalitions, and legal and technical experts from various institutions, as well as by the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, which represent the country’s more than 800 coastal municipalities. These organizations recently came out with a joint statement appealing for the immediate implementation of DAO-17. They say there is currently no legal impediment to the implementation of the DAO.
Said Batongbakal, “DAO 17 is the first concrete and express manifestation of a fundamental concept that underlies our entire political system. The fact that the archipelagic principle is not expressly stated in previous laws is not a bar to its application, for some of the most essential principles of our laws are themselves not expressly or lengthily elaborated upon, such as the principles of separation of powers, separation of Church and State, civilian supremacy over the military, sovereign immunity, and the like… By adapting rules accepted under international hydrographic and geodetic methodologies, DAO 17 simplifies complex coastlines as much as possible in order to provide sufficient basis for implementing the rules under the Fisheries Code.”
CRMP releases “Philippine Coastal Management Guidebook
The series, a major publication of the Coastal Resource Management Project (CRMP), caps CRMP’s technical assistance program. It offers a full course in CRM consisting of the following titles:
Coastal Management Orientation and Overview. An introduction to the coastal management process in the Philippines and to definitions and trends in coastal management.
Legal and Jurisdictional Framework for Coastal Management. Outlines the laws pertaining to coastal management and defines the jurisdictions affecting coastal areas and resources.
Coastal Resource Management Planning. Illustrates the planning process from the local government’s perspective.
Involving Communities in Coastal Management. Explains the concept of community participation in resource management, a keystone approach to which the success of recent CRM initiatives has been attributed.
Managing Coastal Habitats and Marine Protected Areas. Demonstrates the relationships among organisms in the coastal marine ecosystem.
Managing Municipal Fisheries. Clarifies the issue on municipal waters and legal jurisdiction for fisheries management.
Managing Impacts of Development in the Coastal Zone. Stresses the importance of planning and environmental impact assessment in the process of developing coastal zones.
Coastal Law Enforcement. Lists the major issues in the enforcement of coastal laws.
The guidebook series is a joint initiative of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, local government units, NGOs, and other assisting organizations through CRMP, a technical assistance project supported by the United States Agency for International Development. It is designed to facilitate CRM-related initiatives of government, non-governmental and academic organizations. These organizations will be prioritized in the distribution of the guidebooks. Copies are limited, and individuals are encouraged to access the publication through this web site. Click here to download
Olango tour wins British Airways award
The panel of judges included the Director of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Ross B. Simon; Professor Paul Eagles of International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and Sir Crispin Tickell. The Chairman of the Global judging panel is Professor David Bellamy.
British Airways has been running the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards since 1992 in support of the values it has developed towards the mission of becoming "the undisputed leader in world travel". The awards are given to encourage organizations to protect the natural and cultural environment while bringing benefits to the local community.
The Award for the OBST is its second international citation. The tour program was also conferred the "Highly Commended" status by Conservation International Ecotourism Excellence Award in 1999.
Phil-NAF national president Elpidio dela Victoria said the group is asking for a monthly honorarium of at least Php1,000 and insurance for every fish warden in the Philippines. The request will be formalized in March 2002, when the first national convention of the country’s 72 provincial federations of fish wardens convenes. L.G.K. Parone Jr., Cebu Daily News, 10.19.01
Melchor Tayamen, chief of the National Freshwater Fisheries Technology Center (NFFTC) of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Munoz, Nueva Ecija, said models of rice-prawn farming have now been established in various regions so farmers will see their benefits.
The NFFTC has trained three groups of fisheries technicians in larval rearing. The Center hopes to produce half a million post-larvae this year. A 20-gram prawn breeder can produce about 20,000 larvae. In the past, only 15% of the larvae survived, but researchers have succeeded in improving the survival rate to 70%.
Operators have also been trained in rice-prawn farming. The technology requires the conversion of 1,000 square meters of riceland to prawn culture. This area, called the prawn refuge, is excavated to a depth of 1-1.5 meters and stocked with postlarvae at 4-5 pieces per square meter. Each culture period lasts between five and seven months, but selective harvesting may be done after three or four months. A. Roque, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 10.15.01
CPA general manager Jose Joaquin Marques said the port authority has advised cargo consolidators and shipping companies to intensify security measures by acquiring metal detectors to detect the presence of firearms and ammunition in cargo so that they are not unwittingly used as a conduit in the smuggling of such contraband.
