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The ocean is enormous, supporting a vast array of life while providing food, fuel, recreation, and spiritual rejuvenation. But efforts to conserve the ocean, though valiant, are meager compared to the scale of the threats to the ocean.
The monetarisation of wildlife and ecosystem services raises the hackles of both free marketeers and die hard purist conservationists. But the hard truth is that in a market economy the value of nature's goods and services must be respected in real currency. The trick is to make that value high enough to have a positive impact on both economic and environmental behaviours of the industries that depend directly and sindirectly on natural processes.
We have a long way to go to balance the both natural revenue and capital budgets.
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All the latest news from the Press Service of the European Parliament: votes, resolutions, debates, parliamentary committees and the plenary.
Great News; concerted pressure and support from the public has changed EU fishing policy for the good.
Joan Edwards, The Wildlife Trusts Head of Living Seas said:-
'This deal could not have been reached without a huge amount of public pressure. In particular, thanks to all of you who wrote to your MEP, signed petitions and supported the campaign. The increased pressure and spotlight that society placed on reform of the CFP ensures that this policy can make a huge difference to our fish stocks and the sustainability of our seas.'
Public opinion counts, use your voice and vote - it what really counts.
Our passion for plastic is leaving an unforgivable legacy of litter on Scotland’s beaches, says UK’s leading marine charity.
I well remember walking the beach at Montrose as a child. The bracing North Sea air and the clean sweep of the sea shore was an exciting mixture for a kid from the muddy double-tided Solent.
It is a tragedy that our respect for the sea amounts to no more than a cheap place to throw away litter and dump sewage and marine engine washings. This is a portent of worse to come and a signal that greater environmental repsonsibility is both urgent and important.
WILDLIFE campaigners in Dorset have backed new calls to create a ‘world class’ network of protected areas off the coast.
Progress with bringing the UK's marine natural heritage protection up to the standards that are now the norm elsewhere in the world is ploddingly slow.
It is great to see that Dorset Wildlife Trusts, one of many Wildlife Trusts carrying out first class marine nature conservation work, is throwing its not insubstantial weight behind the call for speedy designation on Marine Conservation Zones.
|| Peter Tinsley, living seas manager at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said that the original aim was to cover enough areas to include a broad scale of habitats, including some which were not fully known about.
He added: “There is an intention to look at the next phase but no indication of when that is going to happen and what will happen if they end up with fewer sites.” ||
GLOBALLY important marine life in Scotland’s seas could be lost unless a network of key conservation areas is established as a matter of “urgency”, environmentalists warn today.
The Scottish government has not been quite as ham-fisted over its preparedness to conserve our living marine heritage but it is still not moving as fast as the Marine Conservation Society feels necessary:-
'Calum Duncan, MCS programme manager, is today due to present the minister with a near-4,000 signature petition from supporters at the Scottish Parliament to halt “decades of damage” which has ruined habitats and put species under threat. He said: “We urgently need a network of new marine protected areas to help our seas recover.'
The Scottish government is prepared for a public consultation on MPAs. The English government uses repeat public consultation on MCZs to defer decisions that have financial implications. Our marine natural heritage deserves being truly valued, not being treated on the cheap.
“Large areas were found with very high live coral cover, up to nearly 100 percent in places, but live coral coverage would have been much higher had there not been heavy dynamite fishing damage in many areas in the past.”...
This is a good community blog site that seeks :- Inspiring environmental awareness and commitment via community participation through grassroots movement
The government is stalling on the creation of a network of zones to protect the UK's seas and wildlife, MPs have warned
Joan Edwards, of the Wildlife Trust, said: "We have voiced our concerns for some time that government's commitment to protecting the marine environment is failing. The need for marine conservation zones is well known, yet the government is still refusing to act with the urgency required.
"The science and technology select committee's report is clear that the government has no reason to delay the designation of the marine conservation zone network.
"We have been calling, and shall continue to call, for a clear timetable for action. We hope this committee's report will encourage some renewed commitment to protecting our fragile seas."
WWF-South Africa (WWF-SA) is elated over Minister Edna Molewa’s recent formal announcement of the declaration of the Prince Edward Islands as a marine protected area (MPA) – Africa`s first offshore MPA.
On the day that the UK Parliament's Environment Select Committee reported the urgent need for Marine Conservation Zones to be established it is both exciting and galling to see what other nations are achieving.
The British Isles rank First Class for marine biodiversity whilst England's policy makers are being relegated to the third division for inactivity.
It is great to read the word 'inspiring' in praise from an NGO to government action:-
WWF International’s Director General, Jim Leape, says, “It is inspiring to see such environmental leadership in South Africa, and I applaud Minister Molewa for her vision. Still too little of the world’s precious oceans are protected from exploitation, and this is a landmark victory for marine conservation – and hopefully a sign of more to come.”
I wait to be inspired by England / UK government action on Marine Conservation Zones.
As the Arctic warms, scientists are working to understand the implications for ecosystems in the region. Will Alaska see Arctic fisheries anytime soon?
