Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mangrove Myths and Legends Now Available!

Get your copy today!

Marvellous Mangroves: Myths and Legends is Now Available!

MAP Education Director Martin Keeley’s most recent book is Marvellous Mangroves: Myths and Legends, a compilation of stories from “Mangrove Peoples”—those who live on shorelines where mangroves thrive—from around the world.

Those peoples range from Brazil’s northern states of Parà and Bahia, where the orisha Nanã personifies God as an old lady dressed in purple and white. Other cultures include the Sundarbans people, where Bonobibi is known as the goddess of the tiger as well as the mangrove forests, as well as communities across the Caribbean and West Indies, Australia, China, and Vietnam. With wonderfully evocative illustrations by Daniella Christian, the book is designed both to entertain and enlighten, and includes valuable information for classroom use.

Every purchase will help support the incredible Marvellous Mangroves Curriculum

Get Your Copy

 

Concert of Music from the Nueva Canción Tradition by Sin Fronteras

Concert of Music from the Nueva Canción Tradition of Latin America by Sin Fronteras

Sin Fronteras Concert May 14MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT & NW HERITAGE RESOURCES
P.O. Box 1854
Port Angeles, WA 98362

PORT ANGELES – March 8, 2016 – Northwest Heritage Resources is pleased to present a concert performance in partnership with the Mangrove Action Project, by the very talented traditional musical group, Sin Fronteras. The concert is scheduled for 7:00pm on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at the Naval Elks Lodge – 3rd Floor Ballroom, 131 E. First St., Port Angeles, WA.

At a time in the Pacific Northwest when there is growing involvement in arts and social justice, there has been renewed interest in the nueva canción (“new song”) movement from Latin America. Seattle area trio Sin Fronteras (“without borders“), are highly skilled performers of this tradition and emigrated to the U.S. from Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. They describe the music as having “vibrant rhythms, soulful melodies, and breathtaking harmonies – songs of life, humanity, and love.” The song lyrics alone are some of the most beautiful poetry in the Spanish language.

The roots of nueva canción are based in the rural folk music of Chile, and spread from there to Argentina, Spain, and other Latin countries. In support of the “common people”, the music made extensive use of traditional musical forms and instruments, such as the quena, zampoña, charango and cajón, and feature the guitar (from Chilean cueca). Sin Fronteras continues this tradition, adding the cuatro, Argentinian bombo (bass drum), and Venezuelan harp.

Suggested donation for the concert is $10 – 15 collected at the door. No advance ticket sales. Part of admission donations will go to support the work of the Mangrove Action Project, to help restore the rapidly disappearing mangroves of Central America. Mangroves are vital for the migratory birds, marine life and local coastal communities. This concert is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, 4Culture, and Northwest Heritage Resources.

RSVP for the event on Facebook!

For more information call 360-452-5866, or email: alfredo @ mangroveactionproject.org.

Recap: IUCN Mangrove Specialist Group Meeting in China

Recap: IUCN Mangrove Specialist Group Meeting in China

MAP Executive Director Alfredo Quarto recently attended the IUCN Mangrove Specialist Group Symposium in Xiamen, China from November 12-13. He presented information about mangroves and MAP programs. Here are his thoughts.

IUCN MSG Group Photo
During the symposium, one of the presenters dealt with the importance of mangrove associates, including mangrove associates and epiphytes such as orchids in ensuring a healthy, bio-diverse mangrove ecosystem. It had not occurred to me just how vital these associates and epiphytes were in producing a healthy mangrove wetland, including ensuring adequate pollination of mangroves and overall plant health. The flowering plants such as orchids attract the insects that are important for pollination of the  mangroves.

This fact further proves the case for not relying on plantations and mitigation as a way to replace a functioning mangrove system in one place with a planted or afforested one elsewhere, because it will take many years to establish the full mangrove community including the associates and epiphytes.

Further surprise is that in China over 2500 ha of planted, introduced Sonerratia mangroves from Bangladesh have been established in China as a way to lessen coastal erosion and protect against hurricane winds and waves. However, this may not yet be an invasive species in China, as it turns out that the Sonerratia is not getting pollinated because of lack of available suitable pollinators in China. There are some plans to introduce such pollinators so this species can reproduce, but this raises the specter of yet another bio-invasive species there.

China-Spartina Zhiangjiankou Reserve
China seems ripe for such bio-invasions as they attempt to introduce other species of plants to their coastal zones. Someone had earlier introduce the marsh plant Spartina which grows naturally in the US to China and because of lack of natural bio-containment, this species has become rampant in growth, actually threatening the native mangroves because of the thick growth of this invasive grass-like can choke out the mangroves in the area. Vast beds of Spartina spread rapidly in the shallow bay and estuary waters there. At present there is no program established to counter this threat, but again talk of introducing natural competitors such as insects to keep the Spartina in check are being discussed there, which could be problematic in establishing yet a new threat to China’s wetlands.

During the MSG strategy session, I was able to get formal approval for my earlier introduced proposal for undertaking a global assessment of past and present mangrove restoration in an attempt to establish a best practices approach to mangrove restoration. This assessment will involve MAP, Robin Lewis and Norm Duke of MangroveWatch in the process. MangroveWatch will undertake the actual groundwork of assessing the success and failure of selected restoration sites. This is important because too often mangrove restoration projects are not monitored and evaluated, thus allowing bad practices to be repeated and promoted… to the tune of millions of dollars and thousands of wasted man hours in futile plantings. Because this failure to monitor and evaluate leads to around 70% or more failure rates, we are losing opportunity to reverse the ongoing negative trend in mangrove losses.

Therefore, undertaking this kind of widespread study of restoration attempts in Asia, the Americas and Africa could well help positively influence future mangrove restoration programs, and we can be assured CBEMR approaches will get the positive attention they so long have deserved.

The first phase of this assessment will occur in the Philippines where some terrible practices already exist, including a very expansive government program to afforest sea grass beds with mangroves! Dr. Jurgenne Primavera, who is a board member of both MSG and the ZSL is leading the effort in the Philippines to oppose this destructive ecosystem conversion, but so far has not been able to convince authorities there to change their short-sighted approach. So, the proposed mangrove assessment involving MSG will have some chance to affect policy there.

Aquaculture pond near Zhangjiankou Mangrove Nature Reserve
For inclusion of recommendations to IUCN by the MSG, I will be working on a couple of recommendations. One will recommend against mitigation as a means to justify further mangrove habitat loss, and the other the recommendation to keep shrimp farms out of the inter-tidal zone, not just out of the mangroves, but outside the whole inter-tidal area. These one page recommendations will be reviewed by the MSG steering committee and may be included in their final statement of recommendations to IUCN.

I saw Jim in Thailand and Cambodia, discussing MAP topics with him.  While traveling in Cambodia I visited a joint community-livelihoods project at Tonle Sap, meeting for the first time members of the PMCR group there whom MAP Asia has been working with over the last 10 years or so. They are establishing a very promising community savings plan, involving women’s groups in the process of making small loans for small-scale community development projects, eliminating the middleman in the process.


Late Friday News, 106th Ed., 10 Nov 2002

Dear Friends,

I sent the LFN below the day I left for Spain, but only to a third of MAP’s database, because I ran out of time to send to all of you. So this is a belated LFN sent after my return from the Ramsar wetlands meetings in Spain!

This is the 106th Edition of the Late Friday News. As I rush off to Spain for the upcoming Ramsar GBF17 and COP8 conferences, I am sending this in rough format.

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project
Late Friday News Archive

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 106th Edition, 10 Nov 2002

FEATURE STORY
Community-Based Forest Management is not only possible, it is essential

MAP WORKS
MAP 2003 Calendar Soon Ready For Sale & Distribution

AFRICA

Nigeria
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL

ASIA

S.E. ASIA

Thailand
Officials push for wetland recognition–Plan to be tabled before ministry

Indonesia
THE MANGROVE FOREST STATUS IN INDONESIA

Malaysia
All set to improve fisheries production
There won’t be plenty more fish in the sea

Vietnam
Sweet and Sour Shrimp

S. ASIA

India
India’s Chilika Lake removed from the Montreux Record

Bangladesh
Cyclone hits Sundarban Coast

Sri Lanka
120 FROGS DISCOVERED, 100 MORE MAY BE EXTINCT

E. ASIA

China

Shrimp Farming Threatens China’s Ramsar Sites and Mangroves

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Feb. 2nd, World Wetlands Day Celebrations!!

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Canadian Conservation Groups Launch U.S. Markets Campaign Targeting B.C. Farmed Salmon
Great new web-site – The Salmon Farm Monitor

AROUND THE CORNER
Consumer protest of shrimp

FEATURE STORY

From WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT

– Community-Based Forest Management is not only possible, it is essential

The conservation of the world’s forests requires the adoption of a series of measures to change the current model of destruction. Now that both the direct and the underlying causes of forest degradation have been clearly identified, the next step is to take the necessary measures to address them.

At the same time, a new forest management model should be adopted that will ensure their conservation. In this respect, it is important to note that in most of the countries of the world, there are many examples of appropriate forest management, in which environmentally sustainable use is assured while benefiting local communities. This type of management is generically known as “community-based forest management,” although it adopts different modalities in accordance with the socio-environmental diversity of the places where it is developed.

Considering the above, it is obvious that in order to ensure the conservation of the remnant forests of the world –and even the restoration of vast areas of degraded forests– work must be undertaken from two different standpoints. One, by eliminating the direct and underlying causes of deforestation and the other, by returning responsibility for forest management to the communities who inhabit them, considering that they are the ones primarily concerned in the conservation of this resource.

Therefore, in theory, the solution of the forest crisis is within reach. However, experience shows that for community-based forest management to become effective, a series of problems, both external and internal to the communities need to be solved.

The solution of most of the external problems is the responsibility of governments. In fact, they are the ones who must create the basic conditions to ensure this type of management, implying a radical change in the policies followed for many years now. In the first place, this implies ensuring secure tenure of the communities over the forests. This change is not easy for the governments to make, given that it involves ceding power over forest resource use thereby affecting the interests of both state agencies themselves (for example, Forestry Departments), and also of the companies (both national and transnational) that are presently benefiting from State concessions.

Although securing community land tenure is a necessary condition, in general it is not enough. The State should also remove a series of obstacles hindering community management, while providing all the support necessary for it to become generalized. Such measures range from simplifying bureaucratic formalities and reducing tax burdens, to research and support in marketing forest products.

For their part, the communities themselves must adequately solve a series of fundamental issues, such as questions of organisation and administration, ensuring democratic, participatory and transparent management of community-managed resources. In many cases, they will need to recover traditional knowledge and/or adapt it to the new situation, while promoting equitable participation –in particular in decision-making– by the community as a whole. In many cases, this involves addressing the gender issue and training at all levels.

The NGOs accompanying these processes must also clearly define their role and limit themselves to supporting the communities, avoiding taking up a leading role which is not theirs and which, in the end, does little to strengthen the communities. At the same time, they must recognize the transitory nature of their assistance, seeking to transfer their knowledge as soon as possible to the communities themselves to enable them to become independent from external assistance and to take up all the functions involved in forest management.

However, perhaps the main aspect to be highlighted is that community-based forest management is not a technical issue –without this implying that technical aspects should be ignored– but a political issue. For it to become reality, it is therefore necessary to get organized, coordinate efforts, share information and develop campaigns so that the governments adopt policies generating the necessary conditions for forest management to be returned to the communities. Community-based forest management is not only possible, it is essential.

