‘They just pull up everything!’ Chinese fleet raises fears for Galápagos sea life

‘They just pull up everything!’ Chinese fleet raises fears for Galápagos sea life

Seascape: the state of our oceansGalápagos Islands

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/06/chinese-fleet-fishing-galapagos-islands-environment?fbclid=IwAR1m0ux_QLU-rqIe0Oo6lp1AtHvEq8KQWvMgLe8a7kjjm0NxXlgf0mkaXI0

A vast fishing armada off Ecuador’s biodiverse Pacific islands has stirred alarm over ‘indiscriminate’ fishing practicesSeascape: the state of our oceans is supported byAbout this content

Dan Collyns in Lima @yachay_dc

Thu 6 Aug 2020 05.30 EDTLast modified on Thu 6 Aug 2020 11.18 EDT

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The Chinese reefer ship Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 was intercepted inside the Galápagos marine reserve in 2017. It contained about 300 tonnes of mostly sharks, including protected species such as hammerhead and whale shark.
 The Chinese reefer ship Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 was intercepted in the Galápagos marine reserve in 2017 with about 300 tonnes of mostly sharks, including protected species. Photograph: Archivo Parque Nacional Galápagos

Jonathan Green had been tracking a whale shark named Hope across the eastern Pacific for 280 days when the satellite transmissions from a GPS tag on her dorsal fin abruptly stopped.

It was not unusual for the GPS signal to go silent, even for weeks at a time, said Green, a scientist who has been studying the world’s largest fish for three decades in the unique marine ecosystem around the Galápagos Islands.

Alarm over discovery of hundreds of Chinese fishing vessels near Galápagos Islands

 Read more

But then he looked at satellite images in the area where Hope was last tracked – more than a thousand nautical miles west of the islands – and noticed the ocean was being patrolled by hundreds of Chinese fishing boats.

“I began to look into it and found that at the very end of her track she began to speed up,” said Green, co-founder and director of the Galápagos Whale Shark Project.

“It went from one knot to six or seven knots for the last 32 minutes – which is, of course, the speed of a fishing boat,” he said.

The fishing vessels that Green saw on the satellite images are believed to belong to an enormous Chinese-flagged fleet which Ecuadorian authorities last week warned was just outside the Galápagos Islands’ territorial waters.

“I don’t have proof but my hypothesis is that she was caught by vessels from the same fleet which is now situated to the south of the islands,” Green told the Guardian. She is the third GPS-tracked whale shark to have gone missing in the last decade, he added.

The Chinese fleet, numbering more than 200 vessels, is in international waters just outside a maritime border around the Galápagos Islands and also Ecuador’s coastal waters, said Norman Wray, the islands’ governor.

‘The Galápagos Marine Reserve is a place of very great productivity, high biomass but also biodiversity.’
 A female whale shark in the Galápagos archipelago. ‘The Galápagos Marine Reserve is a place of very great productivity, high biomass but also biodiversity.’ Photograph: Simon J Pierce

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Chinese fishing vessels come every year to the seas around the Galápagos, which were declared a Unesco world heritage site in 1978, but this year’s fleet is one of the largest seen in recent years. Of the 248 vessels, 243 are flagged to China including to companies with suspected records of illegal, unreported and unregulated, or IUU, fishing, according to research by C4ADS, a data analysis NGO.

The fleet includes fishing boats and refrigerated container – or reefer – ships to store enormous catches.

Transferring cargo between vessels is prohibited under international maritime law yet the Chinese flotilla has supply and storage ships along with longline and squid fishing boats.

“There are some fleets which don’t seem to abide by any regulations,” said Wray.

One captain of an Ecuadorian tuna boat saw the Chinese fishing boats up close in early July, before the end of the tuna season.

“They just pull up everything!” said the captain, who asked not to be named. “We are obliged to take a biologist aboard who checks our haul; if we catch a shark we have to put it back, but who controls them?”

He recalled navigating through the fleet at night, constantly changing course to avoid boats, as their lights illuminated the sea to attract squid to the surface.

“It was like looking at a city at night,” he said.https://interactive.guim.co.uk/uploader/embed/2020/08/galapagos_islands_map/giv-3902PwADw3d4ii3F/

The longline fishing boats had up to 500 lines, each with thousands of fishhooks, he estimated, and claimed that some of the vessels would turn off their automatic tracking systems to avoid detection, particularly when operating in protected areas.

Chinese fishing practices first caught the attention of Ecuador in 2017 when its navy seized the Chinese reefer Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 within the Galápagos marine reserve. Inside its containers were 6,000 frozen sharks – including the endangered hammerhead shark and whale shark.

“It was a slaughterhouse,” said Green, describing the images of the cargo hold. “This kind of slaughter is going on on a massive scale in international waters and nobody is witnessing it.”

The seizure prompted protests outside the Chinese embassy in Quito; Ecuador fined the vessel $6m and the 20 Chinese crew-members were later jailed for up to four years for illegal fishing.

The arrival of the latest fleet has also stirred public outrage and a formal complaint by Ecuador as its navy is on alert for any incursion into Ecuadorian waters.

The Chinese embassy in Quito said that China was a “responsible fishing nation” with a “zero-tolerance” attitude towards illegal fishing. It had confirmed with Ecuador’s navy that all the Chinese fishing vessels were operating legally “and don’t represent a threat to anyone”, it said in a statement last month. On Thursday China announced a three-month fishing ban in the high seas west of the marine reserve, but it will not come into force until September.

Roque Sevilla, a former mayor of Quito, who is leading a team in charge of designing a “protection strategy” for the islands, said the fleet practices “indiscriminate fishing – regardless of species or age – which is causing a serious deterioration of the quality of fauna that we will have in our seas”.

Ecuador would establish a corridor of marine reserves with Pacific-facing neighbours Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia to seal off important areas of marine diversity, Sevilla told the Guardian.

Shark finning: why the ocean’s most barbaric practice continues to boom

 Read more

Protecting the Cocos Ridge, an underwater mountain range which connects the Galápagos Islands to mainland Costa Rica, and the Carnegie Ridge which links the archipelago to Ecuador and continental South America, could close off more than 200,000 sq nautical miles of ocean otherwise vulnerable to industrial fishing, he said.

He added Ecuador had called for a diplomatic meeting with Chile, Peru, Colombia and Panama to present a formal protest against China.Advertisementhttps://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

“When the Galápagos’s protected area was first created it was cutting edge,” said Matt Rand, director of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy, “but compared to other newer marine protected areas Galápagos is now potentially lacking in size to protect the biodiversity.”

Milton Castillo, the Galápagos Islands’ representative for Ecuador’s human rights ombudsman’s office, said he had asked the prosecutor’s office to inspect the cargo holds of the Chinese ships based on the legal principle of the universal and extraterritorial protection of endangered species.