The detection of shabu is more difficult, Marques said, as the substance is usually mixed with other items and “no gadgets can detect it”. Shabu is reportedly hidden among dolomite sacks in container vans. A 20-foot van contains more than 100 sacks. “There is no way we can strip the shipment sack by sack,” said Marques.
The CPA is relying on intelligence information to stop suspected cargoes, and is working closely with various agencies, including the Regional Maritime Police and the Philippine Coast Guard to set up a quick response system and pool information and resources. F.J.J. Dungog, Cebu Daily News, 10.22.01Endangered giant clams seized
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources operatives in Palawan seized some 230 sacks of giant clams loaded in two vans of the WG&A shipping line and ready for delivery to Manila.
Noting high demand for giant clams from the shellcraft industry in the Visayas and Metro Manila, Palawan-based conservation groups speculated the shipment was worth at least Php100,000.
The owner of the cargo was identified as Muhammad E. Janyako.
True giant clams (Tridacna gigas) and smooth giant clams (Tridacna didasa) are listed as endangered under the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species.
Fisheries Administrative Order No. 208 prohibits the gathering, selling, and transporting of giant clams. Violators face 12-20 years of imprisonment or a fine of Php120,000 or both. J.P. Tesorio, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 10.16.01Coast Guard to set up maritime accident quick response center
A US$300-million Maritime Accident Response/Aids to Navigation support base will be built in Barangay Punta Engano, Lapu Lapu City, on a 40-hectare property that used to be part of a naval reserve.
The project includes the construction of the support base and procurement of two units of 66.9-meter response vessels, which can service the entire Central Visayas region.
Funding will come from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. EOB, Sun.Star Cebu, 10.17.01Bohol ‘triangle’ gets aid
The Bohol Marine Triangle (BMT), an environmentally critical area that includes the islands of Pamilacan, Panglao and Balicasag and surrounding waters, is the focus of a US$800,000 project funded by the United Nations Development Programme’s Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), which is also the executing office of the project.
The project aims to ensure the protection of the triangle, which is considered as a globally significant marine ecosystem, and manage the area on a sustainable and ecologically sound basis.
Pamilacan’s waters are known as a habitat of butterfly fishes, stingrays, whale sharks and dolphins. Eleven species of dolphins and whales are found here, namely Risso’s dolphin, Bottlenose dolphin, Fraser’s dolphin, Pantropical spotted dolphin, long-snouted spinner dolphin, melon-headed whale, short-finned pilot whale, sperm whale, Bryde’s whale, and less frequently, Pygmy sperm whale and Blainvelle’s beaked whale. The island’s name comes from the word pilak, a large hook implement made and use by the islands, who are notorious for hunting whale sharks, manta rays, whales and dolphins.
Balicasag, a well-known dive spot, is home to 22 species of butterfly fishes, four dolphin species and two whale species.
Panglao, the largest of the three islands, hosts 159 reef fish species, 40 of which are economically important.
The project’s objectives will be accomplished through community-based conservation management and multi-sectoral partnership between government, local industries, and non-governmental and people’s organizations. M. Lepiten, Cebu Daily News, 10.22.01Dugong found trapped in fish pen, released
A female dugong (sea cow) found trapped inside a fish pen in Sitio Mandaragat, Barangay Sta. Cruz, Puerto Princesa City in Palawan was released by a rescue team from the World Wildlife Fund-Philippines, Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The team was joined by Ludovico Dinoy, who found the dugong. Dinoy said he discovered the dugong, which measured 2.29 meters long and 2 meters wide, when he was about to haul his fish harvest. He sought the help of local officials, who reported the incident to the DENR. J.P. Tesorio, Philippine Daily Inquirer , 10.16.01
Community-operated ecotourism reserve area, beach
resort proposed in Lapu Lapu City
The Punta Engano Barangay Council passed a resolution requesting President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to officially proclaim the area as an ecotourism reserve area.
Since 1985, the village council and residents have been seeking the assistance of various government agencies to reserve the area as a docking place for their boats and develop its 20-meter “salvage zone” as a community-operated beach resort. In 1989, their proposed fisherman’s wharf and public beach were endorsed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for presidential proclamation. Last year, the village council passed a resolution endorsing DENR’s Ecological Rest Area Park Project, the maintenance and operations of which will be awarded to the Punta Engano Fishermen and Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PEFF-MPC). ROV, Sun.Star Cebu, 10.19.01
Fishing company eyes export market
Sea Gold president William Tiu Lim said his company’s “Mega Sardines” brand will increase its market share from five percent to more than 30 percent in the next 12 months.