MAP WORKS

MAP 2003 Calendar Soon Ready For Sale & Distribution

MAP’s 2003 children’s Art and Poetry Calendar is now ready for sale and distribution. The calendars are $10, plus $5 shipping in the USA and Canada, and $8 for shipping outside of N. America. Visa or master cards are accepted! We are urging our readership to please place advance orders for calendars by sending your calendar orders to [email protected]

If you want to order a 2003 Calendar, please send your donation via our bank account in this way:

–The easiest way, if you reside in the US, is to just send us a check or money order directly to our MAP office at P.O. Box 1854, Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279 USA

— Or, another way is to use a visa or master credit card, providing the following information:

Your Name___________ ________________
Address ________________________________
________________________________
_____________________________
Credit Card Number ______________________
Expiration Date _______________
You Have a Visa Card___, or a Master Card___

(Note: We can only use Visa or Master credit cards for such transactions)
Note: Please send this credit card information directly to our MAP office at P.O. Box 1854, Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279 USA

–Another option is to send a bank money order, which is less expensive than wiring the money direct. Please indicate that your donation is earmarked for the Mangrove Action Project 2003 Calendar.

From Sam Nugent, MAP’s Administrative Director
[email protected]

AFRICA

Nigeria

MOVEMENT FOR THE SURVIVAL OF THE OGONI PEOPLE (MOSOP) UK
217 LEWIS TRUST, WARNER ROAD, LONDON SE5 9LY
TEL:+44(0)20 85399050, (0) 295783782
FAX/PHONE: +44(0) 20 73668599
Email: [email protected]

9th November 2002

PRESS RELEASE! PRESS RELEASE!! PRESS RELEASE!!!

HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL 10th November 2002. Struggling for daily survival in Nigeria is hard. Making a stand for justice requires a different type of commitment and this is no less tough. The Ogonis are having to combine both qualities and we have been made to pay a high price for this position. President Obasanjo admitted that the Ogonis have suffered a ‘grave injustice’ due to the way the oil business and revenue distribution are handled. Yet, nothing much seem to have happened that addresses these points, instead we are forced to stare at a political void with promises that the answer lies within it. The advent of democratic politics was supposed to usher something better than the military violence and dictatorship. We are now allowed to go to political rallies, visit windowless hospitals with no electricity nor running water, live without jobs and die prematurely from a polluted environment.
Undeniably, there has been frustration, when it seems our situation is being
ignored and at the same time others are gaining from our sacrifices. We would have preferred to be spared the tragedy that has befallen our people. The keen focus of the world on Nigeria sadly did not save thousands of Ogonis who were killed, neither has it reduced the seriousness of the neglect during this civilian administration.

The seventh anniversary of the judicial murder of our leaders, emphasises the long and difficult journey we are making. But we are gratified by what people have done for us and with us from the beginning. They helped to bring our plight to the world’s attention. They took action! For this ,we will always be grateful. Thank you all.

Hardly a moment goes by without us wondering what might have been, if our chiefs were still alive and our leaders not forced to make those supreme sacrifices. A number of useful things remain though.; there is more interest in environmental issues nationwide greater understanding of what multinationals like Shell are up to, determination to have a proper share of resources and not to be overawed by bigger groups and forces ranged against one.

Mosop feels that more effort still needs to be applied to realise our simple demands which were endorsed by the U.N. in their findings and recommendations on the Ogoni crisis. In addition we place again before the whole world our legitimate demands:
o the return of the remains of the Ogoni 9 to their families,
o an apology and compensation to the families of those killed and
o implementation of the Ogoni Bill of Rights,including the right to a clean
environment and a fair share of the oil wealth .

We are still hopeful of a just outcome because we are prepared to work for it and we implore both the government and Shell oil company to demonstrate good faith now.

Harrison Neenwi, General Secretary MOSOP-UK

ASIA

S.E. ASIA

Thailand

Bangkok Post Nov.5, 2002

Officials push for wetland recognition–Plan to be tabled before ministry

Amnart Thongdee – Chumphon
The Forestry Department plans to push for the declaration of mangrove forests in Chumphon’s Thung Kha-Sawi Bay as an international wetland in the next six years, said the park’s top official yesterday. Somkiat Suntornpitakkul, chief of the marine national park, which was established three years ago, said by the end of the five-year development plan, the mangrove forests should earn international recognition.

The 2004-2008 plan was drafted by the Marine Ecosearch Management Co. The park would also see the establishment of four new protection units to oversee Koh Matra, Koh Kula, Thung Kha Bay and Khao Katha. Mr Somkiat said in the past three years the park’s activities mainly involved park management and community relations.

Sakanant Plathong, a marine biologist and head of the plan-drafting team, said the development plan covers such programmes as staff training, natural resources management, tourism management and research. Mr Sakanant said his survey team had made some startling discoveries in mangrove forests of Thung Kha-Sawi Bay, an area of some 17,375 rai, in 2001. It is home to various species of animals and plants while Koh Ngam Noi- Ngam Yai, Koh Hin Pae, and Koh Talu were found to be rich in coral reefs, he said.

The marine biologist said the plan would be tabled before the Forestry Department for consideration. The Chumphon Marine National Park lies in tambon Hatsairee and covers an area of 317 sq km, or 198,125 rai. Out of its total area, 80% or 165,969 rai, covers the sea. The remaining 20% is made up of mangrove forests and islands.

From MAP SE Asia
[email protected]

==========

Indonesia

Note: In order to help us grasp the scope of mangrove destruction in Indonesia, I have copied an article from “Ecology of Indonesian Seas,” called THE MANGROVE FOREST STATUS IN INDONESIA. Aside from pointing out the alacrity with which mangroves are disappearing, this article can also help us to focus our attention on some of the vaster mangrove areas to which little attention is being paid.

THE MANGROVE FOREST STATUS IN INDONESIA

04 Nov 2002

It is often stated that Indonesia supports the world?s largest area of
mangroves (Groombridge 1992; Giesen 1993, Sukardjo, 1994). Review of Indonesian historical and recent government records suggests that 15-20 years ago, [add five years as this article was written in 1997], the coastal area under mangrove cover may have exceeded 4.3 million ha. However, overexploitation, conversion and mismanagement of this important coastal resource, coined the “edible wetland”(Petersen 1992 cited in Giesen 1993),
during the past two decades has led to significant losses. The precise extent of mangrove losses in many areas remains uncertain, and as a result all present values for total Indonesian mangrove area coverage are probably gross overestimates.

Depending on what database is used, total mangrove area in the archipelago varies from as much as 4.25 million ha ( Bina Program 1982; Soemodihardjo and Serianegara 1989; Sukardjo 1994) to as little as 2.5 million ha remaining between 1986-1990 (Giesen). Burbridge and Kosoebiono (1984) estimated that the total are of Indonesian mangroves was about 3,806, 119 ha. One of the major errors in most estimates relates to a great inconsistency in the estimates for mangroves in Irian Jaya (currently Papau Barat). Giesen (1993) has pointed out that government computations range from 0.97 to 2.94 million ha, which clearly is insufficient accuracy for management purposes.

Perhaps the best approximation of mangrove losses are available for Java, where 88.8% of former mangrove area (170,500 ha) has been lost. Most of the losses in Java can be directly attributed to conversion of coastal mangroves into tambaks [extensive aquaculture ponds] which, according to the 1991 government records, cover an estimated area of 128,740 ha (Directorate of Fisheries 1991). On Java the province of Central Java retains the largest mangrove area, with about 13,577 ha, most of it concentrated in Segera Anakan on the south coast, while less than 1% of former mangroves remain in East Java. South Sulawesi has converted about 69% of its coastal mangroves into tambaks (c. 73,088 ha)

[note: MAP-Indonesia in partnership with Yayasan Akar Rumput Laut is undertaking a two phase project to create GIS-Maps (phase I) for the purpose of prioritizing mangrove rehabilitation sites and consequently rehabilitating what is now said to be 124,000 ha. of tambak (phase II).]

The mangrove forests of Indonesia are among the largest in the world, and account for 67.7% of the total mangrove area in the ASEAN region. The forests of Iran Jaya (Papua Barat) dominate the Indonesian figures, with some 55% of the mangrove area, while the rest of the islands contribute relatively little. For example, Sumatra accounts for 19.5% of the total mangrove area, and Kalimantan 15.8%; the Moluccas [Maluku] account for 2.6% and Java and Nusa Tenggara 1.2% of the total mangroves in Indonesia.

From Ben Briown, [email protected]

==========

Malaysia

All set to improve fisheries production

The Penang Government wants to form a Marine Biotechnology Initiative to improve fisheries production through co-operation among a global institute, a national institute and an academic institute. Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said a working group chaired by him had been formed to bring together the three institutes based in Penang – the World Fish Centre, the Fisheries Research Institute and Universiti Sains Malaysia – to conduct research to improve fisheries production.

“This will contribute greatly to (World Fish Centre’s) Fish For All Initiative,” he told a press conference after addressing the 200 participants from 40 countries at the Fish For All World Summit in Equatorial Hotel on Sunday.

“We do have the right ingredients and institutions to help promote Penang as a centre for fish and (micro) chips,” he quipped. Penang is the world capital for sustainable fisheries movement, said Global Steering Committee of the Fish For All Initiative chair, Prof M.S. Swaminathan. He said sustainable fisheries development was “everybody’s business” and should involve local, national, regional and global partnership.

“We hope to initiate an integrated plan incorporating education at all levels as well as regional and national regulations based on ethical and sustainable considerations. “We hope the ideas derived here (at the Summit) can really be translated to fish for all,” he said. Consultative Group in Agriculture Research (CGIAR) chair Dr Ian Johnson said the Malaysian Govern-ment’s seriousness in finding a solution to the fisheries issue was commendable.

“So many treaties and international meetings I attended were full of
rhetoric and no action simply because of lack of commitment from the governments. “I am excited over this summit because the government here has shown its seriousness,” he added.

CGIAR is the world’s largest agricultural research alliance dedicated to reducing hunger and promoting the sound management of natural resources throughout the developing world. World Fish Centre (WFC) director-general Dr Meryl Williams gave the assurance that the organisation had no plans to dabble in genetic engineering to improve fish production.

“We are taking the cautious approach because it is difficult to control if the genetically modified fish escapes into the environment,” she added. She said conventional selective breeding method yielded desirable results and therefore it was not necessary to go into genetic engineering “at this stage”. “Using the selective breeding method, we have improved the tilapia yield by between 10 and 20% per generation,” she added.

From: “Ben Brown”
[email protected]

==========

There won’t be plenty more fish in the sea

Kuala Lumpur – The world’s growing population and overfishing will
mean around one billion people in developing countries will face shortages of fish, their most important source of protein, within 20 years. According to analysis released by the Malaysia-based WorldFish Centre and the International Food Policy Research Institute, only strong growth in fish farms will save the world from an even more critical situation.

The study estimated that fish currently accounts for around seven percent of global food supplies and was the primary source of animal protein for one-sixth of the world’s six billion people. WorldFish said in a statement released ahead of an international conference in Penang on November 3 that some fish species will disappear from markets and the quality of seafood will decline – and it also predicted increasing disputes between countries over fishing grounds.

