Archive for Stories of Hope
www.themercury.com.au 10th March 2013
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have yet again forced the Japanese whaling fleet to fall well short of their maximum quota for whale carcasses. The fleet recently returned to port with 75 whales on board compared to the 800+ it could have culled. Despite the Australian government lodging a complaint at the International Court of Justice about Japan’s continued whaling programme, citing the country’s failure to uphold its international obligations, Japan continues to hunt whales. Sea Shepherd’s fleet has grown recently and now consists of four ships. This has allowed the conservation group to be more direct in their protests. However, growing aggression has led to claims of violence and harassment on both sides. In 2010, one of Sea Shepherd’s boats, The Ady Gil (formerly of Earth Race), was almost sunk by a Japanese whaling ship.
www.bbc.co.uk 11th March 2013
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has made a progressive step towards the conservation of sharks around the world by giving added protection to three endangered species. The convention, currently being held in Bangkok, Thailand, voted by a two-thirds majority to increase the status of the ocean whitetip, three species of hammerhead, and the porbeagle sharks, as well as Manta rays. Despite strong opposition from Japan and China, two countries known for their taste in exotic marine species, a shift in the attitude of South American nations such as Brazil and Colombia helped the motion pass. However, it could still be overturned on appeal on the final day of the convention this week. Although the move stops short of banning the shark fin trade altogether, it does introduce stricter regulations that can result in sanctions on animal products if flouted. Many shark populations have plummeted 90% in the last 100 years largely as a result of overfishing. As many as a 100 million sharks are captured every year.
LMV have recently come into contact with the Terra Mar Project, a fantastic initiative that calls for the protection of the world’s high seas. The open ocean is outside of the legal jurisdiction of any government and has therefore been exploited to a dangerous extent. Overfishing and pollution have ravaged the oceans but the Terra Mar Project believes that every individual on the planet has duty to ensure the marine environment is protected. Following the Law of the Commons, which states: “The high seas belong to all of us and should be protected for generations to come”, TMP encourages people to become a ‘citizen’ of the high seas and therefore promote awareness of its plight to friends, family and contacts. Currently, less than 2% of the oceans are protected with the UK leading the way after creating the world’s largest marine reserve around the Chagos Islands.
Become a citizen of Terra Mar now and help protect the high seas of the planet.
Quoted from independent.co.uk 16th January 2013
Trees in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest are being fitted with mobile phones in an attempt to tackle illegal logging and deforestation. Devices smaller than a pack of cards are being attache d to the trees in protected areas to alert officials once they are cut down and the logs are transported. Location data is sent from sensors once the logs are within 20 miles of a mobile phone network to allow Brazil’s environment agency to stop the sale of illegal timber. The technology, called Invisible Tracck, which is being piloted by Dutch digital security company Gemalto, has a battery life of up to a year and has been designed to withstand the Amazonian climate. It will also allow officials to track trees in real time rather than relying on slower traditional means of monitoring through satellite images. Ramzi Abdine, general manager of Cinterion M2M, the wireless technology arm at Gemalto Latin America, said the new device could help overcome the difficulty of tracking trees over a large area. “The rainforest in Brazil is approximately the size of the United States so it’s impossible to monitor each and every acre,” he said. Marcelo Hayashi, general manager of Cargo Tracck, added: “Gemalto’s Cinterion M2M was vital in enabling us to develop a tracking and tracing solution rugged enough to withstand the heat and moisture of the Amazon. “It is unique because it’s small for inconspicuous deployment in the field and power-efficient enough to operate over long stretches of time without recharging batteries, which is crucial when tracking trees in remote areas.”