China’s distant-water fishing fleet is the biggest in the world, with nearly 17,000 vessels – 1,000 of which use “flags of convenience” and are registered in other countries, according to research by the Overseas Development Institute.https://www.youtube.com/embed/Uu5ka0lMZTo?embed_config=%7B%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%5D%2C%22adsConfig%22%3A%7B%22adTagParameters%22%3A%7B%22iu%22%3A%22%2F59666047%2Ftheguardian.com%2Fenvironment%2Farticle%2Fng%22%2C%22cust_params%22%3A%22sens%253Df%2526permutive%253D23527%252C24632%252C24663%252C24665%252C24670%252C24655%252C24668%252C26748%252C27872%252C28985%252C24672%252C30130%252C31470%252C24691%252C24675%252C24693%252C33392%252C27631%252C27638%252C29800%252C33143%252C24659%252C24645%252C24630%252C28165%252C24628%252C24641%252C24667%252C24674%252C24689%252C30377%252C27564%252C24606%252C24661%252C25367%252C26822%252C25471%252C26749%252C37344%252C37434%252C43272%2526pv%253Dkdjeomwyvw417kzfu7lw%2526bp%253Ddesktop%2526si%253Df%2526ab%253DSignInGateMainVariant-main-variant-1%252CdotcomRenderingControl-control%252ColdTlsSupportDeprecationControl-control%2526fr%253D10-15%2526cc%253DUS%2526s%253Denvironment%2526rp%253Ddotcom-platform%2526dcre%253Df%2526inskin%253Df%2526urlkw%253Dchinese%252Cfleet%252Cfishing%252Cgalapagos%252Cislands%252Cenvironment%2526rdp%253Df%2526consent_tcfv2%253Dna%2526cmp_interaction%253Dna%2526se%253Dseascape-the-state-of-our-oceans%2526ct%253Darticle%2526co%253Ddan-collyns%2526url%253D%25252Fenvironment%25252F2020%25252Faug%25252F06%25252Fchinese-fleet-fishing-galapagos-islands-environment%2526br%253Df%2526su%253D2%252C3%252C4%252C5%2526edition%253Dus%2526tn%253Dfeatures%2526p%253Dng%2526k%253Dasia-pacific%252Cworld%252Cecuador%252Cchina%252Cfish%252Cenvironment%252Camericas%252Cgalapagos-islands%2526sh%253Dhttps%25253A%25252F%25252Fgu.com%25252Fp%25252Feehna%2526pa%253Dt%22%7D%7D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com&widgetid=1Play Video0:51 Footage shows Chinese fleet vessels transferring cargo in seas near Galápagos – video

The fleet often fishes in the territorial waters of low-income countries, the report said, having depleted fish stocks in domestic waters.

Green said the “explosion of life” created by the confluence of cold and warm ocean currents around the Galápagos Islands is exactly why the Chinese armada is hovering around the archipelago’s waters.

“The Galápagos marine reserve is a place of very great productivity, high biomass but also biodiversity,” he said. The longline fishing technique used by the fleet catch big fish like tuna, but also sharks, rays, turtles and marine mammals like sea lions and dolphins, he added.

“This is not fishing any more, it is simply destroying the resources of our oceans,” Green said. “We should ask whether any nation on this planet has the right to destroy what is common ground.”

A vast fishing armada off Ecuador’s biodiverse Pacific islands has stirred alarm over ‘indiscriminate’ fishing practicesSeascape: the state of our oceans is supported byAbout this content

Dan Collyns in Lima @yachay_dc

Thu 6 Aug 2020 05.30 EDTLast modified on Thu 6 Aug 2020 11.18 EDT

Shares3,875

The Chinese reefer ship Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 was intercepted inside the Galápagos marine reserve in 2017. It contained about 300 tonnes of mostly sharks, including protected species such as hammerhead and whale shark.
 The Chinese reefer ship Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 was intercepted in the Galápagos marine reserve in 2017 with about 300 tonnes of mostly sharks, including protected species. Photograph: Archivo Parque Nacional Galápagos

Jonathan Green had been tracking a whale shark named Hope across the eastern Pacific for 280 days when the satellite transmissions from a GPS tag on her dorsal fin abruptly stopped.

It was not unusual for the GPS signal to go silent, even for weeks at a time, said Green, a scientist who has been studying the world’s largest fish for three decades in the unique marine ecosystem around the Galápagos Islands.

Alarm over discovery of hundreds of Chinese fishing vessels near Galápagos Islands

 Read more

But then he looked at satellite images in the area where Hope was last tracked – more than a thousand nautical miles west of the islands – and noticed the ocean was being patrolled by hundreds of Chinese fishing boats.

“I began to look into it and found that at the very end of her track she began to speed up,” said Green, co-founder and director of the Galápagos Whale Shark Project.

“It went from one knot to six or seven knots for the last 32 minutes – which is, of course, the speed of a fishing boat,” he said.

The fishing vessels that Green saw on the satellite images are believed to belong to an enormous Chinese-flagged fleet which Ecuadorian authorities last week warned was just outside the Galápagos Islands’ territorial waters.

“I don’t have proof but my hypothesis is that she was caught by vessels from the same fleet which is now situated to the south of the islands,” Green told the Guardian. She is the third GPS-tracked whale shark to have gone missing in the last decade, he added.

The Chinese fleet, numbering more than 200 vessels, is in international waters just outside a maritime border around the Galápagos Islands and also Ecuador’s coastal waters, said Norman Wray, the islands’ governor.

‘The Galápagos Marine Reserve is a place of very great productivity, high biomass but also biodiversity.’
 A female whale shark in the Galápagos archipelago. ‘The Galápagos Marine Reserve is a place of very great productivity, high biomass but also biodiversity.’ Photograph: Simon J Pierce

Advertisementhttps://14f0d057a0fb5668fabe1a9b748ad093.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Chinese fishing vessels come every year to the seas around the Galápagos, which were declared a Unesco world heritage site in 1978, but this year’s fleet is one of the largest seen in recent years. Of the 248 vessels, 243 are flagged to China including to companies with suspected records of illegal, unreported and unregulated, or IUU, fishing, according to research by C4ADS, a data analysis NGO.

The fleet includes fishing boats and refrigerated container – or reefer – ships to store enormous catches.

Transferring cargo between vessels is prohibited under international maritime law yet the Chinese flotilla has supply and storage ships along with longline and squid fishing boats.

“There are some fleets which don’t seem to abide by any regulations,” said Wray.

One captain of an Ecuadorian tuna boat saw the Chinese fishing boats up close in early July, before the end of the tuna season.

“They just pull up everything!” said the captain, who asked not to be named. “We are obliged to take a biologist aboard who checks our haul; if we catch a shark we have to put it back, but who controls them?”

He recalled navigating through the fleet at night, constantly changing course to avoid boats, as their lights illuminated the sea to attract squid to the surface.

“It was like looking at a city at night,” he said.https://interactive.guim.co.uk/uploader/embed/2020/08/galapagos_islands_map/giv-3902PwADw3d4ii3F/

The longline fishing boats had up to 500 lines, each with thousands of fishhooks, he estimated, and claimed that some of the vessels would turn off their automatic tracking systems to avoid detection, particularly when operating in protected areas.

Chinese fishing practices first caught the attention of Ecuador in 2017 when its navy seized the Chinese reefer Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 within the Galápagos marine reserve. Inside its containers were 6,000 frozen sharks – including the endangered hammerhead shark and whale shark.

“It was a slaughterhouse,” said Green, describing the images of the cargo hold. “This kind of slaughter is going on on a massive scale in international waters and nobody is witnessing it.”

The seizure prompted protests outside the Chinese embassy in Quito; Ecuador fined the vessel $6m and the 20 Chinese crew-members were later jailed for up to four years for illegal fishing.