It said the decline in catches from the oceans will have a serious impact on food security, nutrition and income levels for people in developing countries in the next two decades.

“Fish is the fastest growing source of food in the developing world yet demand greatly exceeds supply and the problem is growing,” Dr Meryl Williams, Director-General of the centre, said in the statement. “Almost three-quarters of the 130 million tons extracted in 2000 came from fish stocks already depleted, over-fished or fully exploited.”

With 90 million more mouths to feed a year, fish stocks could not cope after 50 years in which average per capita consumption of fish has almost doubled. Aquaculture, or fish farming, offered a partial solution and under the study’s most likely scenario, global production will rise 1,5 percent annually until 2020. Two-thirds of the growth will come from aquaculture which will provide 41 percent of total food production by then – up from 31 percent five years ago.

Economists reckon the fishing industry’s inability to keep pace with demand will result in prices rising anywhere between 4 and 16 percent by 2020 at best, and in a worst case scenario by 26 to 70 percent. The conference will be attended by policy-makers, scientists, industry leaders and non government organisations from 40 countries.

Published on the Web by IOL on 2002-10-31 16:45:33

==========

Vietnam

Far Eastern Economic Review

AQUACULTURE: Sweet and Sour Shrimp

Vietnam’s shrimp industry is breeding both profits and misery. Should the government promote this risky business to reduce poverty?

By Margot Cohen/HANOI and QUANG NAM PROVINCE
Issue cover-dated September 05, 2002

STORIES OF MASSIVE DEBT and disease don’t scare Dinh Duc Huu. The Vietnamese-American entrepreneur knows that many shrimp producers across Asia have been wiped out by sudden epidemics in their ponds. But Huu believes he will see a healthy return on his initial $5 million investment in a sprawling, new shrimp farm on the outskirts of Vietnam’s northern city of Haiphong. At an August launch, local officials welcomed the prospect of 1,500 new jobs and, more important, Huu’s promise to teach local farmers the intricacies of breeding black tiger shrimp.

It is a delicate business. “Raising shrimp is more difficult than raising a baby,” says Huu, an engineer who is drawing on expertise culled from American universities and a California bio-tech firm. “A shrimp doesn’t cry when it’s sick.” But plenty of people are crying down in southern Vietnam, the hub of the nation’s shrimp trade. In southern Ca Mau town, disease struck 63,000 hectares of shrimp from January to March. In central Quang Nam province, unusually hot July weather put some shrimp off their food, stunting growth. Even during seasons that are generally profitable, rewards are spread unequally among neighbours. “There are winners and losers,” sighs Quang Nam farmer Nguyen Thi Hoa, who can’t repay her debts because she has lost 80% of her shrimp to disease since 2000.

Despite the risks, Vietnam is determined to emerge as a big winner in aquaculture. The nation is counting on shrimp becoming one of its few star exports as more traditional commodities such as rice, coffee and pepper remain cursed by low world prices. The seafood sector has already become Vietnam’s third-largest earner of foreign exchange, with shrimp exports alone reaching $780 million last year. In 2001 the number of hectares devoted to shrimp nearly doubled to 446,000. The Ministry of Fisheries hopes to expand that to half a million hectares by 2005.

The shrimp industry “has the potential to be an effective way of leveraging people out of poverty. Rather than achieve incremental gains, they could leapfrog,” says one Western development specialist in Hanoi. To reduce financial risk, some local communities are pooling resources and developing ponds without abandoning their other crops. Some inland communities are also being encouraged to raise freshwater shrimp, which are cheaper to produce. But some community activists and aquaculture specialists worry that the shrimp industry could leave rural folk more disadvantaged than ever.

“This export-led development is really unsustainable. It is pushing people into this gamble and making them more addicted to it,” warns a Vietnamese development officer at Oxfam Great Britain. “If we involve the poor directly in shrimp-farming activities, it’s not good for the poor. It’s still high-risk for them, ” says Tran Van Nhuong, who is managing a United Nations Development Programme shrimp project based in central Nghe An province. Rather than advocating that the poor try to “leapfrog” out of poverty, only to end up staggering under the heavy loans needed to finance big ponds, they can work as shrimp-pond labourers, help produce feed, or work as small traders, he says. The risks are real.

The country’s shrimp exports grew 10.7% year on year in the first six months of 2002, but grew just 4.4% in dollar value. And stable prices in its major export markets, namely the United States, Japan, and the European Union, are not guaranteed. Indeed, the price of Vietnam’s favoured species–black tiger shrimp–has declined by roughly $3 per kilogram over the last three years. Recent disclosures of chloramphenicol traces found in select containers of Vietnamese shrimp add to the uncertainty. “They’ve got a false sense of security at the moment,” says one analyst in Ho Chi Minh City.

“There will be an oversupply. The efficient countries will survive.” Vietnam hopes to enhance efficiency, but it’s hampered by the disorganized sprawl of hundreds of thousands of household producers and limited government resources for educating small producers. They must be taught proper feeding, pond-clearing and pollution-prevention methods, yet the task is enormous. In Quang Nam province, for example, there are only four government outreach workers helping some 10,000 families who produce shrimp.

For now, such outreach workers lack the technical equipment to test the quality of the baby shrimp produced at the country’s estimated 6,000 household hatcheries. Controlling the quality of feed is also a big problem, since many cash-strapped farmers opt for the cheaper feeds rather than the more pricey brands. Then there’s the huge investment that will be required to install wastewater-treatment facilities to preserve the environment and prevent disease from effluent that now washes back into many ponds.

DEBT TRAP
In light of these problems, some local industry leaders argue that Vietnam should scale back its shrimp targets. “The government better not push production too much, but conduct better planning and ensure sustainable development,” says Nguyen Huu Dung, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers. Rather than encourage farmers to stock their ponds more densely, Dung believes it would be preferable to promote low-density, low-cost organic farming. Such organically-raised shrimp fetch prices 20% higher than ordinary shrimp on the world market. Another solution lies in further diversification into oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops, which are cheaper and less risky to produce.

Many farmers are caught in a debt trap. “Having already invested in pond construction, and lacking alternatives, many shrimp farmers feel compelled to continue with the gamble,” says a new report from the Environmental Justice Foundation, a London-based advocacy group. “When unable to get credit from banks, many resort to private moneylenders’ ‘hot loans,'” which reportedly incur monthly interest rates as high as 10%-20%.

Take Le Van Bay, a 34-year old shrimp farmer from Cam Chau village in Quang Nam province. A poor rice farmer with a wife and two children, he supplemented the family income by working occasionally in construction for 30,000 dong ($2) a day. In 2000, he decided to wade into shrimp. He managed to get a 50-million-dong bank loan and borrowed roughly 130 million dong from relatives. But he hasn’t made any profit on his 8,500-square-metre pond, because of diseased and undersized shrimp. Today, he’s keeping his family afloat with loans from relatives, still hoping that he’ll strike it rich.

“I can’t switch from shrimp. I already borrowed from the bank,” says Bay. Quang Nam is a typical example of a poor province that sees shrimp as the best solution to its own economic woes. It is a coastal province dominated by rice farming, with a per-capita GDP of $300 and virtually no industry other than some tourism. Authorities remain confident that they can reduce the 20% disease rate among local shrimp and raise family income to anywhere
between 20 million and 100 million dong per hectare, per crop. So the local government is targeting an increase from 2,200 hectares to 6,000 hectares of shrimp over the next several years, and gearing up to invest 23 billion dong in the province’s first frozen-shrimp processing factory.

From afar, analysts are watching to see whether such expansion throughout the country will truly prove sustainable. If Vietnam overstocks its shrimp ponds in the hopes of short-term profits, the country could be faced with a long-term problem of so-called “shrimp graveyards” where land is abandoned because of unsustainable intensive cultivation. And when greed overtakes need, it may be too late to shift course.

From Andrianna Natsoulas
Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program
From Public Citizen www.citizen.org

S. ASIA

India

India’s Chilika Lake removed from the Montreux Record

10 Nov 2002
In June 1993 the Ministry of Environment and Forests (the Ramsar Administrative Authority in India) requested that Chilika Lake in Orissa on the northeast coast be placed on the Montreux Record of Ramsar sites undergoing adverse changes in ecological character and identified a number of factors contributing to that unhappy situation.

Following some years of innovative and exemplary remedial efforts by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) with significant national support, a request to remove Chilika from the Montreux Record was submitted to the Ramsar Bureau on 30 April 2001. The request was accompanied by formal submission of the ?Montreux Record Questionnaire?, which outlined the management actions that had been taken to resolve the threats to the ecological character of the lake, to the values for which it had been listed as internationally important, and to its ability to provide for the well-being of the surrounding communities.

…Chilika Lake has been removed from the MR as of today, 11 November 2002. As a result of its comprehensive technical and socio-economic efforts, with impressive community and stakeholder involvement, the Chilika Development Authority is one of the winners of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award, which will be presented to its executive director A. K. Pattnaik (right) at Ramsar COP8 on 18 November 2002 in Valencia. That story, with photos, is available at ramsar.org.

rom: “Dwight Peck”
[email protected]

==========

Bangladesh

Cyclone hits Sundarban Coast

Anwar Firoze

A cyclone that had been moving northwards in the Bay of Bengal during the last few days, suddenly turned northeastwards and hit the Sundarban coast in West Bengal (India) and Bangladesh at about sunset on Tuesday. The center of the storm hit the Bangladesh coast near the mouth of the Raimangal estuary with a sustained wind-speed of 65 kilometers per hour within 54 km of its center, surging up to 85 kph in gusts. The storm was accompanied by medium to heavy rains. The heaviest rainfall recorded during the 12 hours from 6-00 to 18-00 hours on Tuesday was 162 mm at Jessore, 123 mm in Dhaka, 77 mm in Khulna and
68 mm in Satkhira. Seven feet high tidal waves also accompanied the storm. Though the rain continued till late last night, there has been no rain in Khulna since morning today. But the sky remains overcast.

When the storm warning signal went up to number 7 in the afternoon on Tuesday, people inhabiting the vulnerable coastal areas were reminded of the most destructive cyclone of the 20th century that struck this country on the same date (November 12) in 1970, killing nearly one million people and devastating the entire coastal belt. The apprehension of a repeat after 32 years motivated them to seek safety in cyclone shelters along with their belongings and household animals. The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society also mobilized 30,000 volunteers throughout the coastal areas. So far, however, there has been no report of any human casualties till writing of this report on Wednesday afternoon.

All activities in the ports of Chittagong and Mongla were put to a stop and the Chittagong port authorities ordered all ships off the jetties, instructing them to ride out the storm at the outer anchorage off the mouth of the Karnaphuli river. A Bangladesh Navy survey boat ?Survey 11? sank off the coast of Kutubdia island in Cox?s Bazar district, but the crew, who had all donned life-belts swam to shore safely. The fishing trawler owners? association sources in Kuakata and Patharghata in Barguna district have reported that about 30 fishing trawlers, carrying over 200 men aboard, have failed to report back at shore till late evening on Tuesday. Nearly half a million hectares of ready-to-harvest rice crops in the storm affected districts in the southern delta have been flattened by wind and rain. Low-lying lands in the districts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Jhalakati and Barisal have been inundated by the tidal wave

No news has as yet been available about the fate of thousands of fishermen encamped at the off-shore islands of Sonadiar Char off the Patuakhali coast and Dublar Char off the Sundarban coast. Estimates of damage to flora and fauna in the Sundarbans, if any, are also not yet available.