Sea Gold, through its subsidiary Mega Fishing Corporation, pumped in half a billion pesos since 1995 to beef up its commercial fishing fleet, and put up a canning factory, ice plant and pier in Zamboanga.
Ligo and Young’s Town sardines currently dominate the fiercely competitive sardines market, where more than 20 brands compete.
Lim said his company, which supplies 90 percent of the fish used by canneries in Navotas and Zamboanga, decided to go into canning because its virtual monopoly of the raw material would give it an edge in the crowded industry.
The factory was set up in Zamboanga to reduce the lag time between the catching and canning of the fish from 72 hours to 12 hours and ensure product freshness.
Lim said Mega sardines will be exported to the United States, Canada and the Middle East. G.C. Cabacungan Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, 10.12.01
Sarangani Bay faces mercury poisoning risk from
Divers from the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy and the Maritime Police failed to locate the containers. Authorities said they would employ deep-sea divers to help retrieve the contraband cargo, which was reportedly owned by Gilbert Bangat, a trader based in Davao City.
Eliserio Cuaton of the Bureau of Customs said General Santos City became a drop-off point for smuggled mercury from Indonesia, after authorities in the Davao City Port intensified its campaign against smuggling. The contraband is transported by land through Davao City to gold mines in the Davao provinces. A. Zonio, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 10.13.01
Red tide alert still up in Davao Oriental
The boats were identified as F/B Santiago owned by a certain Emerito Dospueblos, F/B San Antonio owned by Jesus Mejares, and F/B Juanito, reported owned by a priest, Rev. Fr. Melchisedek Monreal.
The vessels were apprehended for violating Section 90 of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
In another incident, a commercial fishing boat was spotted poaching in fish pens operated by local fishers in Talisay City, Cebu. Fishermen Dexyl Caneda, Julius Castanares, and Allan Caneda identified the boat as F/B Best Two owned by Peter Solon of Dumaguete City. According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the boat has no license to operate in the waters of Talisay City.
In Davao Oriental, meanwhile, Ten fishers were arrested for using air compressors while spear fishing at the protected Pujada Bay. Air compressor fishing has been declared illegal by the provincial board. C.A. Fuentes, Cebu Daily News, 10.19.01
Fees for quarrying in Mananga River, Cebu increased
City police have begun patrolling the area to deter quarry operators from defying the ban. L. Villanueva/R.V. Ayuman, Cebu Daily News, 10.15.01
Credit agencies, banks and insurers discuss environmentally
The two-day workshop, hosted by the French ECA, Coface, brought together for the first time ECA underwriters, private sector financiers, environmental experts and the United Nations, to discuss environmental issues relevant to finance. The meeting looked at how to facilitate the implementation of project screening - already adopted by many of the respective institutions.
"The financial services sector has the power to direct financial resources towards projects or companies that have demonstrated good environmental performance. A growing number of managers in the sector have become aware of the need to better evaluate the environmental risks associated with their decisions, as well as the market opportunities provided by sustainable development initiatives," said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director.
"Environmental assessment of projects by Coface on behalf of the French government is an important tool, as it reduces our financial risk and contributes to improve the quality of projects in buyer countries. Our screening process allows us to work closely with exporters with the aim of achieving high standards of environmental performance. This workshop organized by UNEP will help us to share expertise and experience in order to further our progress," said François de Ricolfis, Director of Coface's Medium and Long Term Department.
ECAs finance projects in developing countries to the tune of billions of dollars each year. Large infrastructure projects in developing countries, such as dams or roads, whose finance is often made possible by an exporting country's Export Credit Agency can have potential negative environmental impacts.
Web site: http://www.uneptie.orgHuman actions worsen natural disasters – Worldwatch Institute
More people worldwide are now displaced by natural disasters than by conflict. In the 1990s, natural catastrophes like hurricanes, floods, and fires affected more than two billion people and caused in excess of $608 billion in economic losses worldwide-a loss greater than during the previous four decades combined.
But more and more of the devastation wrought by such natural disasters is "unnatural" in origin, caused by ecologically destructive practices and an increasing number of people living in harm's way, finds a new study by the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington D.C.-based environmental research organization.