The arrival of the latest fleet has also stirred public outrage and a formal complaint by Ecuador as its navy is on alert for any incursion into Ecuadorian waters.

The Chinese embassy in Quito said that China was a “responsible fishing nation” with a “zero-tolerance” attitude towards illegal fishing. It had confirmed with Ecuador’s navy that all the Chinese fishing vessels were operating legally “and don’t represent a threat to anyone”, it said in a statement last month. On Thursday China announced a three-month fishing ban in the high seas west of the marine reserve, but it will not come into force until September.

Roque Sevilla, a former mayor of Quito, who is leading a team in charge of designing a “protection strategy” for the islands, said the fleet practices “indiscriminate fishing – regardless of species or age – which is causing a serious deterioration of the quality of fauna that we will have in our seas”.

Ecuador would establish a corridor of marine reserves with Pacific-facing neighbours Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia to seal off important areas of marine diversity, Sevilla told the Guardian.

Shark finning: why the ocean’s most barbaric practice continues to boom

 Read more

Protecting the Cocos Ridge, an underwater mountain range which connects the Galápagos Islands to mainland Costa Rica, and the Carnegie Ridge which links the archipelago to Ecuador and continental South America, could close off more than 200,000 sq nautical miles of ocean otherwise vulnerable to industrial fishing, he said.

He added Ecuador had called for a diplomatic meeting with Chile, Peru, Colombia and Panama to present a formal protest against China.Advertisementhttps://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

“When the Galápagos’s protected area was first created it was cutting edge,” said Matt Rand, director of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy, “but compared to other newer marine protected areas Galápagos is now potentially lacking in size to protect the biodiversity.”

Milton Castillo, the Galápagos Islands’ representative for Ecuador’s human rights ombudsman’s office, said he had asked the prosecutor’s office to inspect the cargo holds of the Chinese ships based on the legal principle of the universal and extraterritorial protection of endangered species.

China’s distant-water fishing fleet is the biggest in the world, with nearly 17,000 vessels – 1,000 of which use “flags of convenience” and are registered in other countries, according to research by the Overseas Development Institute.https://www.youtube.com/embed/Uu5ka0lMZTo?embed_config=%7B%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%5D%2C%22adsConfig%22%3A%7B%22adTagParameters%22%3A%7B%22iu%22%3A%22%2F59666047%2Ftheguardian.com%2Fenvironment%2Farticle%2Fng%22%2C%22cust_params%22%3A%22sens%253Df%2526permutive%253D23527%252C24632%252C24663%252C24665%252C24670%252C24655%252C24668%252C26748%252C27872%252C28985%252C24672%252C30130%252C31470%252C24691%252C24675%252C24693%252C33392%252C27631%252C27638%252C29800%252C33143%252C24659%252C24645%252C24630%252C28165%252C24628%252C24641%252C24667%252C24674%252C24689%252C30377%252C27564%252C24606%252C24661%252C25367%252C26822%252C25471%252C26749%252C37344%252C37434%252C43272%2526pv%253Dkdjeomwyvw417kzfu7lw%2526bp%253Ddesktop%2526si%253Df%2526ab%253DSignInGateMainVariant-main-variant-1%252CdotcomRenderingControl-control%252ColdTlsSupportDeprecationControl-control%2526fr%253D10-15%2526cc%253DUS%2526s%253Denvironment%2526rp%253Ddotcom-platform%2526dcre%253Df%2526inskin%253Df%2526urlkw%253Dchinese%252Cfleet%252Cfishing%252Cgalapagos%252Cislands%252Cenvironment%2526rdp%253Df%2526consent_tcfv2%253Dna%2526cmp_interaction%253Dna%2526se%253Dseascape-the-state-of-our-oceans%2526ct%253Darticle%2526co%253Ddan-collyns%2526url%253D%25252Fenvironment%25252F2020%25252Faug%25252F06%25252Fchinese-fleet-fishing-galapagos-islands-environment%2526br%253Df%2526su%253D2%252C3%252C4%252C5%2526edition%253Dus%2526tn%253Dfeatures%2526p%253Dng%2526k%253Dasia-pacific%252Cworld%252Cecuador%252Cchina%252Cfish%252Cenvironment%252Camericas%252Cgalapagos-islands%2526sh%253Dhttps%25253A%25252F%25252Fgu.com%25252Fp%25252Feehna%2526pa%253Dt%22%7D%7D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com&widgetid=1Play Video0:51 Footage shows Chinese fleet vessels transferring cargo in seas near Galápagos – video

The fleet often fishes in the territorial waters of low-income countries, the report said, having depleted fish stocks in domestic waters.

Green said the “explosion of life” created by the confluence of cold and warm ocean currents around the Galápagos Islands is exactly why the Chinese armada is hovering around the archipelago’s waters.

“The Galápagos marine reserve is a place of very great productivity, high biomass but also biodiversity,” he said. The longline fishing technique used by the fleet catch big fish like tuna, but also sharks, rays, turtles and marine mammals like sea lions and dolphins, he added.

“This is not fishing any more, it is simply destroying the resources of our oceans,” Green said. “We should ask whether any nation on this planet has the right to destroy what is common ground.”

China bans squid catch in some overseas waters with overfishing in spotlight

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3096038/china-bans-squid-catch-some-overseas-waters-overfishing?fbclid=IwAR3BCjJVHCxH_sdXtV8UV7aAvnBuXzTxfFcOLeaduFt7YWpNki2bvYsrha0

China / Diplomacy

China bans squid catch in some overseas waters with overfishing in spotlight

  • Three-month halt in designated areas to protect populations of squid, with Chinese boats accounting for up to 70 per cent of the global catch
  • Ban follows backlash against the country’s fishers, accused of violating sovereign rights of coastal states and damaging ecosystems
Linda Lew
Laura Zhou

Linda Lew and Laura Zhou in Beijing

Published: 7:00am, 5 Aug, 2020Why you can trust SCMP

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Chinese fishing vessels have been involved in several confrontations in other countries’ waters. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese fishing vessels have been involved in several confrontations in other countries’ waters. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese fishing vessels have been involved in several confrontations in other countries’ waters. Photo: XinhuaChina has said its fishing fleet, the world’s biggest, has been banned from catching squid in parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans for three months to help populations recover. It comes as environmental groups and some nations say the country’s fleet is threatening to wipe out some fish populations.

The moratorium, effective from July, bans all Chinese fishing boats from operating in the designated areas, which are spawning grounds for squid – the main catch of the country’s vessels in international waters, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

“The first fishing ban in international waters … shows that China is willingly and proactively collaborating with relevant coastal countries and international organisations in setting up recommendations and measures to protect the marine resources in international seas,” said Liu Yadan, the deputy secretary of the China Agricultural Association for International Exchange.

The ban comes as China faces a backlash over its fishing fleets, most recently for hundreds of vessels that converged around marine sanctuaries off Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador said it registered a complaint about the fleet and informed China’s authorities that Ecuador would defend its maritime rights.

China’s bans on fishing in waters off South America. Map: SCMP

China’s bans on fishing in waters off South America. Map: SCMP

Chinese fishing vessels have also been in confrontations near Africa and the Korean peninsula.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.400.1_en.html#goog_236008454

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement that noted the vessels near the Galapagos, and criticised Chinese fishing fleets for violating sovereign rights of coastal states and damaging ecosystems.