From: CDP
[email protected]

==========

Sri Lanka

120 FROGS DISCOVERED, 100 MORE MAY BE EXTINCT

Researchers have discovered about 120 new frog species in the 750 square kilometers of Sri Lanka’s remaining rain forest. The fact that Sri Lanka’s amphibian population was thought to be well known prior to this study is an indication of the tremendous numbers of species that have yet to be discovered. Most of the new species hatch as miniature adults from land based eggs. This unusual lifestyle may make them less susceptible to ultra-violet light and water pollution- two of the major culprits causing a global wave of amphibian declines.

The bad news is that 95% of Sri Lanka’s rain forests have disappeared and the researchers were unable to find about 100 frog species that existed at the turn of the century. They think the frogs may be extinct.

From: Kathy Stone
[email protected]

E. ASIA

China

Shrimp Farming Threatens China’s Ramsar Sites and Mangroves

Note: The destruction of mangroves in Leizhou for shrimp farming still continues, in spite of the laws and regulations, the project and forestry bureau’s activities, or even the status of national reserve or Ramsar. The project is also looking into the possibilities of improved shrimp and duck farming. The project is looking for a specialist (preferably with some China experience).

Current aquaculture and poultry farming practices threaten the integrity of the Zhanjiang National Mangrove Reserve. The precise effects are not known, but effluent discharge and high intensity “grazing” levels of ducks on the mud-flats are a particular source of concern. The introduction of alternative forms of duck rearing and aqua production (fish and shrimp) which are more environmentally benign, and at least as beneficial to the local population, is one way to support the objective of mangrove and mud-flat conservation. Short term strategies need to be explored to reduce grazing levels if these are found to represent a significant threat to the protected areas.

From: “E.J.C. Teunissen”
[email protected]

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Feb. 2nd, World Wetlands Day Celebrations!!

Over the past six years, World Wetlands Day has been celebrated by government agencies, NGOs, and local groups on or about 2 February annually, and the Bureau has been able to report on a growing number of activities each year, as accounts and photos have been submitted to us, in some 70 countries at last count. For WWD2003, the 7th WWD, the Standing Committee has suggested a theme of “No wetlands – No water!” [the slogan from our new poster], in honor of the UN’s International Year of Freshwater, and friends of wetlands who take up this theme in February can count themselves as part of the first IYF-related activities of the year. IYF Web site

From: “Dwight Peck”
[email protected]

AQUACULTURE CORNER

Canadian Conservation Groups Launch U.S. Markets Campaign Targeting B.C. Farmed Salmon

Markets campaign informs restaurants, fish stores and consumers that their salmon could be “farmed and dangerous”

October 29: For immediate release Vancouver, British Columbia – Chefs, scientists, fishermen, and conservation groups on both sides of the 49th parallel joined today to announce the launch of an international campaign to educate American consumers and retailers about the environmental and potential health risks associated with the production of farmed salmon.

“Think Twice is what we’re saying to U.S. consumers who need much more information to make informed choices about this product,” said spokesperson Jennifer Lash, who lives on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island in an area with a high concentration of fish farms.

“Farmed salmon is produced using pesticides, antibiotics, and chemical additives to alter the colour of the fish, and most consumers know nothing about this. In fact, people often don’t know that the salmon they’re buying is manufactured and not a wild fish,” said Lash, a member of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) that launched the campaign. CAAR has sent information to more than 2,100 grocery stores and restaurants along with a request that they stop selling farmed salmon. At the same time, more than 130 organizations sympathetic with this campaign are helping distribute information throughout the west coast of the US and in Canada.

“We are asking retailers and consumers to do an easy thing: to make a public commitment to stop buying and selling farmed salmon until its safe for us and safe for the oceans,” Lash said. “Salmon is in high demand, but the issues around farmed salmon are little understood,” said acclaimed Portland chef Greg Higgins, who travelled to Vancouver to help launch the campaign. “When U.S. consumers fully understand all the issues, they’ll see the need to keep the marine habitat healthy and to consider the quality and source of their salmon.”

Farmed salmon are grown in net cages that float in the ocean, which pollutes the marine environment with drug-laced excess food and waste. These floating feedlots also allow disease and parasites to flow out through the nets, threatening wild salmon and the ocean habitat. Fisheries biologist Dr. John Volpe has studied salmon farming and its effects on the marine environment for seven years. “Government and industry have not been forthright in providing the necessary information to allow the consumer to make an informed decision about farmed salmon,” he said.

British Columbia exports most of its farmed salmon to the U.S. In fact, almost all the whole or dressed fresh farmed salmon consumed in the U.S. is from Canada. And the lifting of a provincial ban last month on new farms is set to unleash a major expansion of the BC industry. Already, retailers and restaurateurs in the U.S. and BC are signing on to the campaign. So far 50 stores and restaurants have joined the campaign, including “white tablecloth” chefs in San Francisco and Portland. Other B.C. campaigns targeting the marketplace have been very successful, particularly an international campaign urging Home Depot and other “big box” stores to stop selling BC old-growth wood. Lash is hopeful this campaign will raise consumer awareness as well as protect threatened areas in coastal BC.

The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) is a coalition of conservation and First Nations groups working to protect the ocean and humans from the dangers of farmed salmon. For more information visit www.farmedanddangerous.org

Contact Kate Dugas, Consumer Education Coordinator
Living Oceans Society
visit our website at www.livingoceans.org

From Industrial FishFarming
[email protected]
Posted: 11/08/2002
By [email protected]

==========

From Industrial FishFarming
[email protected]
Posted: 11/09/2002
By [email protected]

Great new web-site – The Salmon Farm Monitor
www.salmonfarmmonitor.org

AROUND THE CORNER

Consumer protest of shrimp

I would like to suggest a simple strategy. I have a personal commitment to avoid aquaculture shrimp and enquire everywhere I go where shrimp is on the shelf or on the menu about the source. Invariably the waitress or cashier is oblivious about the issue and I am referred to an unavailable manager.

I suggest a simple brochure be developed and attached to your Late Friday News and the Earth Island magazine, etc. as an educational and protest tool. Space for customer comments could be left for notes to managers, PR people or board members.

An example of unexpected ignorance is a visit to the upscale Wild Oats Market in Cherry Hills (Denver, CO) store where they hadtwo pound frozen bags of prawns that were labeled “farm grown”. The floor help and cashiers were totally unaware that shrimp were a controversial issue. A simple written document could turn them around as they take pride in being “green”.

The informational elements need to be in simple language and edited to be succinct and hard hitting. Informed chefs could feel in tune with environmental problems and feel that they have a role to play in solutions. Thank you for your diligent and kind work.

From Lon Ball, Trout Lake, WA
[email protected]

Alfredo Quarto, Executive Director
Mangrove Action Project
PO Box 1854
Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279
USA
fax (360) 452-5866
[email protected]

Late Friday News, 107th Ed., 4 Dec 2002

Dear Friends,

This is the 107th Edition of the Late Friday News. We urge our readers to please support MAP in these more difficult economic times when such support is essential. To make your job of support easier, MAP provides an excellent opportunity to help us keep active and effective, while offering you the Bargain of the Year!

Bargain of the Year! MAP’s 2003 Children’s Art & Poetry Calendar

A Beautiful MAP 2003 Calendar Is Now Ready For Sale & Distribution

MAP’s 2003 children’s Art and Poetry Calendar is now ready for sale and distribution. The calendars are $10, plus $2 shipping in the USA and Canada, and $5 for shipping outside of N. America. Visa or master cards are accepted! We are urging our readership to please place advance orders for calendars by sending your calendar orders to [email protected]

To view the calendar and order, VISIT OUR WEBSITE.

If you want to order a 2003 Calendar, please send your donation in this way:

–The easiest way, if you reside in the US, is to just send us a check or money order directly to our MAP office at P.O. Box 1854, Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279 USA

— Or, another way is to use a visa or master credit card, providing the following information:

Your Name___________ ________________
Address ________________________________
________________________________
_____________________________
Credit Card Number ______________________
Expiration Date _______________
You Have a Visa Card___, or a Master Card___

(Note: We can only use Visa or Master credit cards for such transactions)
Note: Please send this credit card information directly to our MAP office at P.O. Box 1854, Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279 USA

–Another option is to send a bank money order, which is less expensive than wiring the money direct. Please indicate that your donation is earmarked for the Mangrove Action Project./ 2003 Calendar.

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Late Friday News Archive

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 107th Edition, 4 December 2002

FEATURE STORY
The NGO Statement to COP8 Final Plenary – 26 November 2002

MAP WORKS
Tiwoho CCRC Moving Forward In Good Stride!
A Waste Water Garden Will Bloom At Tiwoho CCRC
MAP’s Study Tour Prepares For Sri Lanka Replanting
Mangrove Curriculum Workshops Concludes In Honduras
MAP Gets Volunteer Help To Translate LFN into Indonesian Language

AFRICA
Tanzania
Improving forest management through joint management with communities

ASIA

S.E. ASIA

Thailand
Scientist’s input could help save Koh Chang
THAI-MALAYSIAN GAS PIPELINE–Petition fails to get PM to change mind

Indonesia
The destruction of Indon mangrove, swamps and peatlands rife: NGO
Reclamation of northern coast only produces new problems

Malaysia
New life for mangroves

Vietnam
Vietnam baits world market with mass African fish exports

Cambodia
Cambodia uses security forces to violently disperse forest community

S. ASIA

India
***ACTION ALERT!!!***
Fishermen Drown as Forest Officials Chase them out into Stormy Sea

Bangladesh

Crab Fattening Ponds Sprout in Bangladesh
A Concept of Coastal Development Partnership-CDP)
LOSING BATTLE FOR ROYAL CATS
MIDDLE EAST
Iran

LATIN AMERICA
Honduras
INTERNATIONAL SHAME, COP8 Conference Of Biased Parties
THE FIGHT TO SAVE WETLANDS OF THE “RAMSAR SITE 1000” CONTINUES
Shrimp farm expansion comes under fire (Honduras)

STORIES/ISSUES
Tables and Writings on Economic Value of Indonesian Mangroves
The Ecosystem Approach
Topical Prawns versus Mangroves
ANNOUNCEMENTS
International Conference on Ecorestoration Rescheduled
Farming the Seas Now In Production Phase

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Protest calls for boycott
Asking hard questions about aquaculture
Here is the transcript from a Nov. 26th CBC radio news item
Christmas Campaign: “Santa Says No, No, No, to Farmed Salmon”
CHILE IS NOW WORLD’s MAIN PRODUCER OF CULTIVATED SALMON
AROUND THE CORNER
Ramsar GBF17 and COP8 Reflections
Note from Maurizio Farhan Ferrari of Forest Peoples Programme

FEATURE STORY

THE NGO STATEMENT TO COP8 FINAL PLENARY–26 November 2002

Distinguished delegates,

We, representatives of local communities, indigenous peoples and NGOs have followed with great interest COP8. We believe that the new matters taken on by the Convention, especially those related to the cultural values of wetlands are extremely important and critical for the sound implementation of the Convention. We also believe that cultural values should go hand in hand with ecological values of wetlands in order to develop a balanced approach to wetlands wise use. We therefore support the incorporation of cultural values in the work of the Convention and encourage its further development. We have, however, some major concerns regarding the way the Convention is evolving in general and regarding the content of some of the COP8 resolutions and the processes adopted to discuss them.