"By degrading forests, engineering rivers, filling in wetlands,
and destabilizing the climate, we are unraveling the strands of a complex
ecological safety net," said Senior Researcher and author of Unnatural
Also contributing to the rising toll of disasters is the enormous expansion of the human population and the built environment, which put more people and more economic activities in harm's way. One in three people-some 2 billion-now live within 100 kilometers of a coastline. Thirteen of the world's 19 megacities (with over 10 million inhabitants) are in coastal zones. The projected effects of global warming, such as more extreme weather events and sea level rise, will only magnify potential losses.
Although "unnatural disasters" occur everywhere, their impact falls disproportionately on poor people as they are more likely to be living in vulnerable areas and they have fewer resources to prepare for or recover from disasters. Between 1985 and 1999, 96 percent of recorded disaster fatalities were in developing countries.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that future impacts of climate extremes will affect the poor disproportionately. Viet Nam and Bangladesh, for example, are projected to lose more than 70,000 square kilometers of land, affecting some 32 million people. Rich countries will not be spared either. The entire Mediterranean coast is especially vulnerable to sea level rise, as are the United States’ Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
"Expanding the financial safety net for poor countries is essential," said Abramovitz. "So too is maintaining and restoring nature's ecological safety net in all countries. Dunes, barrier islands, mangrove forests and coastal wetlands are natural 'shock absorbers' that protect against coastal storms. Forests, floodplains, and wetlands, are 'sponges' that absorb floodwaters. Nature provides these services for free, and we should take advantage of them rather than undermining them."
To date, much of the response to disasters has focused on improving weather predictions before the events and providing humanitarian relief afterwards-both of which have saved countless lives. "Yet, too often long-term mitigation efforts are overlooked by the public and politicians alike," says Abramovitz. "Money invested in disaster mitigation yields several fold returns in recovery cost savings. Considering the social and ecological losses that are also prevented, it's clear that mitigation is a great investment."
Unnatural Disasters also suggests several other specific mitigative
measures: Community-based disaster preparedness is essential in
preventing and responding to the full array of disasters that societies
now face. Rather than subsidizing environmentally unsound settlement
and development practices, governments need to direct new construction
and settlement out of harm's way. Infrastructure in vulnerable
locations can be built or reinforced to withstand hazards. Debt
relief for developing nations can free up resources for desperately
needed disaster prevention efforts. Better hazard mapping can further
improve early warning and disaster preparedness schemes, keeping human
and economic losses as low as possible.
"We usually think of natural systems as changing smoothly from one state to another over time," said Dr Brian Walker of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia. "In fact, smooth change can be interrupted by drastic 'flips' which have enormous consequences for those who depend on the ecosystem."
In a paper published this month in Nature, an international team of scientists including Walker examines the reasons for sudden catastrophic environmental change.
"Although the sudden change may be triggered by a single event, it generally happens if the original state is at a critical point of low resilience," he said. "This sort of change is often from one stable state to another, and it may be very difficult to return to the original."
Walker said that the team examined large-scale shifts in major ecosystems in lakes, woodlands, deserts and oceans.
"These catastrophic shifts in system states occur suddenly," says Walker. "There's no obvious change to the original system, and no 'early-warning' signals, but once the threshold is passed, the system changes inexorably, and it is impossible to restore the original conditions without going back to a point long before the collapse, which may be very difficult to achieve.”
Walker said ecosystem state shifts can cause large losses of ecological and economic resources, and restoring a desired state may require drastic and expensive intervention. Ignoring the shifts to alternative stable states may have heavy costs to society.
"Efforts to reduce the risk of unwanted catastrophes should address the gradual changes that affect resilience, rather than merely control disturbance," said Walker. "The most effective way to manage ecosystems, in the face of increasing environmental change, will be to ensure the maintenance of resilience of the system.”TED saves prawn-fishers dollars
Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), which reduce 'bycatch' in prawn trawl nets, not only save turtles, rays and sharks. They also improve the value of the prawn catch.
TEDs are metal grids placed inside the trawl net, which block the entry of larger sea-life, but allow prawns to pass through. They were made compulsory in Australia's Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) last year in response to industry and management environmental concerns about bycatch.