www.cnn.com 3rd July 2012
The Government Office Administration of the State Council of China has announced its intention to ban shark fins being served at official banquets. Shark fins are usually served in a soup that was originally reserved for the elite during imperial times. With the Chinese economic boom however, demand for the luxury dish has rocketed resulting in widespread and unsustainable shark fishing. Sharks are usually finned while still alive and the rest of the body is discarded. The demand for shark fin soup has been attributed to the increase of endangered shark species across the planet, rising from 15 in 1996 to 181 today. Between 26 and 73 million sharks are killed every year. The move by the Government Office Administration came after a proposal was put forward in the National People’s Congress early last year. Although it may take as long as three years to implement, the ban would ‘help cut the cost of sometimes lavish banquets held for state functions.’ Several companies have also made moves to ban the product in China including the Peninsula Hotel and Shangri-la Hotels chains. Swissotel in Beijing has already stopped.
e360.yale.edu 14th June 2012
Quoted from source:
‘Australia has announced that it will create the world’s largest marine reserve, a network of protected areas that will cover 1.2 million square miles, more than one-third of the country’s waters. Environment Minister Tony Burke, making the announcement in advance of the Rio+20 sustainability summit, said the action will expand the number of Australia’s marine reserves from 27 to 60 and will protect waters of the Coral Sea and other key ocean habitats. “It’ time for the world to turn a corner on protection of our oceans, and Australia today is leading that next step,” said Burke. “What we’ve done is effectively create a national parks estate in the ocean.” Limited fishing and oil drilling will be allowed in some areas, and the fishing industry will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for reducing or eliminating commercial fishing in numerous tracts of ocean.’
LMV comment: only 1.1 million square miles of the world’s oceans were protected before the expansion, of which 310,000 square miles were in Australian waters. This move by the Australian government means that over half of the world’s marine reserves are now in Australia.
In the run up to the main launch of Plastic Shores in London on the 4th May, we wanted to write a little about the various organisations that have helped us out along the way. One group that doesn’t actually feature directly in the film but were instrumental in securing us most of our footage of landfill and recycling centres is the Carymoor Environmental Trust. LMV was put in touch with Juliet Lawn at the Trust through a mutual friend and we were introduced to representatives of Viridor, who own and run the nearby Dimmer landfill site. Carymoor are an environmental education and nature conservation charity who have established over 100 acres of diverse habitats over capped landfill in east Somerset. This gives schools and community groups a unique opportunity to study what happens to our waste and how we can manage it after it has been disposed of, particularly in relation to land restoration. In some of the habitat areas the Trust had set up, it was almost impossible to tell the bustling life of flora and fauna (see below) hid beneath them 26 metres of rubbish. Carymoor operates out of a beautiful sustainably built eco-centre (pictured above) that generates most of its energy through solar and wind. A grey water unit also ensures much of the water from the building is reused. It was through Juliet that LMV was given permission by Viridor to film the Dimmer Landfill Site, which features prominently in Plastic Shores. Viridor then went on to allow us to visit and film their recycling factory in Ford, West Sussex.
Interestingly, a recent BBC article in March of this year states that since introducing entry fees, Somerset landfill sites have experienced half a million fewer visits since April 2011 than normal. However, there has appeared to be a rise in the number of reported cases of fly-tipping in the same period.
www.lemonde.fr 19th April 2012
Yesterday (18th April), French Prime Minister Francois Fillon officially signed into being the country’s tenth national park near Marseille. Covering an area of 150,000 hectares (of which 43,500 are at sea), ‘le parc national des Calanques’ (roughly translated: Creeks National Park) even covers some suburb areas of Marseille, the second largest city in France with a population of 800,000. The mayor of the city, Jean-Claude Gaudin, was a supporter of the project because, he says, the great beauty of the area had brought in people who didn’t care for the preservation of the local environment. However, there are those who fear the creation of the new ‘parc national’ will bring in too many restrictions on local activities, more development, and the alienation of the local community. Semeriva Francis, a 66 year old represented a community of cabanoniers (people who own small holiday sheds) in the Sormiou Marie valley, was particularly worried: ”There is no one more environmentally friendly than we are. The creeks, they were always protected, while the creation of the park will attract millions more people and with them new regulations. Cabanoniers will be treated like tourists.” Others worry about increased pollution brought about by new development. Not so long ago, the infamous Marseille ‘Red Mud’ blighted the park from sewage outflows within the area that is now the park.