“Given this unfortunate record of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, rule-breaking and wilful environmental degradation, it is more important than ever that the international community stands together for the rule of law and insists on better environmental stewardship from Beijing,” Pompeo said in the statement.SCMP GLOBAL IMPACT NEWSLETTERUncover the most important stories from China that affect the worldSIGN UPBy registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy

China reels in as much as 70 per cent of the global squid catch. The country has over 600 squid vessels, which hauled in more than 520,000 tonnes in 2018, according to statistics from China’s Academy of Ocean.

Argentine coast guard opens fire on Chinese fishing boat
Argentine coast guard opens fire on Chinese fishing boat

01:41

Argentine coast guard opens fire on Chinese fishing boat

Argentine coast guard opens fire on Chinese fishing boatAreas covered by the moratorium are the two most important international squid fishing grounds for China’s fleet. The one in the South Atlantic near Argentina has almost 200 Chinese vessels operating there, while the banned zone in the Pacific is near Ecuador, according to a report by China Newsweek magazine.

The agricultural ministry said all Chinese vessels had now left the South Atlantic area where the ban has been imposed. The majority shifted to the Pacific or other international waters, according to the report.

China will also work on protective measures for other species such as tuna and Pacific saury, Liu at the Agricultural Association said in a July 22 article she wrote for the China Fisheries Association.The country has had annual fishing bans in its surrounding waters and claimed territories in the South China Sea since the 1990s, but this was the first time a ban was imposed on Chinese fleets in international waters, according to the agricultural ministry.https://www.youtube.com/embed/-TECC1o0J5k?rel=0&mute=1&playsinline=1&frameborder=0&autoplay=0&embed_config=%7B%22relatedChannels%22%3A%5B%22UC4SUWizzKc1tptprBkWjX2Q%22%5D%2C%22adsConfig%22%3A%7B%22adTagParameters%22%3A%7B%22iu%22%3A%22%2F8134%2Fscmp%2Fweb%2Fchina_diplomacydefence%2Farticle%2Finstream1%22%2C%22cust_params%22%3A%7B%22paid%22%3A1%2C%22scnid%22%3A%223096038%22%2C%22sctid%22%3A%22325298%22%2C%22scsid%22%3A%5B%2291%22%2C%224%22%2C%22318199%22%5D%2C%22articletype%22%3A%22DEFAULT%22%7D%7D%2C%22nonPersonalizedAd%22%3Atrue%7D%7D&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.scmp.com&widgetid=2Body of Indonesian fisherman dumped overboard amid allegations of abuse on Chinese ship

Body of Indonesian fisherman dumped overboard amid allegations of abuse on Chinese shipChina has also been trying to rein in illegal fishing. In its 13th five-year plan covering 2016 to 2020, language about illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing was added to its new distant water fishing regulations for the first time.

The fisheries law that came into effect in March increased monitoring, control and surveillance, and stricter penalties for violations, including the creation of an IUU blacklist.

Tabitha Mallory, an affiliate professor with the University of Washington, said these could be seen as “positive first steps”.

“The Chinese government does not want to see its fishing fleet engage in activities that are harmful to other countries or to the environment. China cares about its reputation on this front, which is what is motivating the steps toward better management,” said Mallory, who researches China and global ocean governance.

Historic fishing community in Ghana demolished for new harbour project funded by China
Historic fishing community in Ghana demolished for new harbour project funded by China

01:52

Historic fishing community in Ghana demolished for new harbour project funded by China

Historic fishing community in Ghana demolished for new harbour project funded by China

In addition to criticism from Ecuador, Chinese vessels have also been in clashes with Argentine authorities.

The Chinese trawler Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010 was sunk by Argentine coastguards in 2016, but disputes involving Chinese vessels have continued in the region. Earlier this year, the Argentine navy reported two Chinese vessels for illegal fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zone after pursuing the ships, according to digital magazine Dialogo.

Pan Wenjing, forest and oceans manager for Greenpeace East Asia, said incidents in Argentina’s waters could be one of the reasons that Beijing pushed for a voluntary ban on squid fishing.

“The southwest Atlantic is a major fishing ground for squid and thousand of boats operate in that area every year, including some of the large trawlers from China, which from time to time would cross maritime borders and cause conflicts in the region,” Pan said.

Chinese fleets accused of fishing illegally in North Korean waters23 Jul 2020

“That is also one of the reasons why China announced regulations on squid fishing in the high seas.”

Although the fishing ban is a good step, more is needed to promote marine conservation, said Wang Songlin, the founder of Qingdao Marine Conservation Society.

“The fishing ban is not a cure-all,” Wang said. “If after the ban, operation resumes and the amount fished is greater than the capacity of the ecosystem, then the conservation effects from the several months of the fishing moratorium would be cancelled out by the overfishing.”

Other measures were needed, he said, such as reducing the total number of fishing vessels, banning trawler nets that scoop up all surrounding marine life instead of just target species, and setting up marine protection zones.

China imposes a 10-year fishing ban for Yangtze River to protect marine biodiversity
China imposes a 10-year fishing ban for Yangtze River to protect marine biodiversity

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China imposes a 10-year fishing ban for Yangtze River to protect marine biodiversity

China imposes a 10-year fishing ban for Yangtze River to protect marine biodiversity

There are also humanitarian concerns relating to China’s fishing industry.

Conservation group Global Fishing Watch found that North Korean fishers have been displaced, as Chinese vessels operating in North Korean waters have hauled in massive amounts of squid, which was North Korea’s third largest export until it was blocked by US sanctions, imposed because of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

A report by the group published in July, using analysis of tracking data and satellite imagery, estimated more than 900 China fishing vessels trawled for squid in the sea between North Korea and Russia in 2017, and over 700 in 2018.

These ships, which can include legally operated ships and illegal ones, were estimated to have hauled in 101,300 tonnes of squid worth US$275 million in 2017 and 62,800 tonnes of squid worth US$171 million in 2018. This was roughly equal to what Japan and South Korea combined would catch from all their surrounding seas, the report said.

Vietnam airs video of Chinese ship sinking fishing boat in South China Sea16 Jun 2014

Nothing like this had been seen before, according to Jaeyoon Park, senior data scientist at Global Fishing Watch. “It’s a really enormous group of vessels,” Park said.

“The presence of this foreign fleet also has severe consequences for North Korean small-scale fishermen, who can’t compete,” the report said. Those smaller vessels often went further out to sea and met tragedy, as seen in a phenomenon known as “ghost boats”.

Between 2014 and 2018, 505 North Korean “ghost boats” washed ashore on Japanese coasts, some of them containing human remains of fishers who had died from starvation as they were driven further afield to find fish, using boats not equipped for deepwater travel, according to the report.

“It’s not simply about conservation and protection of the environment,” Park said. “It represents a serious humanitarian problem.”Purchase the 120+ page China Internet Report 2020 Pro Edition, brought to you by SCMP Research, and enjoy a 30% discount (original price US$400). The report includes deep-dive analysis, trends, and case studies on the 10 most important internet sectors. Now in its 3rd year, this go-to source for understanding China tech also comes with exclusive access to 6+ webinars with C-level executives, including Charles Li, CEO of HKEX, James Peng, CEO/founder of Pony.ai, and senior executives from Alibaba, Huawei, Kuaishou, Pinduoduo, and more. Offer valid until 31 August 2020. To purchase, please click here.