It is now clear that in addition to reducing the catch of large animals by up to 95 per cent, they bring financial benefits as well.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) scientist John Salini said a Gulf of Carpentaria study has shown TEDs improve the value of the catch by reducing the number of damaged tiger prawns.
"The reduced damage is mostly the result of fewer large animals such as sharks, rays and turtles, which crush prawns in the net or on the sorting tray," he said. "Damaged prawns are devalued as 'soft and broken' product, and severely 'broken and damaged' prawns may actually require processing before sale."
A study by CSIRO and the Australian Maritime College, funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and supported by the fishing industry, is the first to demonstrate an economic benefit to prawn fishers from using bycatch reduction devices.
Some TEDs, however, can reduce the catch of prawns.
"Our results show there is only an increase in financial return to fishers who use TED designs, such as the Super Shooter, that decrease prawn damage, but do not reduce prawn catch," Salini said.
"However, more work still needs to be done to ensure the loss of prawns is minimized."
The study found damage to prawns caught with TED-fitted nets could be reduced by 6-35 per cent (depending on the TED design) compared with a standard 'codend' net. The significance of this reduced damage is seen in the price difference between value-added small premium packs of intact prawns and bulk-packed damaged prawns.
"Our conservative estimate of increased return to fishers by using the Super Shooter plus the Fisheye device (which also reduces unwanted fish bycatch) is $735 per week, compared with the cost of installing the a pair of nets (about $2000)," said Salini.
Conference sets global agenda for protecting ozone
During the high-level segment, delegates were addressed by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayeke, who announced his country's plan to phase out CFCs by 2005, five years earlier than required by the Protocol.
Completing the CFC phase-out schedule for developing countries is of particular importance for the recovery of the earth's stratospheric ozone layer. These countries are committed to a 1999 freeze in their production and consumption of CFCs, to be followed by a 50% reduction by 2005, an 85% cut by 2007, and a complete phase out by 2010. They will also be required to freeze halons and methyl bromide in 2002. Developed countries almost completely phased out CFCs in 1996.
The meeting reviewed national data on the consumption and production of CFCs by developing countries for the first time. The data indicates that most developing countries are in compliance. However, some 25 out of 136 increased their consumption of CFCs in 1999, and one increased its production. Fortunately, these countries can call on the Protocol's Multilateral Fund, which provides financial support to help Governments make the transition to ozone-safe technologies.
The Colombo meeting agreed to the terms of reference for a study that will help Governments determine the level at which the Fund should be replenished for the 2003-2005 funding period. They also agreed to conduct an evaluation study of the Fund's performance. The Fund has disbursed more than $1.2 billion since 1991 for phase-out projects in some 120 developing countries.
The meeting also considered the problem of illegal trade in controlled substances. As a next step, it requested the Protocol's secretariat to prepare a report on monitoring and preventing illegal trade in time for the next meeting of the Protocol's Open-Ended Working Group in mid-2002.
The 14th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer will be held at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi from 25 to 29 November 2002. The Vienna Convention, whose Parties meet every three years, and is the framework treaty under which the Protocol was negotiated, will hold its 6th Conference of the Parties at the same time.
Florida industries, coastal cities face costly
new risks from global warming
Expected changes include rising ocean levels, hotter temperatures, and increased variability in the weather -- meaning both droughts and heavy rains would become more frequent. These effects could radically alter Florida's landscape, as well as its economy. And they could be very expensive, especially for coastal communities such as Miami and Tampa/St. Petersburg.
Changes caused by global warming could jeopardize the state's number one status as a tourist and retirement destination. Agribusinesses such as citrus and tomato growers also could face higher costs and lower productivity. Most important, people living in Florida communities would face greater health threats from air pollution and heat stress.
"These two reports provide a sobering picture of what Florida will look like in the near future," said Dr. Daniel Lashof, Science Director of the NRDC Climate Center. "We need to address these problems, and we need to start today."
Congress is currently considering the Clean Power Act, which would clean up carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, and 10 county commissions in Florida have petitioned Gov. Bush to develop a state global warming action plan.
Partner search on for ICZM network project
More than 30 organisations have already confirmed their interest to join the project partnership, either as a Full Partner (work package leader) or as an Associated Partner. The initiative aims to support elements of the European Commission's Coastal Strategy for Europe and the draft EU Recommendation for ICZM, such as the diffusion of best practice in ICZM and the establishment of a coastal practitioners network.