The first French national park, La Vanoise, was set up in 1963 and covers 53,500 hectares in the Savoie region.
LMV director Ed Scott-Clarke had the pleasure of attending a screening of Guy Harvey’s new documentary on sharks in the Caribbean today. Showing at the Hollywood Theatre in Grand Cayman, ‘This is Your Ocean‘ follows the journey of famous marine artists Guy Harvey and Wyland and shark specialist Tim Abernathy as they raise awareness on the plight of sharks (particularly Tiger sharks) in the Bahamas. Their work helped the Bahamas government announce in July 2011 the cessation of all commercial shark fishing in the country’s economic exclusion zone. The move wasn’t a moment too soon as the islands are about to host a 5,000 strong Chinese harbour construction crew. China is one of the main consumers of shark fin soup and there were fears that the arrival of the workforce would push up demand in the area. ‘This is Your Ocean’ is a 45 minute film is an enjoyable educational film that centres around the three environmentalists and a 14ft Tiger shark called Emma. Emma’s relationship with Tim Abernathy particularly is very moving. LMV attended with the Cayman Islands’ Department of the Environment shark specialist Ollie Dubock, who was also in the film. Following the showing, Ed met Guy and briefly discussed the possibility of working together (in collaboration with Pangaea Explorations) on a short documentary on sharks in the Cayman Islands towards the end of the year.
www.independent.co.uk 18th February 2012
Researchers at Stanford University in California have come up with a radical new idea for tackling the problem of by-catch in the world’s oceans. By-catch is when fishermen are fishing for a target species, such as tuna, but catch other species, such as sharks, turtles, dolphins, and rays, unintentionally in the process. The phenomenon has been instrumental in radical declines of numerous species, including the Leatherback turtle whose populations have declined in the Pacific by 90% in 20 years. Now scientists have suggested that mobile marine reserves, monitored by satellites, could solve the problem. Existing static marine reserves are not adequate as endangered species simply migrate into unprotected waters. “I thought 12 years ago that we would not be able to do this, but I would say in the last 5 years the science has grown so quickly, at least in areas where we have rich data, we are on the cusp of doing this,” Larry Crowder, a professor of marine biology at Stanford, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver. “We don’t need to close the entire ocean, we only need to close the place where they are concentrated, where by-catch is particularly likely to be found, and leave the rest of the ocean open.” The main places the mobile marine reserves would focus on would be areas of high marine biodiversity such as “upwellings” (where minerals are brought to the oceans’ surfaces by rising currents) and “convergence zones”, where ocean currents collide.
www.bbc.co.uk 3rd October 2011
The republic of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific has created the world’s largest shark sanctuary, covering around 2 million square kilometres (772,000 square miles) of ocean. The sanctuary, roughly the equivalent area of Mexico or Saudi Arabia, is three times the size of the former largest sanctuary created by Palau two years ago. The move by the Marshall government reflects the importance of diving tourism on the islands’ economy. ”In passing this [shark protection] bill, there is no greater statement we can make about the importance of sharks to our culture, environment and economy,” said Senator Tony deBrum, who co-sponsored the bill. New laws now dictate that the commercial fishing of sharks is banned, as is the trade in any shark products. Certain types of fishing gear will be banned and violators of these laws will face fines of up to £200,000. Shark fishing has been on the rise in recent years due to high demand in China and other Asian countries for shark fins. Around 73 million are killed annually resulting in a third of ocean-going sharks being out on the Red List of Threatened Species. The Marshall Island government worked closely with the US-based Pew Environmental Group to create the sanctuary.
Although having been in the Cayman Islands for a week, LMV director Ed Scott-Clarke is still not sure whether he can stay to complete filming of Plastic Shores. Upon arrival on Tuesday (20th), his passport was seized by immigration and he has yet to have it returned. The main bone of contention seems to be what and who LMV will be filming and the amount of time LMV proposes to stay on the islands. The latter point is understandable, considering the financial status of the islands and the eagerness of many to gain citizenship here.