Lack of political will to deal with major causes of wetland loss

We regret to notice that Contracting Parties are very resistant to openly and constructively deal with sectors and activities that negatively impact wetlands and the local communities depending on them, such as large dams, water diversion schemes, oil exploration and exploitation, coastal reclamation projects (such as the Saemangeum Reclamation Project in South Korea), and infrastructure, and unsustainable aquaculture. For example, we are concerned that a number of Contracting Parties do not accept and recognize the conclusions of the World Commission on Dams and that DR2 has been substantially changed. We do not agree with the new DR2 version, which argue that large dams have made significant contributions to development and remain an option in meeting energy and water resources requirements. We believe that alternatives needs be developed in order to avoid the recurrence of the profound ecological and social impacts associated to large dams.

Lack of effective implementation and monitoring of past COP resolutions
We denounce the lack of commitment by Contracting Parties to implement past COP resolutions. We are also concerned that no mechanisms exist to make the Contracting Parties fulfil their obligations under the Ramsar Convention while, on the other hand, a trade agreement like the WTO possesses such mechanisms. It has come to our attention that a number of resolutions adopted in previous COPs are simply ignored. For example:
COP7 adopted Resolution VII.21 urging the contracting parties to suspend the expansion of unsustainable aquaculture in coastal wetlands until adequate studies have been carried out and sustainable practices have been developed. Given that unsustainable shrimp farming is considered one of the main activities having severe ecological and social consequences on coastal wetlands (such as mangroves) and, more recently, on inland wetlands in many countries, representatives of local communities dependent for their livelihoods on these resources are dismayed thaWED AT ly disregarded.
Lack of fulfilment of the Strategic Plan 1997-2002 concerning the wise use of water and Resolution VII.18 concerning the management of hydrological basins. The Strategic Plan and Resolution VII.18 have not been implemented by many countries. Spain, for example, approved the National Hydrological Plan, which includes the construction of 110 large dams and several water diversion projects, without proper consideration of the precautionary approach and without establishing the minimum river flow necessary for wetlands conservation.

Concerning this issue of failure to implement past COP resolutions, we, we fully support the paragraph in Resolution 45 directing the Standing Committee to undertake a review of the effectiveness regarding Resolutions and Recommendations adopted by the previous three COPs.

Participation
Bearing in mind that the participation of indigenous peoples, local communities and NGOs is a cornerstone in the development and implementation of environmental treaties, we are very much concerned that very little action has been taken to ensure their effective participation in Ramsar, despite the fact that many references to the them is made in the text of the past two COPs and COP8. We regret the fact that most Contracting Parties have not instituted National Wetland Committees and we are not aware of any country where a National Wetlands Committee that includes representatives of indigenous peoples and local communities has been set up. The situation is even worst when it comes to reporting. As the Secretary General pointed out in the first day of the conference, it appears that no Contracting Party has undertaken a consultative process in the preparation of the national reports, despite that fact that they are urged to do so. It is also ironic that the Ramsar documents on cultural values that were presented in COP8 had been prepared out without adequate participation of indigenous peoples and local communities, who are the holders of living culture related to wetlands.

In terms of processes within COP8, we are deeply concerned by the fact that in some of the contact groups and regional meetings sessions, the representatives of local communities, indigenous peoples and NGOs were interrupted or were not given the opportunity to adequately express themselves. This situation needs to change otherwise indigenous peoples and local communities will remain marginalized decorative objects of the Convention.

We are grateful to witness that the convention is slowly recognizing the importance of traditional ecological knowledge and the need to involve local communities and indigenous peoples in wetlands management, but we are very concerned that the avenues for their effective involvement and participation are still very limited.

Infiltration of inappropriate vested interests in government delegations
With sadness we have to express our utmost disappointment in relation to the fact that some delegates are not here with the intention to promote the wise use and conservation of wetlands, but to ensure that destructive practices continue. Regrettably, the following two cases have come to our attention:
the only official delegate representing Honduras is an employee of a shrimp farm that local fishermen communities claim is negatively affecting their livelihoods and the ecology of the Gulf of Fonseca, which is the 1000th Ramsar site.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Korean Agricultural and Rural Infrastructure Corporation have actively promoted the Saemangeum reclamation project, which is the largest reclamation project in the world, and are here representing the South Korean government.
Distinguished delegates, we think that this is disgraceful as it goes against the spirit of the convention and puts in peril the Ramsar�s name and reputation.

In light of the above, we call upon the Contracting Parties to:

Adopt a genuine political will to address and regulate sectors and activities that negatively impact wetlands and local communities.
Constructively contribute to the Standing Committee�s review of the effectiveness regarding Resolutions and Recommendations adopted in previous COPs.
Consider the development of appropriate mechanisms to ensure that Resolutions and Recommendations are effectively implemented.
Set up National Wetland Committees that include representatives of indigenous peoples, local communities and NGOs.
Ensure that the next report of the Contracting Parties to Ramsar is prepared with the effective participation of indigenous peoples, local communities and NGOs.
Consider, as a task for COP9 to discuss, the participation of local communities� and indigenous peoples� representatives in the decision-making process of the Ramsar Bureau and in the Scientific and Technical Review Panel.
Ensure that the delegations representing the Contracting Parties are drawn from the most appropriate and relevant national agencies related to wetlands conservation and management.

Distinguished delegates,

Unfortunately, our spirit during the COP8 has also been dampened by the tragic news of the oil spill caused by the sinking of the Prestige ship on the coast of Galicia. While we were discussing and debating wetlands wise use, this major oil disaster has ruined the ecology and beauty of one of the best coastal areas of Spain. A few years ago, the world community was astonished by the Exxon Valdez catastrophe; the Prestige spilled a double amount of oil on the coast of Galicia, highlighting that we are still not learning from past mistakes and no appropriate regulations are implemented to avoid similar disasters. The dependence on fossil fuels is a threat to the whole planet but we become aware of this only when the thick black tide comes to shore. This should make us remember that the dependency on fossil fuels is a major cause of climate change, which in turn is a principal threat to wetlands. We would like to express our solidarity to the people of Galicia, who are directly suffering the consequences of the Prestige disaster.

We will carry these concerns with us to our respective countries while cultivating the hope that steps will be taken to convert the spirit of the Convention from words to action.

Representatives of Local Communiies, Indigenous Peoples and NGOs
participating at COP8

MAP WORKS

“MAP never sleeps …. nice to know that one of our MAPsters is always working, in some part of the world, day or night, holidays here or there..”
Jim Enright, MAP SE ASia Coordinator
==========

Tiwoho CCRC Moving Forward In Good Stride!

The laying of the first stone has taken place and was attended by the Bupati himself. (A Bupati is the government official between Mayor and Govenor, sort of a regency head) Work has progressed very quickly after the first stone was laid. The foundation is now finished and footings and the first story frame are being built. The construction team consists of all local Tiwoho workers. The women of Tiwoho have been volunteering their muscles by carrying loads of river stones, and sand to the work site. There has been a plea from a women’s group in Tiwoho to also put women to work on the building, and we are trying to figure out how to best incorporate them with our limited budget for construction labour.

The bamboo treatment facility is up and running. Fisherfolk leaders are running the treatment facility with guidance from Yayasan Kelola staff member Lucky Manoi who studied the process in Bali. The fisherfolk are excited that bamboo treatment will surely be able to supplement their fishing incomes, and also help with regards to sustainable development in the village. These are their own words, not just the hopeful reportings of a community development worker. An order for treated bamboo from the facility has already been placed from Bali. Also in January, Linda Garland the Director of the Environmental Bamboo Foundation and her staff will be visiting Tiwoho to teach a workshop on bamboo use, inventorying bamboo, bamboo harvesting, watersehd restoration using bamboo, integrated bamboo charcoal use and bamboo management.

The bamboo treatment facility was built with funds from IUCN, TRP Netherlands which were given for creating small, sustainable livelihood demonstrations.

We had to put in a well as water is short in the dry season and that is already in. The village never needed wells in the past, as a natural spring provided enough fresh water even in the dry season, however this year for the first time the spring ran dry. VIllagers blame clear cuts in the uplands which had been going on illegaly during the 90’s. Hopefully the bamboo restoration project will achieve its goal of regreening the watershed. Bamboo has the remarkable ability to create a full forest canopy and well developed root system only three years after planting.

There is also an article coming out in the Earth Island Institute
Journal which we will send shortly, and finally we got another $6750
from the CORAL Reef Alliance to make sure we have enough money for the second floor, which came out a little more expensive than we thought after calculations by the civil engineer.

Preparations are now underway to construct the Center’s Wastewater Gardens to ecologically handle the human and kitchen wastes. A site visit by Planetary Coral Reef Foundation is planned for January as well.

From: “Ben Brown”
[email protected]

==========
A Waste Water Garden Will Bloom At Tiwoho CCRC

The terrorist bombings in Bali, Indonesia on October 12, 2002 had slowed the progress of construction of the new Coastal Community Center in North Sulawesi, however, as of this writing, the situation there seems to have stabilized, and work is resuming on the construction. This will push the completion date (barring any further delays) out to early or mid May 2003.

Our project leader and MAP Indonesia Director, Ben Brown, reports that the center is turning out to be quite a good example of the sustainable development issues MAP promotes. When construction began, the concern over water treatment was raised by MAP�s executive director, Alfredo Quarto, since original plans did not specifically address the handling of waste water. After reviewing various methods, including pressurized septic tank, composting facilities and water treatment processes, we selected a method called Wastewater Gardens developed by the Biosphere Foundation for use in Biosphere2. These wastewater gardens are small-scale mock-ups of wetlands, using microbes and plants to filter and clean the water. Wastewater Gardens are a 100% ecological, low cost, low maintenance solution to the problem of human waste which is particularly important in coastal regions.� Using no mechanical or moving parts and no chemicals, all wastewater is recycled via a gravity system into elegant, biodiverse gardens which produce lovely flowers as well as fruit and vegetables that can be eaten by humans and fodder crops for animal consumption. The systems are carefully sealed so no wastewater contaminates the soil, ground water or coastal waters.

Wastewater Gardens have been successfully installed in Mexico, Bali, the Bahamas, Belize, France, Poland, the Philippines, the US and Australia. To date, the largest Wastewater Garden installed is located in the Xpu-Ha EcoPark near Akumal Mexico which recycles all the human waste produced by up to1500 visitors a day.

From: Sam
[email protected]

==========

MAP’s Study Tour Prepares For Sri Lanka Replanting

This year’s Mangrove Action Project Volunteer Study Tour Group is making final arrangements to travel to Sri Lanka for a volunteer replanting program in January, 2003. Currently there are 12 members from the U.S. and Australia who will be participating. We will be traveling to Sri Lanka to work with our partner NGO in the area, Small Fisher’s Federation of Sri Lanka, (SFFL) to learn about and help with their conservation efforts in Southern and Western Sri Lanka.