Giant Chinese paddlefish declared extinct after surviving 150 million years

Beijing — Scientists say a giant fish species that managed to survive at least 150 million years has been completely wiped out by human activity. Research published in the Science of The Total Environment this week says the giant Chinese paddlefish, also known as the Chinese swordfish, is officially extinct.

The monster fish, one of the largest freshwater species in the world with lengths up to 23 feet, was once common in China’s Yangtze River. Due to its speed it was commonly referred to in China as the “water tiger.”

giant-chinese-paddlefish.jpg
A model of a giant Chinese paddlefish is seen on display in Chongqing, China.CCTV/REUTERS

Study leader Qiwei Wei of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences called it “a reprehensible and an irreparable loss.”

Zeb Hogan, a fish expert at the University of Nevada, Reno, told National Geographic that it was “very sad” to see the “definitive loss of a very unique and extraordinary animal, with no hope of recovery.”

According to the researchers, no giant paddlefish have been sighted in the Yangtze since 2003, and there are none in captivity. They estimate that the last of the fish likely died between 2005 and 2010.

paddlefish-china-graphic.jpg
A graphic provided by the Science of The Total Environment report in January 2020 shows a timeline depicting the depletion of the giant Chinese paddlefish species in the Yangtze River.SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT

The species had been deemed “functionally extinct,” or unable to reproduce enough to maintain itself, since 1993.

The main causes of the ancient species’ demise have been listed as over-fishing and the construction of a major dam in 1981 that split the Yangtze, and the Chinese paddlefish population along with it, in two.

The 3,900 mile Yangtze River ecosystem has seen half of the 175 species unique to its waters go extinct, according to Chinese media.

Two other species native to the river have also been declared functionally extinct: the reeves shad and the Yangtze dolphin.

Last week China announced a 10-year fishing ban on some areas of the Yangtze in a bid to protect its beleaguered biodiversity.

B.C. First Nation feeds hungry grizzlies 500 salmon carcasses

‘I’m hoping it’s not too little too late,’ says Mamalilikulla First Nation chief councillor

The Mamalilikulla First Nation delivered salmon to grizzly bears in their traditional territories where they are known to feed. (File pictures/Canadian Press)

When Richard Sumner saw how emaciated the grizzly bears were in his neck of the woods, he knew something had to be done.

Sumner, chief councillor of the Mamalilikulla First Nation, says the creeks and streams on the nation’s territory, which  encompass the islands off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island between Alert Bay and Knight Inlet, are no longer rich with salmon, and resident bears are starving and travelling outside traditional hunting grounds in a desperate effort to find food.

So the Mamalilikulla people fed them.

The nation’s Guardian Watchmen Manager, Jake Smith, had a local hatchery donate approximately 500 salmon carcasses and members of the nation took the fish to estuary areas where grizzlies are known to feed.

“I’m hoping it’s not too little too late,” said Sumner in a phone interview on CBC’s On The Island, adding there are many other areas of British Columbia where bears that depend on salmon are hungry.

Migrating for meals

He said grizzlies are starting to travel between all the small islands in the area and are even making their way over to Vancouver Island in search of fish, something that rarely happened in the past.

“The lack of salmon is not a natural thing,” said Sumner, who blamed human activity such as deforestation and over-fishing for reducing salmon stocks to perilous levels.

Climate change resulting in warmer ocean temperatures has also been cited by marine scientists as a major factor in dwindling salmon stocks.

Sumner said while he understands humans should not interfere with wild animals, the Mamalilikulla people are the stewards of their territory and according to Sumner, the alternative was to watch the bears die.

“We just hope we can get enough bulk on them to last the winter,” said Sumner.

Some of the 400 members of the Mamalilikulla nation are suffering too.

“Nobody has any fish in their freezer or any canned fish for the winter,” he said. “It’s been a real disastrous year.”

Sumner does not know if more fish will be available for future deliveries.

Sumner said he is meeting Thursday with a bear biologist and provincial authorities to discuss the issue further.

To hear the complete interview with Richard Sumner, see the audio link below:

Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace

Fishing nets and ropes are a frequent hazard for olive ridley sea turtles, seen on a beach in India’s Kerala state in January. A new 1,500-page report by the United Nations is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe.CreditSoren Andersson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
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Fishing nets and ropes are a frequent hazard for olive ridley sea turtles, seen on a beach in India’s Kerala state in January. A new 1,500-page report by the United Nations is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe.CreditCreditSoren Andersson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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WASHINGTON — Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.

The 1,500-page report, compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies, is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that creates for human civilization. A summary of its findings, which was approved by representatives from the United States and 131 other countries, was released Monday in Paris. The full report is set to be published this year.

Its conclusions are stark. In most major land habitats, from the savannas of Africa to the rain forests of South America, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century. With the human population passing 7 billion, activities like farming, logging, poaching, fishing and mining are altering the natural world at a rate “unprecedented in human history.”

At the same time, a new threat has emerged: Global warming has become a major driver of wildlife decline, the assessment found, by shifting or shrinking the local climates that many mammals, birds, insects, fish and plants evolved to survive in.

Cattle grazing on a tract of illegally cleared Amazon forest in Pará State, Brazil. In most major land habitats, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century.CreditLalo de Almeida for The New York Times
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Cattle grazing on a tract of illegally cleared Amazon forest in Pará State, Brazil. In most major land habitats, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century.CreditLalo de Almeida for The New York Times

The report is not the first to paint a grim portrait of Earth’s ecosystems. But it goes further by detailing how closely human well-being is intertwined with the fate of other species.

“For a long time, people just thought of biodiversity as saving nature for its own sake,” said Robert Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services,which conducted the assessment at the request of national governments. “But this report makes clear the links between biodiversity and nature and things like food security and clean water in both rich and poor countries.“

A previous report by the group had estimated that, in the Americas, nature provides some $24 trillion of non-monetized benefits to humans each year. The Amazon rain forest absorbs immense quantities of carbon dioxide and helps slow the pace of global warming. Wetlands purify drinking water. Coral reefs sustain tourism and fisheries in the Caribbean. Exotic tropical plants form the basis of a variety of medicines.

But as these natural landscapes wither and become less biologically rich, the services they can provide to humans have been dwindling.

Humans are producing more food than ever, but land degradation is already harming agricultural productivity on 23 percent of the planet’s land area, the new report said. The decline of wild bees and other insects that help pollinate fruits and vegetables is putting up to $577 billion in annual crop production at risk. The loss of mangrove forests and coral reefs along coasts could expose up to 300 million people to increased risk of flooding.

The authors note that the devastation of nature has become so severe that piecemeal efforts to protect individual species or to set up wildlife refuges will no longer be sufficient. Instead, they call for “transformative changes” that include curbing wasteful consumption, slimming down agriculture’s environmental footprint and cracking down on illegal logging and fishing.

“It’s no longer enough to focus just on environmental policy,” said Sandra M. Díaz, a lead author of the study and an ecologist at the National University of Córdoba in Argentina. “We need to build biodiversity considerations into trade and infrastructure decisions, the way that health or human rights are built into every aspect of social and economic decision-making.”