Changes to the dynamics of atmospheric and oceanic currents are an inevitable and largely unpredictable consequence of global climate change. Better understanding of impacts on local agriculture and fisheries are of huge importance.
Climate change could get worse quickly if huge amounts of extra heat absorbed by the oceans are released back into the air, scientists say.
Caroline Katsman of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, an expert who was not involved in the latest study, said heat absorbed by the ocean will come back into the atmosphere if it is part of an ocean cycle such as the "El Nino" warming and "La Nina" cooling events in the Pacific.
She said the study broadly confirmed earlier research by her institute but that it was unlikely to be the full explanation of the warming pause at the surface, since it only applied to the onset of the slowdown around 2000.
During a seven-week voyage, the scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division tagged the world’s largest creature and then tracked the rarely seen whales using sonar attached to special buoys to gain an insight into the threatened species.
The Blue Whales is the largest creature that ever lived - and yet we know very little about it. This is a salutory reminder of both the need for us to respect nature and value of basic information about the numbers and life styles of the creatures around us.
Tiny sea creatures no bigger than a thumbtack are being credited for playing a key role in helping provide healthy habitats for many kinds of seafood, according to a new study.
Well said SIr;_
"Inconspicuous creatures often play big roles in supporting productive ecosystems," said Matt Whalen, the study's lead author who conducted this work while at VIMS and is now at the University of California, Davis.
Selfridges Project Ocean Speaks Out for Sharks and Announces New Concept in Marine Conservation
Do you rub shark liver extracts on your face? If so you are helping an iconic group of top ocean predators onto the fast-track to extinction.
||The World’s Best Department Store is using its creative powers to help expose a dramatic threat to these important and often misunderstood creatures. In true Selfridges style it is exploding with shark themed windows, exhibitions, videos and 3D installations, telling the shark story to the millionsof customers who visit the store and browse on Selfridges.com each week.
Over 15% of the world’s shark species are classified as ‘threatened’ by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and it is estimated that around 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year. Six million of these are killed every year for squalene, a compound derived from the oil in shark livers, used as an emollient in many cosmetic products.||
There are few places left in the world where the big predators still naturally dominate their ecosystem. Except perhaps one: The Ross Sea is still relatively pristine.
When I was studying ecology and marine biology the twin concepts of primary production and pyramid of numbers (biomass) were certainly the order of the day. However this expedition seeks to challenge those assumptions.
||This intact marine food web offers benthic ecologist Stacy Kim
and her colleagues an opportunity to challenge scientific orthodoxy. Researchers have assumed that ecosystems pulse from the bottom up, that it’s the small stuff in the food web that structures the system.
“I don’t think that’s strictly correct,” explains Kim, a researcher at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories..
She notes that the bottom-up hypothesis is based on terrestrial ecosystems — but 70 percent of the world is covered by water. In addition, previous ecosystem studies generally began after humans had already rearranged the natural order of things.||
A Canadian firm that is a subsidiary of the largest aquaculture operator in Maine pleaded guilty Friday in a Canadian courtroom to using illegal pesticides that killed hundreds of lobsters a little more than a mile from Maine’s border.
Legal in Maine if prior permission is granted yet capable of killing lobsters; cypermethrin is clearly not a safe chemical.
|| In both cases, the dead and dying lobsters eventually were found to have been exposed to cypermethrin, a pesticide that is banned in Canada but which can be used in Maine with advance approval from state officials. Officials believe the cypermethrin was applied in salmon pens to combat the spread of sea lice, parasitic crustaceans that weaken the farmed fish and expose them to infection and disease. ||
There was evidence consistent with entanglement in fishing gear apparent in each animal
It is shocking to read the scale of fishery bycatch slaughter of Common Dolphin during just one week in January 2013.
|| There was evidence consistent with entanglement in fishing gear apparent in each animal and the post-mortem findings in all five animals are thought to be most consistent with accidental bycatch in trawl type fishery gear. Common dolphins are plentiful in Irish waters and the Celtic Sea, but are at risk of accidental bycatch by trawling, as they may feed on fish shoals very close to boats.
A meeting has been agreed between my officials and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to examine what further actions may be taken to minimise the risks to dolphins". Minister Coveney shared the concerns of Minister Deenihan and acknowledged "In addition to our own boats, many other European fleets operate in Irish waters, an area that is intensely fished. On the basis of these examinations, it is not possible to determine which of these fleets might have been involved in this incident. The results of these post mortems certainly remind us of the need to further our efforts to reduce incidental by-catch to the lowest possible level across all EU and third country fleets fishing in waters around Ireland". ||
A team of volunteers has cleared 14 sacks of rubbish weighing in at 165lb (75kg) from a beach.
Fourteen people joined three staff from Marks & Spencer for a two-hour litter-picking session on Harrington beach in Workington.
The event was part of the UK-wide Big Beach and Waterway Clean-up, organised by the retail firm in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society.
Ontario has found common ground with the federal government and Manitoba to keep a world-famous experimental research area open in the northwestern part of the province, Premier Kathleen Wynne says.
Ontario Premier was spoke words that are applicable to environmental field science the world over when she affirmed:-
“I don’t believe either provincially, regionally or nationally or internationally we can afford to let it go,” said Wynne."