In December 2000, the EUCC adopted the integrated approach to coastal conservation and management as the main focus of its work. A project preparation workshop will be held 30 November to 1 December 2001, as part of a coastal event in Vlissingen (Zeeland, the Netherlands).
Black Sea spiraling into decline
The environment, wildlife and people linked with the Black Sea are also under threat from large discharges of raw sewage, damaging levels of coastal erosion and the suffocating impacts of dumping of sludge and mud dredged from ports.
During the past 20 years around a third of fish stocks have been lost.
Only six of the 26 species commercially exploited in the 1960s remain
in commercial quantities with decreases in sturgeon,
Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director, said: "We are in the
process of assessing the health and environmental condition of 66 water
areas across the world including seas, lakes, wetlands,
Initiatives are at hand to try and reduce the levels of pollution swilling into the region's water systems from factories and cities as far away as Hungary, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Slovenia. Efforts are also being made to reduce the current levels of over-fishing and destructive fishing practices which, some experts claim, have seen catches in the Black Sea drop by a third from 814,000 tons in 1986 to some 523,000 tons.
A $100 million scheme, targeted at the Sea and two of the major rivers which drain into it, is expected to be up and running by the end of the year. The Black Sea Basin Strategic Partnership will involve organizations including the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, the European Union and UNEP.
Aboriginal sea rights confirmed in Australia’s
For full text and graphics visit: http://ens-news.com/ens/oct2001/2001L-10-17-02.html
Manatee coalition condemns petition seeking manatee
"The CCA has continuously spoken out against regulations that would protect manatees," said Judith Vallee, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club. "At every step, they have opposed the adoption of new manatee refuges, sanctuaries, safe havens, and speed zones proposed under a legal settlement between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC), Save the Manatee Club, and a coalition of 18 environmental and animal welfare groups, because it would modify access by fishermen and other recreational users while providing essential protection for manatees."
Despite its name, notes Vallee, the CCA is actually an organization dedicated to recreational saltwater anglers.
According to Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist for The Humane Society of the United States, these protections are essential if the manatee is to survive.
"The protected areas outlined in the settlement agreement will ensure that manatees have safe areas to mate, birth their young, rest, and feed in relative safety away from dangerous boat traffic and human harassment," said Rose. "Without these protections, the future of the Florida manatee remains very much in doubt."
In their recently published white paper, What is the Status of the
Manatee Population, the Manatee Population Status Working Group
(MPSWG), an interdisciplinary team of manatee biologists from the U.S.
Geological Survey Sirenia Project, the Florida Marine Research Institute,
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and others, conclude: "The continued high level
of human-related deaths, particularly the increasing percentage of watercraft-related
deaths, raises concern about the ability of the overall population to
grow or at least remain stable. [The Group] is also concerned about
the negative impacts of factors that are difficult to quantify, such
as habitat loss and chronic effects of severe injuries. The exact number
of manatees in the wild is unknown. Unfortunately, the [synoptic survey]
counts vary widely depending on weather conditions and the raw numbers
alone do not provide an accurate picture of population trends."
The new LFA sonar technology, which has been tested by the Navy as a way to detect so-called silent submarines over hundreds of miles of open ocean.
Dr. Naomi Rose told the House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans that although virtually all marine life may be at risk from LFA sonar, beaked, baleen, and sperm whales who use sound as their primary sense for feeding, communicating, navigating, and breeding appear to be particularly sensitive to low frequency sound and are at extreme risk. Active sonar sounds may be so powerful that they can kill a whale outright if the animal is close enough to the transmission device. Navy use of active sonar technology off the Bahamas in March of last year caused the stranding deaths of seven beaked whales. Internal examination of the whales' heads revealed massive damage to the whales' auditory organs and air-filled cavities.
Global Internet-based education program focusing
on marine conservation launched
Volvo, through its Volvo Ocean Adventure, has created an extensive web-based education curriculum focusing on environmental issues related to oceans, lakes and rivers. The web site follows sailboats participating in the Volvo Ocean Race as they travel around the world on their 9-month-long voyage, highlighting relevant conservation topics along the way. CCC was asked by Volvo to participate in the marine aspect of the VOA educational program. During the race, CCC will provide information about endangered sea turtles that it is tracking via satellite. CCC will also contribute information about sea turtles and marine habitats in the areas visited by the boats. CCC released three satellite-tagged sea turtles at Tortuguero, Costa Rica, just as the Volvo Ocean Race got underway this September.