Scientists have cataloged only a fraction of living creatures, some 1.3 million; the report estimates there may be as many as 8 million plant and animal species on the planet, most of them insects. Since 1500, at least 680 species have blinked out of existence, including the Pinta giant tortoise of the Galápagos Islands and the Guam flying fox.

Though outside experts cautioned it could be difficult to make precise forecasts, the report warns of a looming extinction crisis, with extinction rates currently tens to hundreds of times higher than they have been in the past 10 million years.

“Human actions threaten more species with global extinction now than ever before,” the report concludes, estimating that “around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken.”

Unless nations step up their efforts to protect what natural habitats are left, they could witness the disappearance of 40 percent of amphibian species, one-third of marine mammals and one-third of reef-forming corals. More than 500,000 land species, the report said, do not have enough natural habitat left to ensure their long-term survival.

Over the past 50 years, global biodiversity loss has primarily been driven by activities like the clearing of forests for farmland, the expansion of roads and cities, logging, hunting, overfishing, water pollution and the transport of invasive species around the globe.

In Indonesia, the replacement of rain forest with palm oil plantations has ravaged the habitat of critically endangered orangutans and Sumatran tigers. In Mozambique, ivory poachers helped kill off nearly 7,000 elephants between 2009 and 2011 alone. In Argentina and Chile, the introduction of the North American beaver in the 1940s has devastated native trees (though it has also helped other species thrive, including the Magellanic woodpecker).

All told, three-quarters of the world’s land area has been significantly altered by people, the report found, and 85 percent of the world’s wetlands have vanished since the 18th century.

And with humans continuing to burn fossil fuels for energy, global warming is expected to compound the damage. Roughly 5 percent of species worldwide are threatened with climate-related extinction if global average temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, the report concluded. (The world has already warmed 1 degree.)

“If climate change were the only problem we were facing, a lot of species could probably move and adapt,” Richard Pearson, an ecologist at the University College of London, said. “But when populations are already small and losing genetic diversity, when natural landscapes are already fragmented, when plants and animals can’t move to find newly suitable habitats, then we have a real threat on our hands.”

Volunteers collected trash in March in a mangrove forest in Brazil. The loss of mangrove forests and coral reefs along coasts could expose up to 300 million people to increased risk of flooding.CreditAmanda Perobelli/Reuters
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Volunteers collected trash in March in a mangrove forest in Brazil. The loss of mangrove forests and coral reefs along coasts could expose up to 300 million people to increased risk of flooding.CreditAmanda Perobelli/Reuters

Today, humans are relying on significantly fewer varieties of plants and animals to produce food. Of the 6,190 domesticated mammal breeds used in agriculture, more than 559 have gone extinct and 1,000 more are threatened. That means the food system is becoming less resilient against pests and diseases. And it could become harder in the future to breed new, hardier crops and livestock to cope with the extreme heat and drought that climate change will bring.

“Most of nature’s contributions are not fully replaceable,” the report said. Biodiversity loss “can permanently reduce future options, such as wild species that might be domesticated as new crops and be used for genetic improvement.”

The report does contain glimmers of hope. When governments have acted forcefully to protect threatened species, such as the Arabian oryx or the Seychelles magpie robin, they have managed to fend off extinction in many cases. And nations have protected more than 15 percent of the world’s land and 7 percent of its oceans by setting up nature reserves and wilderness areas.

Still, only a fraction of the most important areas for biodiversity have been protected, and many nature reserves poorly enforce prohibitions against poaching, logging or illegal fishing. Climate change could also undermine existing wildlife refuges by shifting the geographic ranges of species that currently live within them.

So, in addition to advocating the expansion of protected areas, the authors outline a vast array of changes aimed at limiting the drivers of biodiversity loss.

Farmers and ranchers would have to adopt new techniques to grow more food on less land. Consumers in wealthy countries would have to waste less food and become more efficient in their use of natural resources. Governments around the world would have to strengthen and enforce environmental laws, cracking down on illegal logging and fishing and reducing the flow of heavy metals and untreated wastewater into the environment.

The authors also note that efforts to limit global warming will be critical, although they caution that the development of biofuels to reduce emissions could end up harming biodiversity by further destroying forests.

An elephant in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy at the foot of Mount Kenya, outside Nairobi. More than 500,000 land species do not have enough natural habitat left to ensure their long-term survival.CreditTony Karumba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
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An elephant in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy at the foot of Mount Kenya, outside Nairobi. More than 500,000 land species do not have enough natural habitat left to ensure their long-term survival.CreditTony Karumba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

None of this will be easy, especially since many developing countries face pressure to exploit their natural resources as they try to lift themselves out of poverty.

But, by detailing the benefits that nature can provide to people, and by trying to quantify what is lost when biodiversity plummets, the scientists behind the assessment are hoping to help governments strike a more careful balance between economic development and conservation.

“You can’t just tell leaders in Africa that there can’t be any development and that we should turn the whole continent into a national park,” said Emma Archer, who led the group’s earlier assessment of biodiversity in Africa. “But we can show that there are trade-offs, that if you don’t take into account the value that nature provides, then ultimately human well-being will be compromised.”

In the next two years, diplomats from around the world will gather for several meetings under the Convention on Biological Diversity, a global treaty, to discuss how they can step up their efforts at conservation. Yet even in the new report’s most optimistic scenario, through 2050 the world’s nations would only slow the decline of biodiversity — not stop it.

“At this point,” said Jake Rice, a fisheries scientist who led an earlier report on biodiversity in the Americas, “our options are all about damage control.”

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.

Brad Plumer is a reporter covering climate change, energy policy and other environmental issues for The Times’s climate team. @bradplumer

Salt-Water Fish Extinction Seen By 2048

The apocalypse has a new date: 2048.That’s when the world’s oceans will be empty of fish, predicts an international team of ecologists and economists. The cause: the disappearance of species due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change.

The study by Boris Worm, PhD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, — with colleagues in the U.K., U.S., Sweden, and Panama — was an effort to understand what this loss of ocean species might mean to the world.

The researchers analyzed several different kinds of data. Even to these ecology-minded scientists, the results were an unpleasant surprise.

“I was shocked and disturbed by how consistent these trends are — beyond anything we suspected,” Worm says in a news release.

“This isn’t predicted to happen. This is happening now,” study researcher Nicola Beaumont, PhD, of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, U.K., says in a news release.

“If biodiversity continues to decline, the marine environment will not be able to sustain our way of life. Indeed, it may not be able to sustain our lives at all,” Beaumont adds.

Already, 29% of edible fish and seafood species have declined by 90% — a drop that means the collapse of these fisheries.

But the issue isn’t just having seafood on our plates. Ocean species filter toxins from the water. They protect shorelines. And they reduce the risks of algae blooms such as the red tide.

“A large and increasing proportion of our population lives close to the coast; thus the loss of services such as flood control and waste detoxification can have disastrous consequences,” Worm and colleagues say.

The researchers analyzed data from 32 experiments on different marine environments.

They then analyzed the 1,000-year history of 12 coastal regions around the world, including San Francisco and Chesapeake bays in the U.S., and the Adriatic, Baltic, and North seas in Europe.

Next, they analyzed fishery data from 64 large marine ecosystems.

And finally, they looked at the recovery of 48 protected ocean areas.

Their bottom line: Everything that lives in the ocean is important. The diversity of ocean life is the key to its survival. The areas of the ocean with the most different kinds of life are the healthiest.