The Cayman Islands are well-known for diving and sailing holidays, as well as beautiful beaches and smart restaurants. Grand Cayman, the largest of the three islands (the others being Cayman Brac and Little Cayman), also hosts the world’s only population of Blue Iguanas. LMV visited the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme and met up with its head warden John Marotta. The Recovery Programme has been a spectacular success story for conservation, bringing the Blue Iguana back from functional extinction in 2004 to a population nearing 700 today.
John took LMV to a beach set away from the more popular tourist spots where he normally collects vegetation to feed the captive lizards in the programme (the programme makes sure that all food fed to the Blue Iguanas is representative of their natural diet and comes from the Cayman Islands). Whereas all the other beaches LMV has seen on the islands are made up of pristine white sand, this shoreline was more like something from Big Island, Hawai’i on the edge of the Pacific Garbage Patch. The beach was covered in plastic bottles and, according to John, it was comparatively clean due to a recent storm that had cleared most of the debris. 90% of the waste had come from cruise ships, which habitually dump trash as soon as they are out of national waters. Because of the way currents work, most of this washes back up on the Cayman Islands.
The CI government, fortunately (and unlike in the UK), seem to have a comprehensive cleanup strategy for this waste. Of course, as a large part of their economy is based on tourism, this would make sense. This hasn’t stopped some people trying to highlight the problem though. On South Sound Road that loops around the bottom of Grand Cayman, there is a tree covered in shoes and flip-flops. Called the Cayman Shoe Tree, it was started by Canadian electrician Wolfgang Brocklebank and his Swiss girlfriend Giovanna Inselmini to raise awareness for the amount of shoes washed up on the Cayman coastline. People are encouraged to add more shoes they find on the CI shoreline to the living sculpture.
www.bbc.co.uk 8th September 2011
Proposals have been put forward to turn over a quarter of the English and Welsh coasts into marine conservation zones. Currently only 1% of this coastline is protected but a 100 sites have been put forward as part of the 2009 UK Marine Bill. The sites range from ‘tiny stretches of coastline to large tracts of seafloor’ and include Chesil Beach in Dorset, Land’s End, the Donna Nook seal colony in Lincolnshire, and the Silver Pit off the Yorkshire coast. The proposed sites will now be assessed by an expert panel before being put forward to parliament, probably next year. A whole range of groups were consulted to draw up the plans including the mineral industry, scuba-diving groups, anglers, renewable energy companies and the Ministry of Defence. ‘The ultimate aim is to create an “ecologically coherent” network of protected areas around all UK coasts, safeguarding important natural habitats while allowing other activities such as recreational angling, commercial fishing, surfing and marine energy to go ahead.’ Scotland is due to create its own marine reserves but Northern Ireland has yet to announce similar plans.
e360.yale.edu 29th August 2011
Quoted from source:
‘A new study says the preservation of just 4 percent of the world’s oceans would protect critical habitat for most of the world’s marine mammal species. After comparing maps of where each of the planet’s 129 marine mammal species are found — and where conservation efforts would be most productive — scientists from Stanford University and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México identified 20 areas of “species richness” based on the number of species present, risks of extinction, and the presence of species unique to the area. According to their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, preserving just nine of those 20 conservation sites, which cover 4 percent of the world’s oceans, would protect habitat for 108 species, or 84 percent of the Earth’s marine mammal species. The sites are located off the coasts of Baja California in Mexico, eastern Canada, Peru, Argentina, northwestern Africa, South Africa, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. At least 70 percent of those areas are significantly impacted by human activities, highlighting the urgency to enhance marine conservation efforts, the authors said.’
www.latimes.com 22nd August 2011
Quoted from source:
‘The great whites stopped nosing around the boat, but they were still out there. The captain could see them on his depth finder, on the bottom more than 200 feet below. On the dive platform, William Winram strapped on a low-volume mask and long-blade fins, as did his two friends. Tall and wiry, with cool, narrow-set eyes and sandy-blond hair flecked with gray, Winram is a champion free-diver, capable of holding his breath for eight minutes. He once stroked to a depth of 295 feet and back without oxygen or fins. He planned to go meet the great whites today. No shark cage. No spear gun or knife. Just his camera. Photos and video would document the event.’