The first replanting area is Pambala/Chilaw Lagoon in the Puttalam district of Sri Lanka. Puttalam is the major shrimp producing district of Sri Lanka. This unsustainable industry has already destroyed more than 28 percent of the mangroves found there. More than 34 shrimp farms are operating in and around the lagoon. As these ponds become overburdened by over-stocking and diseases associated with farmed prawns, nearby mangroves are clear-cut to make new ponds. The old ponds are often left abandoned, and without human intervention, may take decades to recover.

Pambala/Chilaw Lagoon is especially ecologically and biologically important as it is the only lagoon in which 19 of the 29 native species of mangroves can be found in a single lagoon. SFFL began replanting this lagoon in 1994 and to date has replanted more than 300 hectares. During this tour, we will be planting more than 5000 mangrove seedlings in Pambala/Chilaw Lagoon. Nearby schools will assist us, sending some forty school children to help with the process.

Mangrove replanting will not be the only aspect of our visit to Sri Lanka. SFFL is involved with concerns of the coastal fisheries and their culture, and we will study not only mangroves, but the entire area of coastal resource conservation and management. After our stay at Pambala, we will travel south along the coast to observe the coral reefs and sea grasses to discover just how the mangroves have protected these beautiful and fragile systems, and the threats posed to corals by the removal of mangrove trees nearby.

Afterwards we will spend a few days in Kiralakele, where MAP & SFFL share a Mangrove Resource Center & Botanical Garden. We’ll have a chance to see the nurseries from which seedlings are harvested for replanting efforts. Volunteers will take part in the second half of the replanting tour by preparing seedlings for the next replanting effort. While staying in the center, volunteers are encouraged to participate in home stays with the villagers. Home visits with fisher folk will give volunteers a chance to personally become acquainted with the issues of day to day life in coastal fishing villages of Sri Lanka, and perhaps even make some life long friendships.

Following our visit to Sri Lanka, those volunteers who are interested, may continue their tour as we return to Bangkok and journey by overnight train to Trang, where we will visit MAP’s S.E. Asian Office, headed by Mr. Jim Enright. Speakers from local universities and other Non-Governmental Organizations will speak on the issues surrounding coastal tidal conservation, and what is being done to conserve and protect these complex and little understood wetland forests.

A complete report of our tour will be published in February’s LFN

From: Sam Nugent, Tour Director
[email protected]

==============

Mangrove Curriculum Workshops Concludes In Honduras

Martin Keeley recently returned from conducting a very successful 3-day mangrove workshop with 29 teachers in Honduras. This
workshop was a combined presentation, with the Honduran NGO, CODDEFFAGOLF, providing on-ground logistics support at their west coast HQ in San Lorenzo, CORALINA providing the translation and adaptation of the curriculum materials, as well as a translator in the person of Fanny Howard, who was the co-presenter at the workshop, and Martin Keeley representing MAP, of course.

MAP wishes to thank both Biolabs and Ramsar for their past generous support for this project, and now look forward to initiating phase 2 of the Curriculum development effort that will enable MAP to work with the teachers in both Hnoduras and San Andres to present peer workshops and spread the materials throughout both countries.

From Martin A.Keeley, Education Director, Mangrove Action Project
E-mail:
[email protected]

==========

MAP Gets Volunteer Help To Translate LFN into Indonesian Language

MAP is quite grateful for the help of Mia in translating our bi-weekly Late Friday News into Indonesian language for our associates in Indonesia. This service is importat in getting the word out in a clearer, more digestable form. We would like to thank Ben Brown and especially MIa for their good help in making this happen now!

AFRICA

Tanzania

Tanzania: Improving forest management through joint management with communities

Many independent states have shown little interest in revitalizing local level systems of authority, which were purposely destroyed by past colonial regimes. The new independent governments, just like past colonial regimes do not like very much the idea of local political forces challenging its legitimacy. Thus, many forests became the property of the state, as in the case of Tanzania. This responsibility was assumed by the Tanzanian state despite other pressing problems like: governance, economic development, self reliance and political stability. As such meager resources were mostly directed towards these causes and managing forests was not accorded priority and they were left to deteriorate.

Much attention to reform management of natural resources like forests has focused on either increasing powers and responsibilities on the government or privatization. Rarely has attention focused on management of resources by communities or managing them as common property, been considered. Communities can achieve this aim with the help -rather than control- from the government. This is the idea being proposed in the new forest policy: making communities responsible for managing forest resources as common
property, in Tanzania whenever possible.

Widespread people’s participation in forest management, owning the forests as common property, is the current thinking towards forest management. Common property refer to a particular property rights arrangement in which a group of resources users share rights and duties toward a resource. This term therefore refers to social institutions, and not to any inherent natural or physical quality of the resource.

In this arrangement, a particular group of individuals share rights to a resource, e.g a forest. User rights are common to a specified group of individuals, not to all. Thus, common property is not access open to all but access limited to a specified group of users who hold their rights in common. When the group of individuals and property rights they share are well defined, common property should be classified as a form of shared private property. The property rights in a common-property regime can be very clearly specified, they are by definition exclusive to the co-owners (members of the user group), they are secure if they receive appropriate legal support from the government.

It can be noted that while the Tanzanian government and international agencies have overestimated their own capabilities for forest management, they have underestimated the value of local governance over those resources. Local communities who depend on forests for many commodities and services not just timber, are more sensitive to their protective functions and the wide variety of goods available from them in sustainable harvest. But when the governments overrule traditional use rights to forests, local communities and individual households are unable, and less
willing to prevent destructive encroachment or overexploitation. In
effect, these de jure state forests are turned into de facto open access. Environmental degradation can occur where there is an increasing lack of synchrony between the community and its natural environment, and the implied solution is to restore harmony to environment-society relations.

Restoring or awarding such rights to local groups would induce them to attend to the possibilities of sustainable long term production from the forests. Sustainability of forests depends on local rules, use patterns, and incentives created by international, regional, national and local institutions. Indeed, if ecological conditions are the same, major structural and biological differences between local patches of forests may be almost completely the consequence of human rules and use patterns.

Statements of intent on global environmental problems issued in the 1992 Earth Summit, including Agenda 21 and the Desertification Convention, strongly advocate as solutions a combination of government decentralization, devolution to local communities of responsibility of natural resources held as commons, and community participation.

According to the new forest policy, to abolish open access in public
lands, covering more than 19 million hectares in Tanzania, clear ownership for all forests and trees on those lands need be defined. The allocation of forests and their management responsibility to villages, private individuals or to government will be promoted. Central, local and village governments may demarcate and establish new forest reserves.

Communities are best suited to manage and regulate resource use because of four main reasons, which are:

1. Empowering a community to manage and regulate the use of a resource will reduce the pressure on the resource because by the mere fact that it is owned by a certain community it will not be an open access. Potentially, there are many users of a resource e.g. a forest and if one group retain exclusive use of a resource there is high possibility that more sustainable practices are likely to be implemented.

2. A community living near a resource and depending on it for livelihood, and knowing that it will enjoy the benefits of the resource for a long time, is more likely to refrain from misusing it. People rooted in one locality which they call home, will use a resource more careful because if they deplete it they have nowhere else to go. They are different from a commercial corporation which is always on the move, and depletion of a resource in one place means moving to another place and continue with the same trend.

3. The limited resources of governments in terms of personnel and finance to police resources means that this task is better placed in the hands of local people which will do it for their own benefit with no burden of payment on the part of the government.

4. Traditional users of a biotic resource like a forest are more likely
to have developed techniques which will enable them to use the resource sustainably. Other groups or companies with less knowledge of the resource are more likely to exploit the resource to extinction with the aim of short term gains.

Extracted from: “Forest policy changes in Tanzania: towards community participation in forest management”, Vincent B.M.S. Kihiyo, Sokoine University of Agriculture, e-mail: [email protected] ,
WEBSITE

From: WRM Bulletin #64
Teresa Perez
[email protected]

ASIA

S.E. ASIA

Thailand

Scientist’s input could help save Koh Chang

Expert knowledge could ensure tourism remains sustainable
Knowledge about biodiversity is crucial to the development of tourism, the country’s major source of foreign income.

However, not everybody realises that. So recently a number of leading scientists _ namely, Prof Visut Baimai of the Biodiversity Research and Training Programme (BRT), Prof Kanchanaparch Lewmanomon of Kasetsart University, Dr Thaweesakdi Boonkerd of Chulalongkorn University, Dr Sompoad Srikosamatara of Mahidol University and Dr Chaweewan Hutacharoen of the Forest Department _ held an academic discussion to explain how such knowledge could help the government’s tourism development plan for Koh Chang to become genuinely sustainable.

Other than the beaches for which Koh Chang and the nearby islets are already famous, this archipelago off Trat province is also rich in flora and fauna which, through proper promotion and conservation, could serve as travel highlights for visitors. The scientists cited fireflies as an example.

The light-emitting insects are still thriving at some of the island’s remaining mangrove forests. Watching their romantic light displays on a small boat would be a memorable experience for tourists and the trips would create extra income for local fishermen at the same time.

Some might think building wooden walkways into the mangrove forests for the purpose would also be a nice idea, but according to Dr Chaweewan, that wouldn’t be good for the ecosystem as the construction would require cutting trees.

Besides, firefly larvae feed on snails. If these snails and their mushy habitats are stomped flat under the feet of construction workers, the fireflies aren’t going to survive.

She also added that planting more trees in degraded mangrove forests doesn’t necessarily mean the number of fireflies in the area will increase too _ unless you plant the right species of trees.

Trees with large leaves, she explained, hinder the fireflies’ light signals. Their special means of communication is more effective in airy foliage.

From: “John Rubin”
bangkokpost.com

==========

THAI-MALAYSIAN GAS PIPELINE

Petition fails to get PM to change mind– Songkhla protesters to prevent project’s implementation

Yuwadee Tunyasiri bangkokpost.com

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday rejected academics’ call for a review of the Thai-Malaysian gas pipeline. Mr Thaksin said he had repeatedly explained why his government decided to go ahead with the project. Without new information warranting a review, he preferred not to delay the scheme.

On Sunday, 1,384 academics signed a petition calling for a review of the project, saying its contract gave co-partner Malaysia an advantage over Thailand. The project also failed an environmental impact assessment, they said. They also argued the country already had a surplus of energy supply and did not really need the gas pipeline. They cited survey findings that showed 80% of residents of Songkhla province, the project site, believed the project would adversely affect their livelihood, and that 59% of respondents wanted it scrapped.

Mr Thaksin said yesterday the government remained open to constructive suggestions but “for now there will be no change in the project”. There were reports that some protesters in Songkhla had armed themselves to fight efforts to implement the project.
Alisa Manla, a protest leader, said the project operators had not yet come to the project site, now strongly guarded by local villagers.
Mrs Alisa denied rumours that the protest was losing support.

Prasart Meetaem, a scientist at Prince of Songkhla University, said the government’s decision to relocate the project five kilometres north of Lan Hoi Siab, the original site, would not do much good for the environment. Somboon Pornpinatepong, of the university’s engineering faculty, said what the South really needed was a master plan to ensure optimum use of the region’s rich resources.
The South should be developed in ways that would promote its tourism and small industries using the region’s resources such as seafood, palm oil, natural rubber and other crops.

Senator Kaewsan Atipho demanded the government say clearly what industries it planned to develop that could use up about a trillion cubic metres of natural gas to be produced under the pipeline project.

“We want the government to tell the people how it plans to develop the lower South, and whether gas supply is really needed for such development projects,” he said.