But the loss of species isn’t gradual. It’s happening fast — and getting faster, the researchers say.

Worm and colleagues call for sustainable fisheries management, pollution control, habitat maintenance, and the creation of more ocean reserves.

This, they say, isn’t a cost; it’s an investment that will pay off in lower insurance costs, a sustainable fish industry, fewer natural disasters, human health, and more.

“It’s not too late. We can turn this around,” Worm says. “But less than 1% of the global ocean is effectively protected right now.”

Worm and colleagues report their findings in the Nov. 3 issue of Science.


SOURCES: Worm, B. Science, Nov. 3, 2006; vol 314: pp 787-790. News release, SeaWeb. News release, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/salt-water-fish-extinction-seen-by-2048/?fbclid=IwAR07lyVZ4WYeyb3Tx7_zGVtW-jzp5IUO2DGa5f7j-yJiJL4o7mqsO6UEeuA

Message about penguins from Avaaz.org

Sign the petition

Only 2 baby penguins from a colony of 40,000 survived in Antarctica last year! And scientists say the whole ecosystem could collapse unless we protect it from massive fishing fleets and climate destruction. Countries are about to vote to create a HUGE sanctuary. European leaders want it, but to get them to drive it home we’ve got to show it is a massive public priority.Join now — let’s get a million voices, opinion polls and media ads before the vote.

Dear friends,

18,000 beautiful baby penguins hatched in an Antarctic colony last winter. But just two survived!

The rest starved — and industrial-scale fishing and climate change threaten to wipe out countless other polar species. Scientists say the only way to save Antarctica’s ocean is by urgently protecting it — and if just two more governments give their backing, we can create a massive network of ocean sanctuaries there.

The vote is coming up, and European leaders can bring the blockers on board — if we quickly show massive public support, we can make sure they step up.Let’s make this huge, then run opinion polls, take out media ads, and deliver our voices directly to President Macron and the EU, calling on them to save this penguin paradise, before it’s too late.

Save Antarctica’s ocean wilderness — Sign now!

In 2016, millions of us helped rally public pressure to create the first Antarctic Ocean sanctuary, in the Ross Sea. It is the largest marine protected area on the planet. But it represents only a small portion of the fragile ocean that surrounds Antarctica.

The wildlife there is already struggling because of climate change — and industrial fishing fleets could push this fragile ecosystem over the edge. At least three more sanctuaries are needed to keep this precious wilderness safe. And they could be created if we make sure EU leaders feel this is a public priority.

Whether we win another marine sanctuary there comes down to a single decision. Russia and China are the two main blockers — but experts say that French President Macron and the EU Commission can win them over. Let’s inspire them to action by raising a million beautiful voices to save this polar paradise — join now and share this everywhere.

Save Antarctica’s ocean wilderness — Sign now!

Avaaz means voice in many languages and speaking up for our fragile planet is one of the things we do best. We have helped secure massive marine reserves all around the world — but this time, it’s not just one more sanctuary — we’re going for the entire Antarctic network and this petition will keep building until it is fully established.

With hope and determination,

Lisa, Pascal, Bert, Christoph, Mike, Nataliya and the whole Avaaz team

MORE INFORMATION:

Penguins starving to death is a sign that something’s very wrong in the Antarctic (The Guardian)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/13/penguins-starving-death-something-very-wrong-antarctic

#ANTARCTICA2020 – A vision for the future (ASOC)
https://www.asoc.org/explore/latest-news/1751-antarctica2020-a-vision-for-the-future

So long, King Penguins: Scientists warn climate change may leave these birds “screwed” (Mashable)
https://mashable.com/2018/02/26/king-penguin-populations-decline-as-oceans-warm/#EPboQjyNimqG

Decline in krill threatens Antarctic wildlife, from whales to penguins (The Guardian)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/14/decline-in-krill-threatens-antarctic-wildlife-from-whales-to-penguins

Plans rejected for East Antarctic marine park (Nature)
https://www.nature.com/news/plans-rejected-for-east-antarctic-marine-park-1.22913

EU and China agree ocean partnership – China’s position may be softening (China Dialogue)
https://chinadialogueocean.net/3925-can-the-eu-and-china-work-together-in-antarctica/

Why remote Antarctica is so important in a warming world (The Conversation)
https://theconversation.com/why-remote-antarctica-is-so-important-in-a-warming-world-88197

Penguins starving to death is a sign that something’s very wrong in the Antarctic

Overfishing, oil drilling, pollution and climate change are imperilling the ecosystem. But ocean sanctuaries could help protect what belongs to us all
 Landmark agreement will create world’s largest marine park in Antarctica

The awful news that all but two penguin chicks have starved to death out of a colony of almost 40,000 birds is a grim illustration of the enormous pressure Antarctic wildlife is under. The causes of this devastating event are complex, from a changing climate to local sea-ice factors, but one thing penguins, whales and other marine life don’t need is additional strain on food supplies.

Over the next year we have the opportunity to create an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary – the largest protected area on Earth – which would put the waters off-limits to the industrial fishing vessels currently sucking up the tiny shrimp-like krill, on which all Antarctic life relies.

In 1990, the Voyager 1 space probe looked back at Earth from six billion kilometres away and took a historic selfie of our solar system. What it saw, according to renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan, was a “pale blue dot”.

“Our planet is a blue planet,” echoed David Attenborough, in his opening words to the BBC’s landmark Blue Planet series. With over 70% of our world covered by water, this is no exaggeration. Our oceans can be seen from across the solar system.

The majority of this water falls outside of national borders. In fact, almost half of our planet is a marine natural wonder outside the boundaries of flags, languages and national divisions. These vast areas cover 230 million square kilometres, and they belong to us all. To give a sense of scale, that’s the size of every single continent combined, with another Asia, Europe and Africa thrown in for good measure. The size of our oceans may seem overwhelming. Our collective responsibility to protect them, however, should not.

It wasn’t long ago that the oceans were thought to be too vast to be irrevocably impacted by human actions, but the effects of overfishing, oil drilling, deep sea mining, pollution and climate change have shown that humans are more than up to the task of imperilling the sea and the animals that live there.

humpback whale
Pinterest
 A humpback whale dives for krill in Wilhelmina Bay, off the Antarctic Peninsula. ‘The creeping expansion of industrial fishing is targeting the one species on which practically every animal in the Antarctic relies: krill.’ Photograph: Charles Littnam/WWF/EPA

All of us who live on this planet are the guardians of these environments, not only to protect the wildlife that lives in them, but because the health of our oceans sustains our planet and the livelihoods of billions of people.

Here’s the good news. The tide of history is turning. We on the blue planet are finally looking seriously at protecting the blue bits. Just a few months ago, in a stuffy room far from the sea, governments from around the world agreed to start a process to protect them: an ocean treaty.

This ocean treaty won’t be agreed until at least 2020, but in the meantime momentum is already building towards serious and binding ocean protection. Just last year a huge 1.5 million sq km area was protected in the Ross Sea in the Antarctic. In a turbulent political climate, it was a momentous demonstration of how international cooperation to protect our shared home can and does work.