To read the whole article on the Los Angeles Times website click here.
Yvonne, a cow that escaped from a Bavarian farm in May, has gained national celebrity after numerous attempts to recapture her failed. However, things are looking increasingly desperate for the cunning bovine (pictured) as officials have branded her a danger to traffic and have given hunters the right to shoot her. Attempts to lure Yvonne back into human hands have included bringing another cow Waltroud, Yvonne’s “best friend”, nearby. Then Yvonne’s calf was brought along. Both times Yvonne watched from a distance before running off. Animal rights campaigners have been using infrared to track the cow’s movements. For the most part, she “lies low” during the day and forages at night, much like a deer. Now, in a final attempt, campaigners have brought in the breeding bull Ernst to see whether sex appeal will tempt Yvonne from the Bavarian woods. Yvonne has been a popular topic in German media with one newspaper, Bild, offering €10,000 to anyone who can save the “heroine of the Summer”.
www.latimes.com 4th August 2011
Oregon has joined Hawai’i and Washington to become the third state to pass legislation against the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed bill HB 2838 on Thursday (4th August) making California the last of the mainland Pacific coast states not to have similar legislation (it is currently being held up in the state Senate). President Obama has also made steps to tighten up a ban on shark finning in the US by signing federal legislation earlier this year. Shark fin soup is a delicacy in Chinese communities and is viewed as a status symbol served particularly for weddings and banquets. Defenders of the practice claim it is a cultural tradition and banning it is tantamount to an “attack on Asian culture.” Many sharks have their fins removed while still alive and are then thrown back into the ocean to die a slow and painful death. Marine experts claim shark finning has led to the global decline in shark populations (around 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins and meat).
www.independent.co.uk 7th August 2011
Peregrine falcons, the fastest animals in the world, used to be a species in decline in the UK. The introduction of organochlorine pesticide in the mid-20th century decimated their populations as it caused the walls of falcon eggs to thin. Numbers of breeding pairs in the country dropped to around 360 in the 1960s. Today though, there has been a huge increase in peregrine numbers with 1,500 pairs known. A surprising 24 of these have taken up residence in London. Two have even set up home on top of the famous Tate Modern gallery on the South Bank. ”Since the banning of certain pesticides, the peregrines have bounced back. More and more are spreading out looking for new territories,” said Paul Stancliffe, a bird specialist at the British Trust for Ornithology. ”They favour places with abundant food that are inaccessible to other predators. As those prime territories get taken up, young birds look for new spaces – buildings in cities and towns provide perfect cliff-like locations.” Although peregrine populations maybe making a recovery in urban areas, ‘the illegal persecution of the birds by gamekeepers in rural areas is still a cause for “major concern”.’ Between 1990 and 2009, ‘there were 141 convictions relating to bird of prey persecution, with 98 individuals having game-bird interests’. Egg stealing is also a common problem with wild peregrines in much demand for falconry.
A magical tale of adventure and discovery showcasing some of the extraordinary species recently found around the world. ‘Astonish Me’ has been created by acclaimed writer Stephen Poliakoff and director Charles Sturridge to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
www.nationalgeographic.com 25th July 2011
Washington DC lawmakers will consider over the next few weeks a controversial plan to take down four dams in the state of California in order to save endangered salmon. Dams have been blamed by various environmental groups for the drastic decline in salmon runs over the past century, from millions of fish to just 100,000 or so. The plan is, surprisingly, supported by local farmers as well as PacifiCorp, the operating company for the four dams (the Iron Gate, Copco 2, Copco 1, and John C. Boyle dams) all situated on the Klamath River. PacifiCorp, owned by Warren Buffett, has got behind the idea as it may cost more money to modify the dams with fish passages than it would to destroy them. Other major proponents of the plan are native American tribes that rely on salmon in their diet, and have done, according to archaeologists, for the past 9,000 years. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has warned that dam removal is not a ‘silver bullet’ though. Other factors such as water quality (increasingly affected by agricultural runoff) and water warming (due to climate change) also play a role and need to be kept in check if the local Chinook Salmon population is to recover. The four dams in line to be demolished were all created for hydropower and generate enough energy to power around 70,000 homes. Other dams on the river were constructed for irrigation but they are not at risk. The unlikely partnership of PacifiCorp, the Klamath Water Users Association (representing the region’s farmers) and the tribes (the Yurok, Karuk, Klamath, and Hoopa Valley), under the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, benefits all: less cost for the energy company, more water for the farmers, and more salmon for the tribes.