There was much concern the South could end up like the eastern seaboard, now plagued with the problem of how to effectively dispose of hazardous industrial waste, the senator said. The government had to clear up these doubts or anti-pipeline protests would escalate, he warned.

Senate environment committee chairman Panat Tasneeyanond said his panel had yet to receive government clarifications on reports that Thailand would gain little benefit from the pipeline project, compared to Malaysia. The panel also found it hard to believe that the project would not give rise to related industries that would be powered by natural gas, he said.

From: “MAP / S.E. Asia”
[email protected]

==========

Indonesia

The destruction of Indon mangrove, swamps and peatlands rife: NGO

The Jakarta Post, November 14, 2002

The country’s wetlands, such as mangrove forests, swamps, and peatlands, have significantly declined in total area from 42.5 million hectares in 1987 to 33.8 million hectares this year, the Wetlands International-Indonesia Program said on Tuesday. The destruction of wetlands has caused a number of disasters in the country including annual flooding, drought, and loss of biodiversity, they said.

“Wetlands have been altered in many places; for example, mangrove forests have been changed into fishponds, swamps into residential areas, and lakes into roads.

“The conversion is a result of poor understanding among people and poor policy from the government,” Wetlands program director Dibyo Sartono said at a workshop on wetland policy strategy. The non-governmental organization estimated the decline in mangrove forest area to be from 3.2 million hectares in 1986 to 2.4 million in 1996, due to their conversion into fishponds.

Peatlands in the country have also dropped to less than 16 million hectares this year, from 20.7 million hectares in 1990, due to the expansion of agricultural areas and plantations, Dibyo said. In Jakarta, 50 percent of its wetlands had been cleared for houses and
buildings, roads and other facilities, he said.

“To date, the destruction of wetlands has become even more rampant as local governments, which enjoy more power under the regional autonomy law, issue policies that damage wetlands,” Dibyo said. According to the 1971 Ramsar Convention, a wetland is defined as swampy areas, peatlands, water catchment areas, and seawater areas with a depth of less than 6 meters at low tide.

Indonesia, which ratified the convention in 1991, has two locations which are classified as International Ramsar sites: Berbak National Park in Jambi and Danau Sentarum Protected Park for Animals in West Kalimantan. In order to manage its own wetlands under the Ramsar Convention, Indonesia established a national commission to handle their wetlands in 1994, but the commission did not work well due to poor coordination among the relevant ministries.

Dibyo said the government must re-integrate a wetland management policy to reduce the current destruction rate of wetlands.

“We can’t leave it to the local governments, as wetlands are usually located across several regencies. If we leave the policy to regional
administrations, they will only issue policies that create losses for other regions,” he said. He added that the current national commission must be given more power and authority to manage wetlands and it must also set up branches at the
regional level to monitor and to supervise the implementation of the policy.

Hajrul Junaid of the Indonesian NGO Network for Forest Conservation (SKEPHI) agreed that the country’s wetlands were severely damaged, and that it needed an integrated policy from the central government.

“The government must move quickly, however, because there are obvious threats to the wetlands,” he said.

Widodo S. Ramono, director of conservation areas at the Ministry of
Forestry, and Liana Bratasida, Deputy State Minister of the Environment for environmental protection, welcomed the idea to revise the national commission’s role in managing wetlands.

“I think the new function of the commission must be formulated by both government officials and the public to create a solid policy,” Liana said.

From: “Ben Brown”
[email protected]

==========

From: Russ Cullinane
mailto:[email protected]
September 15, 2002 6:41 AM

Reclamation of northern coast only produces new problems

Source: Kompas, September 09, 2002, Jakarta

The provincial administration of Jakarta’s plans to proceed with reclamation of the 32 kilometer long northern coastline will only bring along a series of new problems for citizens in the capital and the surroundings. Some of these are killer floods which will inundate a large part of Jakarta, which will leave thousands of fishermen without an income, a damaged eco system, and destruction of the water system in that area. These matters were
revealed by environment and conservation experts of the Forestry Department, Transtoto Handhardi and Hydrology Expert and General Director of the Indonesia Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), Wiwik Awiati, when they were both contacted on separate occasions Sunday, in Bogor and Jakarta.

Reclamation does not exist in district Rules covering the General Layout of 1960-1985 and of the period 1985-2005 as well. However. something strange happened later, which was presented in the form of Presidential Instruction No. 52 in 1995 for the Reclamation of the Jakarta Northern Coast. “The public has rejected the plan, they may demand annulment of the Instruction. ICEL is also coordinating with other environmental organizations to charge the reclamation. One of the strong methods to charge the French company is through environmental organizations for the sake of protecting the
environment of the surroundings,” said Wiwik Awiati.

Camouflage
Transtoto reminded the province of Jakarta that reclamation development will transform the Jakarta northern coastline into the likes of Pantai Indah Kapuk (PIK) IInd which is threatening the ecosystem in the surroundings. “Floods will engulf the lower classes unhindered, those who live below the waterline,” he said adding: “Damage will also occur in the coastal ecosystem which will lead to a change of ecology structure.” He drew attention on businesses operating under the pretext of reclamation business. Reclamation
is done with the purpose of restructuring destroyed coasts and to restore the coast into its proper functioning capacity. Ideally, this should not become the main objective of the Northern Coastal Reclamation Project.

The Jakarta Province, said Transtoto, is indeed profiting in a big way from the reclaimed shore in question. New fields in Jakarta’s northern coast measure 2.700 hectare or 27.000.000 square meters which are to be transformed into commercial areas and elite housing estates, will of course bring in large profits when sold to businessmen. With minimal land prices of Rp.2 million per square meter, Transtoto said, a capital of Rp.50 trillion will be made at least. That is not including sales value, commercial service
and buildings.

“It is not surprising if the respective developers
relentlessly go after government to get a piece of the project that has been given an all round covert, Transtoto said. On the other hand, development of this elite ground will be the cause of forever growing social differences. Criminal activities will almost certainly be on the rise. “We have to watch the reclamated shoreline which is offering an undercover business trend that is very new. If let alone, the situation will deteriorate and spread to areas outside Jakarta like, Surabaya and Semarang,” Transtoto said.

Scraping sand from the shore, will also create a problem in other places. Said Transtoto, where do you think did they get land fill in millions of cubic meters. “If only a part has been taken from river areas of Central Ciliwung as originally planned, decrease of ground water in that environment would not have come to present conditions,” Transtoto said. Other areas from which the land surface has been scraped off, also suffer from the same problem besides a decrease of fertile agricultural land and other damage of
the environment. Bandung Technology Institute lecturer and Hydrologist expert, Arwin Sabar estimates that reclamation will only damage the water system of 10.000 hectare of coastal area. Reclamated fields of 1,5 kilometer width towards the sea and 2,6 meters above the lowest sea level. This would imply that 13 rivers which come out in the Jakarta Bay will be lengthened with 1,5 kilometers while river bottoms will be sloping steeply.

Arwin said that as a result of reclamation, river water slowwly flows to sea causing sedimentation in no time and frequent dredging. Rivers coming out in the Jakarta Bay contain poisonous waste (B3). Chairman of the Coastal Public Forum of Jakarta, Didit Eko mentions that social differences will occur among fishermen who have been evicted from their domains and reclaimed land dwellers. Fishermen will never be able to buy up reclaimed land which is to costly for them. To make a switch in profession, said Didit Eko, will not be
so easy. “These people have been fishermen for generations, they are very close to the sea,” said Didit.

From: “Ben Brown”
[email protected]

==========

Malaysia

The Star: 12 November 2002
Hillary Chiew

New life for mangroves
PROMPTED by the realisation that once the mangrove forest is gone, so too will their livelihood and heritage of living off the sea, a group of traditional fishermen in Penang have gotten together to revitalise the state’s coastal zone.

“We started the first mangrove replanting project in Kuala Sungai Pinang in 1997 with a few hundred saplings,” says P. Balan, advisor and coordinator of the Penang Inshore Fishermen Welfare Association (Pifwa). “The fishing community of Balik Pulau took the initiative to plant the mangrove trees after our protest against the destruction and de-gazetting of mangrove areas for aquaculture development was ignored.

“The project has opened the eyes of the public to the existence of mangrove forests in Penang and highlighted their fragile state in the face of development.

“Our efforts have prompted the state government to consider gazetting the remaining 450ha of mangrove areas in the state. Currently, only 450ha have been gazetted as forest reserve.”
To date, the association has replanted 27,000 mangrove saplings on cleared but abandoned mangrove forests, both on the island and in Seberang Prai on the mainland.

Balan points out that, in some places, aquaculture operators cleared more than they needed to construct their ponds, resulting in abandoned plots. At this point, the association steps in to rejuvenate the barren mudflat. With a handful of Rhizofora (bakau kurap) saplings, Pifwa stalwart Saidin Hussain, 72, leads a group of 10 fishermen from Sungai Chenaam, Seberang Prai, into the mudflats as they attempt to cover every single plot of deforested mangrove swamp with saplings. In fact, the replanting is to replace saplings which were planted in January but died from crab attacks, says Saidin who is also the association’s chairman. Prior to this, Pifwa had planted 12,000 saplings in the Sungai Chenaam vicinity which sustains a few fishing communities along the river.

“The sea is just beyond this little patch of api-api mangrove forest,” says Saidin, pointing to the row of Avicennia trees which act as a buffer between land and sea, underscoring the importance of mangroves in checking coastal erosion. “We are told that if the saplings are allowed to grow, the forest will be back in 15 years. Judging from how well the earlier batch of saplings is doing, I think our efforts will bear fruit,” enthuses Saidin.

Balan explains that the group receives moral and basic technical support from the US-based Mangrove Action Project, a non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering coastal communities in restoring degraded mangrove swamps.
“So far, we have not had any professional assistance but a mangrove expert from the University of Washington visited the replanted area of Sg Chenaam in January and confirmed that the saplings were doing well. We’re relieved that we got it right,” he adds.

The group has since intensified its efforts south of Seberang Prai, following assurance from the local district council that the replanted zone would not be turned over to developers.
Having learnt their lesson from an incident in Kuala Sungai Pinang in which an expanding prawn farm destroyed their replanted mangroves, Pifwa members would now check with aquaculture farmers in the vicinity before carrying out any replanting

Grassroots awareness
The replanting exercise has raised awareness among many fishermen of the importance of this unique and often misunderstood wetland.
“I used to think that mangrove swamps were just mud and some unimportant trees but my involvement in replanting and interacting with other fishermen has changed my outlook. I began to see the connection between the mangrove and the sea which I rely on for my livelihood. I understand that it is the birthplace of the fish and prawns which I catch at sea,” says Pifwa secretary Rousli Ibrahim, echoing the sentiments of his peers.

Balan, who began the mangrove awareness campaign with the fisherfolk in 1995, concedes that the fishermen have indeed come a long way. These days, the fishermen will themselves extol the benefits of protecting the mangrove and they are keen to share their knowledge with the public. As part of its outreach programme, the association has accepted requests from school nature clubs to join in its replanting projects.

“If we do not highlight the need for restoration, sustainable use and protection of biodiversity, the inshore fishermen will be gravely affected and the state will lose its natural heritage,” asserts Balan.