Economically driven political decisions are too often made ina ahsty way, ignoring a solid basis fo scinetific understanding. Future prospertiy and social resilience depends on keeping quality field institutions operating.
SCOTLAND's leading chef has called for a crackdown on scallop dredging, saying it threatens the environment and coastal communities. In a move which has
It is great to see an important debate such as this developed by a leader from within the food and caterijng industry. Scallop dredging is akin to marine ploughing, it damages the communities of sea creatures that live on the sea-bed.
Mr Fairlie puts a well reasoned case:-
“But I think inshore shallow dredging should be banned. It has to be managed properly and at the moment it’s a free for all.
“Some of the scallop divers I talk to have terrible problems with some of the [dredging] boats. They understand that the guys who work on trawlers are part of the community too but they [the dredgers] can’t continue to fish as they are because they are ruining the community.”
A report which encourages setting a clear timetable for protection of the marine environment is warmly welcomed by The Wildlife Trusts.
The Commons Science and Technology Select Committee today publishes the results of its inquiry into marine science. This influential group of MPs warns that the Government’s failure to push forward with the designation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) is creating uncertainty for sea users
The WIldife Trusts and many other significant marine NGOs have expended a great deal of time. money and intellectual energy responding to Defra's various calls for evidence. It is clear that parliamentarians share the frustration that action on Marine Conservation Zones has been held up by Defra ministers' temerity in dealing with potential challendges from industrial and leisure users of marine resources.
Nations across the globe are declaring strong marine conservation policies and taking action to conserve threatened maring conservation and fishery assets. Please Defra listen to the Select Committee's advice; stop talking and start leading.
The creation of new Marine Conservation Zones vital to protect biodiversity in UK waters should not be stalled by Government fears of judicial review, the Science and Technology Committee has warned, but it is important that the Government consult...
Need I say more? The case is expressed very eloquently by the Select Committee chair Andrew Miller MP.
"Properly managed Marine Conservation Zones will protect marine life the UK’s coastal waters and ensure the fishing industry has a sustainable long- term future.
The Government is currently letting the project flounder while sensitive environments are further degraded and the industry is subjected to further uncertainty.
The Minister should not let his priorities be dictated by fear of judicial review, he must end the uncertainty and set out a clear timetable to designate the zones with a firm commitment to an end date by which the protected areas will be established.”
It has been over three years since the Marine and Coastal Access Act was passed, with cross-party consensus that Marine Conservation Zones were necessary and widespread public support. Despite this, the designation process has been repeatedly delayed and Marine Conservation Zones have become increasingly controversial.
The project seems to be in danger of losing sight of its original vision for marine conservation in the UK, according to the MPs.
Andrew Miller MP added:
"127 Marine Conservation Zones have been proposed, but Defra has consulted on only 31 of these, without setting out when these would be implemented or exactly how they would be managed. It is not clear why some areas have been selected and others not. It seems the Government has shifted the goalposts regarding the level of scientific evidence needed to support Marine Conservation Zone designation.
“Site selection should be based on the best available evidence - the selection process should not be stalled by an unattainable threshold for certainty.”
For quarter of a century the Helford Voluntary Marine Conservation Association has helped protect the Helford River and its marine life.
Now its members have celebrated 25 years at their annual general meeting on Saturday."
"Mr Naylor is author of the book Great British Marine Animals, currently in its third edition, and sales of the book at the meeting included a donation to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust."
The largest harmful algae bloom in Lake Erie’s recorded history was likely caused by the confluence of changing farming practices and weather conditions that are expected to become more common in the future due to climate change, say researchers who looked at factors that may have contributed to the event and analyzed the likelihood of future massive blooms in the lake.
The hidden cost of a carbon based economy; biofuels have major implications for future ecology:-
In addition, the current emphasis on producing corn for ethanol production, as well as a trend in the Midwest toward declining acreage reserved for conservation purposes, is likely to exacerbate the problem, says Michael Moore, a professor of environmental economics and one of the paper’s co-authors.
“Corn is the crop on which phosphate-based fertilizer is most heavily applied,” Moore says. “So the intensification of corn production is a problem, and part of the solution would be to rethink this emphasis on corn production for biofuels.
A new study shows that accidental bycatch by small-scale fishers is taking a large toll on sea turtle populations.
The nightmare of bycatch:-
the magnitude and impacts of bycatch on endangered species like marine turtles are relatively unknown for most populations, especially in small-scale fisheries.
Traditional community-run marine reserves and fisheries can play a big role in helping to restore and maintain fish numbers in stressed developing nations' coral reef fisheries.
This is important evidence in support of the push for designated marine conservation zones. Local traditional fisheries that both sustainably harvest and steward stocks will gain from such designations. Sadly the UK is falling behind in marine conservation due to the economic and political might of vested interests such as aggregates, leisure boats and commercial indusrial trawling.
"This is a really important finding, because it shows that small community-run fisheries can preserve their fish stocks – and can boost fish stocks in a surrounding radius of 30 kilometres or more," says lead author Dr Glenn Almany of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University