The Agriculture Minister of the Bahamas Larry Cartwright has approved this Tuesday a ban on the sale, import and export of shark products. The move sees the island chain join other countries such as Honduras, the Maldives, and Palau in banning shark fishing. Roughly 73 million sharks are killed annually, mostly to supply the heavy demand from China where sharks’ fins are used in traditional soups. The ban in the Bahamas, as well as the increase in shark-fishing fines from $3,000 to $5,000, will effectively make its 243,000 square mile territorial waters a safe haven for the ancient group of species. Although long-line fishing has been banned in the country since 1993, shark-fishing was still legal until conservationists launched a campaign in response to a local company announcing its intentions to export shark meat to Hong Kong. Tourism brings in $80 million to the Bahamas annually and each reef shark, according to the Pew Environmental Group, is worth about $250,000. This is compared to the $10,800 market value of a dead shark.
www.bbc.co.uk 21st May 2011
A pod of around 60 pilot whales seem to have escaped mass stranding off the island of South Uist, Scotland, according to animal welfare experts. The pod was first seen near Loch Carnan on Thursday afternoon with around 20 whales suffering head injuries. Sick and injured pilot whales are known to beach themselves to die but occasionally healthy individuals follow suit. The whales also enter shallow water in search for squid, their main source of food. Although it now seems the pod has re-entered deep water, and disaster averted, inflatable pontoons are still in place to refloat beached whales and a British Divers Marine Life Rescue team remains on standby. A similar event in October at the same loch ended in 33 pilot whales dying on a beach in County Donegal.
www.independent.co.uk 7th May 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Thousands of people have backed The Independent’s call for a ban on wild animals performing in circuses. As we revealed yesterday, Downing Street is understood to have blocked advanced plans by the Department for Environment for a ban. Almost 3,000 readers signed our online petition, while hundreds more left messages of support on the social networking site Twitter and our website. Among the comments on Twitter was “animals belong in the wild, not in the circus”. Around 20 animals perform in British circuses, including five tigers. All three circuses which use them – the Great British Circus, Peter Jolly’s and Circus Mondao – say the animals are well cared for by their trainers. Animal welfare groups and vets say enclosures are smaller than those in zoos, constant travel and performances in front of loud crowds make wild animals unsuitable for the big top. Their suspicions the Government would not agree a ban intensified last month when it failed to announce one during the row about pictures showing Anne the elephant being beaten at Bobby Roberts Super Circus. Virginia McKenna, who played the conservationist Joy Adamson in the film Born Free, said: “If the Government hasn’t thought it through, the public has – more than nine out of ten of us say a resounding no to the continued exploitation of wild animals in circuses in the name of so-called ‘entertainment’.”
To sign The Independent’s petition, visit independent.co.uk/circusanimals.
www.guardian.co.uk 4th May 2011
The EU fisheries chief, Maria Damanaki, has announced progressive plans to reduce pressure on fish stocks in European waters. To provide fisherman with an alternative source of income, European fishermen will be offered money in exchange for the amount of marine plastic collected and sent to recycling. A trial of the proposal is expected to begin soon in the Mediterranean, where plastic waste is threatening marine life. Ms Damanaki has also vowed to reduce, and even outright eliminate, the wasteful practice of discards in fishing. Some fisherman are bitterly opposed to the idea as they say that by stopping discards (the practice of throwing overboard all non-target species) they will lose money. Plastic collection is one way Ms Damanaki hopes to alleviate this. To begin with, fisherman that collect plastic will be subsidised by EU member states but in the future it is hoped that the practice will become self-sustaining. The EU Fisheries Commission also announced plans to ban fish products from countries that do not have strict sustainability standards.