In addition to a wealth of background information about sea turtles, online quizzes and video clips, the CCC web site includes maps showing the most recent migratory movements of each turtle being tracked. Students and other observers have an opportunity to post questions or offer comments through an electronic bulletin board that is monitored by the CCC and sea turtle researchers. People and classes can "adopt" one of the satellite-tracked turtles for a $25 donation, which supports CCC's sea turtle protection efforts.
To participate in this free program or to adopt a satellite-tagged turtle, call the CCC at (800) 678-7853 or go directly to the CCC web site. Teachers wanting to include the program in their school curriculum can register on-line to receive a free 40-page Educator's Guide with background information, worksheets and ideas for fun, educational classroom activities.
Sport diving marketers sue state conservation officials
over proposed Florida shark-feeding ban
DEMA and other elements of the dive industry have steadfastly claimed that there is no evidence that these activities are harmful to marine life or endanger people. However, the results of two years of information gathering and public hearings on these issues have convinced the FFWCC otherwise. According to Commission Chairman David Meehan, "Feeding marine life disrupts the natural behavior and feeding habits of fish and other animals. That is not in the best interest of marine life, and it could pose a threat to public safety."
That assessment is shared by many prominent marine conservation organizations, a number of which have gone on record in support of the proposed ban. It is also backed up by some troubling facts. George Burgess, who maintains the world renowned International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida reported that, "more than a dozen injuries have occurred (at shark feeding sites) in the last several years, at least two quite serious".
Federal wildlife protection officials have also expressed overt support for the Commission decision. The Acting Superintendent of Biscayne Bay National Park wrote the Commission, "we would encourage legislators to promulgate rules similar to our regulations to protect all marine creatures and fish from adverse influences…any attempt to manipulate the natural life cycles…such as fish feeding, would be contrary to the mission and values of the National Park Service".
For more information, visit the Marine Safety Group web site
UNEP releases atlas of Tanzanian coastal and marine
The Tanzanian coastal resources atlas and the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database are major outputs of the "Eastern African coastal and marine environment resources database and atlas project", coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The outputs are the first of their kind in Tanzania within the framework of the Eastern African Action Plan, adopted by nine countries of the Eastern African region in 1985.
The textbook on the coastal environment contains information on the resources of the 800 km long Tanzania coastline fronting the Indian Ocean from Kenya in the north at 4°38'S to Mozambique in the south at 10°30'S, including offshore islands of Zanzibar (i.e. Unguja and Pemba) and Mafia (to the south). Maps interspersed within the textbook are derived from the already operational coastal GIS database located at the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) in Zanzibar.
The coastal GIS database provides data and information to planners and decision-makers from various administrative institutions and specialized agencies in Tanzania, including the Marine Parks and Reserves Unit, the Department of Archives, Museum and Antiquities, and the National Environment Management Council. The coastal GIS database allows the project's counterpart institutions to produce different thematic maps to meet the demands of the users such as provision of base maps for conservation areas and critical habitats, development of emergency contingency plans in case of an accidental oil spill, and development of thematic maps for evaluating distribution, trends, assessment and monitoring of resources to help identify action priority areas and hotspots.
Tanzania is the second country after Kenya, where the atlas textbook and an accompanying set of coastal resource maps were launched in 1998. The Kenyan coastal resources GIS database became operational in 1995. The project is currently at its final stage of implementation in Comoros, Mozambique and Seychelles. UNEP's Division of Early Warning and Assessment is coordinating the project at the regional level while the project is implemented at the national level by national institutions, which have respective government mandates in coastal area management.
The project will distribute 2,000 copies of the Atlas to government ministries and departments, local authorities, NGOs, the private sector, academic institutions, libraries, sub-regional and national environmental authorities in Eastern Africa and the general public. Copies may be requested, free of charge, from the Institute of Marine Sciences or from UNEP.