Over the next two weeks, the governments responsible for the Antarctic are meeting to discuss the future of the continent and its waters. While limited proposals are on the table this year, when they reconvene in 12 months’ time they have a historic opportunity to create the largest ever protected area on Earth: an Antarctic Ocean sanctuary. Covering the Weddell Sea next to the Antarctic peninsula, it would be five times the size of Germany, the country proposing it.

The Antarctic is home to a great diversity of life: huge colonies of emperor and Adélie penguins, the incredible colossal squid with eyes the size of basketballs that allow it to see in the depths, and the largest animal on the planet, the blue whale, which has veins large enough for a person to swim down.

The creeping expansion of industrial fishing is targeting the one species on which practically every animal in the Antarctic relies: krill. These tiny shrimp-like creatures are crucial for the survival of penguins, whales, seals and other wildlife. With a changing climate already placing wildlife populations in the Antarctic under pressure, an expanding krill industry is bad news for the health of the Antarctic Ocean. Even worse, the krill industry and the governments that back it are blocking attempts at environmental protection in the Antarctic.

Ocean sanctuaries provide relief for wildlife and ecosystems to recover, but it’s not just about protecting majestic blue whales and penguin colonies. The benefits are global. Recovering fish populations spread around the globe and only now are scientists beginning to fully understand the role that healthy oceans play in soaking up carbon dioxide and helping us to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Sanctuaries encourage vital biodiversity, provide food security for the billions of people that rely on our oceans, and are essential to tackling climate change. Our fate and the fate of our oceans are intimately connected.

Creating the world’s largest ever protected area, in the Antarctic Ocean, would be a signal that corporate lobbying and national interests are no match for a unified global call for our political leaders to protect what belongs to us all. The movement to protect over half our planet begins now, and it begins in the Antarctic.

 John Sauven is director of Greenpeace

Sushi parasite that embeds in the stomach is on the rise, doctors warn

Eating raw fish can lead to anisakiasis, a disease caused by parasitic worms.

Sushi has a healthy reputation – it can be low fat and high in protein – but a new report serves as a stark reminder that sushi made with raw fish can carry a dangerous parasite. Doctors warn that it’s becoming a greater problem in Western countries as more people eat sushi, and they documented one recent case that serves as a cautionary tale.

The case of a previously healthy 32-year-old man from Lisbon, Portugal, is featured in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports this week. The man was suffering from a bout of stomach pain for more than a week, and experienced vomiting and a fever.

When doctors questioned him about his symptoms and history, he revealed that he had recently eaten sushi.

Doctors performed an endoscopy – a scope test that uses a tiny camera on the end of a long, flexible tube to view the upper digestive system – and discovered he had parasite larvae attached to the lining of his stomach wall.

The culprit: Anisakiasis, a disease caused by parasitic worms.

“It is caused by the consumption of contaminated raw or undercooked fish or seafood,” the authors wrote in their case study.

Photos published with their account of the case show a worm “firmly attached” inside the man’s stomach.

Surgeons used a special device, called a Roth net, to remove the parasite, and the man’s symptoms resolved.

Most cases of the parasite have previously occurred in Japan, but the disease has been increasingly recognized as a problem in the West, the authors wrote.

Patients can have other symptoms too, including nausea, digestive bleeding, bowel obstruction, inflammation of the abdomen and allergic symptoms including itching and anaphalaxis, a severe and life-threatening reaction, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Daniel Eiras, assistant professor of infectious diseases at NYU Langone Medical Center, told CBS News that it’s pretty rare to see cases in the U.S. He’s only seen one case about two years ago, in a 45-year-old man.

“He was having reflux and severe abdominal pain. They thought he had a mass in his belly, cancer in his small intestine, so they took out the mass and looked at it under the microscope and it was one of these worms,” said Eiras.

Cases of anisakiasis are probably widely underreported, though, he said, because primary care doctors and pharmacists, the first health care professionals an infected person might consult with, typically aren’t aware of or looking for this type of parasite.

“We don’t do endoscopies on every person with stomach complaints, so we don’t know. Presumably there are many people who get anisakiasis and it gets sloughed out of their digestive system. It doesn’t lay eggs or continuously infect the intestine,” Eiras said.

So, only cases where the parasite actually embeds in the stomach or intestine wall may actually come to light, he explained.

The parasite can crop up in raw or undercooked seafood such as cod, fluke, haddock and monk fish.

Dr. Donald Hensrud, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program and specialist in nutrition and preventive medicine, told CBS News that pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems, such as HIV patients or individuals taking biologic drugs, should avoid raw or undercooked fish and seafood. They can carry a risk for other illnesses, too.

Two years ago, a salmonella outbreak was linked to raw tuna.,” said Hensrud, the author of the Mayo Clinic Diet book.

Don’t eat raw fish at sketchy restaurants, either, Eiras recommended.

“I would not go to a restaurant with a ‘C’ rating in New York largely for this reason. It’s a big red flag when a sushi restaurant can’t maintain an ‘A’ rating, because one of the main things they get rated on is refrigeration. They’re not cooking the fish so that is the only prevention method, keeping it cold,” he said.

The same goes for eating ceviche — a dish made from raw fish and cured in lemon or lime juice — and poke, a Hawaiian raw fish salad that’s increasingly popping up on menus.

When preparing fish at home, cook seafood to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends. The FDA says freezing fish can kill parasites, too.

Baby sea lion pups are dying because overfishing has left our oceans without enough fish.

Add Your Name Now: Sea Lion Pups Are Starving

Goal: 30,000 Progress: 8,198
Sponsored by: Oceana

A surge of baby sea lions, starving and dehydrated, have washed ashore along the California coast each spring in recent years.

If we don’t take meaningful action now, this crisis will continue. More and more pups will arrive each day.Emaciated and weak, most of them will die.

Overfishing sardines during a natural population decline has severely reduced the number of these forage fish that sea lions rely on. Unless people like you fight back, vulnerable sea lion pups will continue to starve and die.

Add your name to save starving sea lion pups and protect the world’s oceans with Oceana.

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Dear Pacific Fishery Management Council:

California sea lion pups have been found stranded on beaches during spring months in recent years. Many died and many others were found underweight, dehydrated, and starving. Their mothers were not finding enough forage fish to eat. They were spending more time away from their pups foraging, farther from shore, and the nursing sea lion pups were in turn, starving to death.

Approximately three times as many sea lions washed ashore in 2015 compared to 2013, when the severity of strandings emerged as an issue of great concern. About 90 percent of sea lion pups were estimated to have died last year before reaching weaning age.

More must be done to ensure there is adequate forage fish to support a healthy and abundant food web in the Pacific Ocean.

I am greatly concerned that management of the commercial forage fish fisheries off California, Oregon and Washington is leaving ocean wildlife without enough fish to eat. Sea lions, whales, pelicans, and many other species rely on these same forage fish for a large part of their diet. Pacific sardine and Northern anchovy populations are at historically low levels and are some of the most important forage fish in the California Current ocean ecosystem. Immediate, lasting action is needed to prevent future overfishing and to help these forage fish populations rebuild to healthy and abundant levels.

I urge you to take immediate measures to fix the Pacific sardine management framework, prevent Northern anchovy overfishing, and ensure abundant forage fish populations for dependent predators. Ocean wildlife and coastal communities don’t have time to wait.

Sincerely,

http://theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/ars/petition/Oceana-SeaLionPups/#QiekbhEgBlxe6YtJ.01