www.nytimes.com 2nd May 2011
A recent study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science has come up with a statistic that should encourage locals to turn their backs on shark finning altogether. Palau Island in the Pacific Ocean was made a shark sanctuary in 2009 and a large amount of the country’s tourism is orientated towards divers who want to see the protected species. Using a straight forward mathematical equation, the AIMS then worked out the economic value of the sharks to the national economy: ‘diver tourism contributes about 39 percent of the country’s gross domestic product of $218 million, and 21 percent of divers chose their vacation there specifically to see the sharks, meaning that tourism to view sharks contributes about 8 percent of G.D.P., the study said. The researchers concluded that the roughly 100 sharks that inhabit the prime dive sites were each worth $179,000 annually to the island nation’s tourism industry, and that each shark had a lifetime value of $1.9 million.’ This is compared to the $10,800 a shark is worth if it is killed for its fins and meat. Palau is the world’s first shark sanctuary but there was a point where it may have been created at all. The Palau government were thinking of creating a shark finning factory instead but later reconsidered. Their change of mind now brings in $1.2 million for local residents annually and $1.5 million for the government. Global political-will has been lacking in creating marine conservation zones with only around 1% of the world’s oceans protected.
e360.yale.edu 2nd May 2011
Quoted from source:
‘The world’s largest producer of beef, JBS-Fribol, has agreed to stop buying cattle from ranches associated with illegal deforestation in the Amazon. After being accused by Brazilian officials of purchasing large quantities of cattle from illegally deforested land and facing $1.3 billion in fines, the company has signed agreements with prosecutors in eight states in the Amazon stating that it would not purchase beef from areas classified as conservation units or indigenous territories, or listed as off-limits by state environmental authorities. JBS-Fribol also said it would stop purchasing cattle from ranches accused of labor abuses, including slave labor. In exchange for promises to begin changing its operations by September 2012, the company will avoid the $1.3 billion in fines, state prosecutors said. Although hailed as an important step in efforts to slow deforestation in the Amazon, the agreement faces significant challenges, including corruption at the local level. Cattle production is the largest driver of deforestation in the Amazon, and a crackdown on the beef industry is one reason deforestation in the region has slowed in recent years.’
www.independent.co.uk 2nd May 2011
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds have reported record sightings of Red Kites, which were one of Britain’s rarest species 20 years ago. Once a very common bird of prey, the species were gradually whittled down to a small population in the Welsh Cambrian Mountains. But a series of reintroductions since the 1990s have seen sightings rocket 130% since 2010 causing the Red Kite to move up to number 53 in the rankings of mostly commonly seen birds in gardens. 7% of the world’s Red Kite population is now believed to reside in the UK. The sighting statistics were gathered from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, which had 600,000 participants. Although the Red Kite population in the UK seems to be recovering, the species is still experiencing problems in mainland Europe, where illegal poisoning of the birds is rife.
www.independent.co.uk 12th April 2011
In one of the most successful environmental campaigns in recent history, the way British supermarkets source their tuna has been radically overhauled. Morrisons is the last major UK supermarket to announce a ban on purse seining around fish-aggregating devices, or FADs, effective in 2013. The announcement, which brings Morrisons in line with the two other major British supermarkets Tesco and Asda targeted in a national campaign to bring an end to the practice. The drive to stop the use of FADs was largely led by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Greenpeace. Prior to their work, only Sainsburys, Marks and Spencers, and Waitrose sourced their tuna by the more sustainable pole and line method of fishing. FADs are floating islands that attract large shoals of tuna. They also attract other species though including other fish, sharks, dolphins, and turtles. Large fishing boats then scoop everything aboard using a purse net. All those species that are not tuna are then discarded overboard dead. This is called ‘by-catch’. The UK is the second biggest consumer of tuna after the USA.