For more information, please contact: Dr. A. Dubi, Director, Institute
of Marine Sciences (IMS), P.O. Box 668, Zanzibar, tel: +255-54-232128
or 230741, fax: +255-54-233050, e-mail: email@example.com; or Dr. Timothy Foresman,
Director, UNEP Division of Early Warning and Assessment, P.O. Box 30522,
Nairobi, Kenya, tel: +254-2-62-3231/2041, fax: +254-2-62-4315, e-mail
The report Caught in the Act, released by the Marine Fish Conservation Network, a coalition of environmentalists, fishermen and scientists, chronicles what it said are the NMFS’s failures in implementing the 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act. Under the law, NMFS and its eight management councils were directed to prevent overfishing and rebuild overfished stocks; report and minimize the catching and killing of unwanted ocean wildlife, also known as bycatch; and designate essential fish habitat for all federally managed fish species and minimize adverse effects of fishing on those habitats.
According to the report, the Act’s charge to reform fisheries management has been largely ignored by the eight regional councils charged with the responsibility. Many of the councils have failed to even adequately define overfishing, a basic parameter needed to do their jobs. And one, the Caribbean Council, just submitted its first conservation plan to eliminate overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks and minimize bycatch – remarkably three years late of the original Sustainable Fisheries Act deadline.
The few cases where sound science and aggressive conservation measures have been allowed to work demonstrate that aggressive conservation measures produce results, and that disparate parties can be brought together to solve problems, the report says. For example, closing Georges Bank in 1995 was a bold move and an unpopular decision at the time. But fishermen, conservationists and managers alike are pleased today that some groundfish, like yellowtail flounder, have rebuilt and others are rebuilding. It notes, however, that success stories are the exception and not the rule.
“Congress was very clear five years ago. The fisheries service and managers were to stop wasting our ocean resources and put conservation first. It’s almost like they didn’t hear the mandate,” said Phil Kline, fisheries program director at American Oceans Campaign. “So far NMFS and the management councils have made little attempt to follow the letter or the spirit of the law. They’re not doing their jobs at the expense of fish, fishermen and taxpayers.”
The report says part of the problem to poor implementation but it also blames a legal framework rife with holes, despite Congress’ best efforts. The assessment comes while bills are making their way through the House and Senate that would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, our primary marine fisheries management law.
World Atlas of Coral Reefs released
The publication provides the first detailed and definitive account of the current state of our planet's coral reefs. It includes authoritative and up-to-date information, 84 full-page newly researched and drawn color maps, and detailed descriptive texts and more than 200 color photos illustrating reefs, reef animals, and images taken from space by NASA astronauts during the 2000 and 2001 space shuttle flights. The authors provide a wealth of information on the geography, biodiversity, and human uses of coral reefs, as well as details about the threats to their existence.
Prepared at the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, England, the Atlas is a critical tool for scientists, students, policymakers, and planners at local, national, and international levels alike.
This publication is supported by international institutions including the United Nations Environment Programme; The Marine Aquarium Council, The International Coral Reef Initiative; ICLARM--The World Fish Center; the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, and the Aventis Foundation.
To order your copy, visit the EarthPrint web site
Report on European fisheries policy calls for stronger
"We need stronger resolve to put in place the necessary controls. Member States have to commit the necessary resources. In its Green Paper, the Commission stresses the need to seize the opportunity offered by the forthcoming CFP review to explore new ways of improving control arrangements. Otherwise, the CFP will suffer a fatal blow to its credibility", Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, summarized the conclusions of the report.
On the basis of the Green Paper and of the response to it from interested parties, the Commission will produce a Communication, to be presented to the Council and the European Parliament, on the future orientations in the domain of enforcement of CFP measures.
A press release with hyperlink to "Report on the Monitoring of the Implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy" is available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/fisheries/news_corner/press/inf01_53_en.htm Coastal Guide News
Fisheries Atlas CD-ROM launched
Based on the broad expertise of the FAO Fisheries Department, the Atlas presents a comprehensive and global view of capture and aquaculture fisheries. Using both published and original material, it touches on all aspects of fisheries - from technology and trade to research and resources - and addresses a broad range of policy issues such as ecosystem management, safety at sea and biotechnology.
Fisheries and related industries today provide a livelihood for up to 400 million people worldwide. Vital to the poorest, fisheries contribute significantly to world food security and account for over US$50 billion in international trade.
The World Fisheries and Aquaculture Atlas CD-ROM contains over 300 original articles and is illustrated with hundreds of images, graphs, maps and fact sheets. In addition, 5000 links to other documents and Web sites provide a network of easily accessible, relevant and updated material. The CD-ROM will be published at least every two years for distribution at the biennial meeting of the FAO Committee on Fisheries as a companion to the FAO publication The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture. Future editions will include other language versions.