Community-based organisation
As a community-based organisation, Pifwa reacts to issues affecting inshore fishermen. Activities and projects are planned and implemented by the fishermen in a strategy that involves stakeholders, to protect the very environment that they are dependent on.

Since its inception in 1994, Pifwa has been tireless in its efforts to raise awareness of the plight of inshore fishermen hard hit by encroaching trawlers, pollution, coastal erosion, depleting fish stock, fluctuating fish price, mangrove destruction, sea reclamation and conflict with the aquaculture industry.

“While other fishermen organisations provide petrol and housing subsidies, Pifwa concentrates on preserving the fertility of the sea with the understanding that if the fish is there, the fishermen can continue to fish,” reasons Saidin.
However, the upfront attitude of the fishermen does not go down well with the authorities and they are looked upon as a threat by other fishermen organisations. Balan clarifies that the association strives to engage in a participatory and non-confrontational approach with the fishing community, relevant government agencies and the private sector.

To protect traditional fishing methods used by inshore fishermen, the association has even carried out research on traditional fishing equipment.
The findings were documented and published in a book titled Nelayan Pantai Pulau Pinang: Keunikan Alat-alat Tangkapan Tradisional (Penang Inshore Fishermen: The Uniqueness of Traditional Fishing Gear).

Pifwa has gained international support and recognition for its pioneering work in mangrove replanting. Association members have been invited to conferences overseas to share their experiences in empowering stakeholders of the coastal environment. Recently the association won Ford Motor Company’s environmental monetary award to boost efforts in mangrove replanting. The award carried a monetary value of RM18,000. – By Hilary Chiew

=====
NOTE: The above article comes from the PIFWA website website which is regularly updated. There is the latest press statement on the disappearance of fish species in Penang waters, a pictorial report on the January Eco-Study Tour, an article on ‘tongkah’, a unique traditional fishing equipment and an article on PIFWA’s struggle as appeared in the local English daily.

From: P. BALAN, Advisor / Coordinator
Penang Inshore Fishermen Welfare Association “PIFWA”
[email protected]

==========

Vietnam

News article 19 Nove 2002

Viet Nam baits world market with mass African fish exports

HA NOI – Viet Nam aims to be rearing 200,000 tonnes African tilapia fish by 2010. Half of these will be exported, hopefully earning US$160 million each year.

The Government hopes to produce 30,000 tonnes of African tilapia next year. Half of these will be exported, earning $24 million. To help this fantastic dream come true, technology will have to be completely updated to attract more international support and investment. Viet Nam has signed an agreement with the Norwegian Government to improve fish breeding and research across the nation. The Norwegian Government will pay $2 million to help achieve this.

Since 1993 the relevant ministry has been importing high quality African tilapia that can easily adapt to the local environment. This kind of fish breeding has many advantages. The fish are cheap, grow quickly, can cope with cold temperatures and are fairly resistant to disease.

Artificially unisexed fish

In 1996, the institute started creating unisexed fish. This intriguing step forward will allow every baby-fish to be born male and to weigh more. Between 1996 amd 2000, the fisheries sector transported 20 million fish from the south to the north. The fish are not too much trouble to raise and they can be either intensively or semi-intensively farmed in cages or rice fields. Experiments in different provinces suggest that the African fish grow 30 per cent faster than local fish. This means that the southern provinces can have two fish harvests a year, whilst farmers in the north can raise them along with shrimp, crabs and other fish.

Many provinces are breeding genetically modified tilapias. Earlier this year, 25 provinces signed contracts to receive 625,000 fish produced by the institute. The institute has worked in co-operation with HCM City’s Agriculture and Forestry University to open training courses for improving fish quality in 20 provinces and cities including Ha Noi, Ha Tay, Nghe An, Da Nang, HCM City and Ben Tre. – VNS

From: “John Rubin”
[email protected]

==========

Cambodia

Cambodia uses security forces to violently disperse forest community

Representatives of communities living in and around forest concessions went to the Department of Forestry and Wildlife (DFW) this morning to submit a letter asking for DFW to organize a workshop on strategic management plans and environmental and social impact assessments submitted by concessionaires in Cambodia.

In the morning the community representatives were met by the deputy director of DFW Chea Sam Ang who refused to accept the request and threatened three of the representatives (“Be careful, something might happen to you and no one will be responsible for
it”) Community representatives returned to DFW in the afternoon and were told that their letter was illegal as it was only a photocopy and was not countersigned by commune council members.

Community representatives stayed all afternoon outside the building of DFW waiting for a response on the workshop. At about 6:40 pm this evening, four trucks of armed military police, police and the elite force flying tigers arrived in front of DFW. As they approached the community representatives, they blew into their whistles and shouted that whomever did not run away immediately would be arrested and proceeded to beat them with batons and electrical. As anticipated, the crowd did disperse.

At the time of writing 8 people, including one disabled woman are still missing. Approximately a dozen people were injured. At this stage it is not known whether anyone requires hospitalization,
aside from the person with a broken foot.

Ironically tomorrow DFW is organizing a workshop presenting an assessment of donor funded initiatives on… community forestry.

Eva Galabru, Global Witness
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
PO Box 501
855 (0) 23 219 478
www.globalwitness

From: “ECOTERRA Intl.”
[email protected]

==========

S. ASIA

India

***ACTION ALERT!!!***
November 14, 2002

Fishermen Drown as Forest Officials Chase them out into the Stormy Seas

Forest officials of Jambudwip in West Bengal, India, on the afternoon of 12th November, 2002, in violation of all humane norms, stopped the fishermen entering the island’s channels to save their lives and boats from the devastating storm, resulting in several of them being drowned along with their boats. The Forest officials also destroyed fishing equipment worth one crore (10 million). So far 40 fishermen are confirmed dead and many more missing.

World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP), National Fish Workers’ Forum (NFF) and the National Alliance of Peoples’ Movement (NAPM) condemn this BARBAROUS behavior of the forest officials and demand that these officials should be prosecuted for MURDER. Instead of protecting the lives of their citizens these Government Forest officials are killing and murdering them. All those who believe in INDIAN CONSTITUTION must come together to condemn
this barbaric behavior of the government officials. We must come together to stop this kind of actions and see that these officials are put behind bars.

All over the World people must rise up to protest against this.
We also sympathize with all those who lost their lives and boats.
All over India and in the World let us work together to stop these kinds of human rights violations and atrocities on the working people. We demand immediate punishment of the forest officials and compensation for the families who lost their breadwinners.
We must take over JAMBUDWIP AND CHASE OUT THE FOREST OFFICIALS IMMEDIATELY.
Thomas Kocherry
For WFFP /NFF /NAPM

==========
AMBUDWIP DAY ON NOVEMBER 21, 2002

World Forum of Fisher Peoples(WFFP)

A contingent of 30 fishing vessels led by Sri Harekrishna Debnath, President, National Fishworkers’ Forum with hundreds of fishermen has approached Jambudwip today to establish their traditional rights to fishing activities on the island. It is learnt that the forest guards have refused their entry and the fishermen have started an indefinite squatting till they are not allowed passage by the authorities.

PLEASE SEND fax messages immediately to the following :

Please note the Fax numbers and send your concern on Jambudwip immediately to:

1. Buddhadev Bhattacharya,
Chief Minister of West Bengal,
Writers Building,
Kolkata.
Fax: 033-2145480.
2. Prime Minister of India, New Delhi,
Fax: 011-3016857 / 011-3018906.

3. Kiranmay Nanda, Minister of Fisheries, West Bengal,
Fax: 033- 2143929.

4. T. R. Balu,
Minister of Environment and Forest,
New Delhi, 0.
Fax: 011-4362222.

5. Sri. M.K. Jiwrajka,
( IG-Forest, MoEF New delhi ,
Secretary. CEC
Fax Number : 011 4363976

Sister Cecily Plathottam

From: “wffp”
[email protected]

==========

Bangladesh

Crab Fattening Ponds Sprout in Bangladesh

Crab is an edible aquatic resource that plays a vital role in earning foreign currency of Bangladesh. In 1977, for the first time Bangladesh exported living crab and earned US$ 2000 (approx). In 1992-93 this earning jumped up to US$ 3780000 and later in 1999-2000 it raises more from this sector.

Crab is available in Australia, Asia, and Africa. In the World, 133 crab species are found. In Bangladesh 15 crab species have been identified of which 11sp. are marine and fresh water crab sp. number are four. Among marine species, seven sp. are found in the Sundarban mangrove coastal water of Bangladesh of which Mud Crab (hybo or shila kakra); Fiddler Crab (lal kakra); Horse Shoe Crab (shagor kakra); and Swimming Crab (sataru kakra) are notable. Among various species, Mud Crab is found in abundance and its weight ranges 25 gm.- 2 kg. About 50000 people of Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira coastal region depends on this resource by consuming, selling and exporting crabs that are harvested from the rivers and canals of coastal belt. October – February is the high time for crab harvesting. According to a statistics of Sundarban Division of Forest Department 610 metric ton crab was harvested from Sundarban between 1995-2000

People from different nations eat crab and has got demand since crab contains 71-74% water; 19-24% protein; 6%fat; 1-2%minerals but high demand poses on egg bearing female crabs due to its taste so is costly.

Crab ranks immediately after shrimp in earning foreign currency but neither the government nor non-government agencies have properly addressed for its development although Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI) and The World Conservation Union (IUCN)- Bangladesh’s research initiates are praiseworthy.

No proper attention unlike economical importance is given by now on sustainable development of this precious resource. No records are been kept on the number of crab species that we harvest, consume and export. No investigation on the Sundarban crab species whether there are endangered sp. or not and what are the causes behind endangered ness.

So there is an urgent need to protect the remaining nature and environment by creating and raising awareness among the concerned communities on the sustainable use of resources and know the extraction limits thereby ensure the occupational ethics for crab harvesters themselves and future generation.

Realizing the threat to crab resource and Sundarban mangrove forest the Centre for Coastal Environmental Conservation (CCEC), a Khulna based environmental NGO therefore come forward to speak on behalf of deaf Nature, Sundarban, an interrelation between the life and death of the coastal communities specially for the stakeholders of Sundarban and undertakes a yearlong ( April 2002 – March 2003 ) project title “Sundarban conservation through crab fattening by Batiaghata harvesters participation” in cooperation with KEIDANREN Nature Conservation Fund (KNCF), Japan.

The aims and objectives of the programme are;
Protect Yellow Monitor Lizard, a rare species, killed for being used as bait for crab harvesting
Conserve endangered crab species of Sundarban
Raise the production of Sundarban crab through fattening by Batiaghata harvesters
Initiative for emancipation of crab community from middleman exploitation

In order to achieve the goals, the CCEC has undertaken various activities such as;

Making a list of Batiaghata crab harvesters for the formation of Crab Association
Establishment of a crab depot at Andharia project site and
Leasing ponds for fattening activities of molting crab
From: “Mowdudur Rahman”
[email protected]

==========

A Concept of Coastal Development Partnership-(CDP)

There are many Tidal Wetlands in the Southwest Region of Bangladesh, which possess the following characteristics. :

Some of the Wetlands are brackish, while some others show Mangrove characteristics. Fresh water is found for a part of the year in most of the wetlands in the upstream areas to the north. But the wetlands in the downstream or southern areas remain brackish throughout the year, and the vegetation in and around them belongs to the mangrove species.

In the eastern part of the brackish zone, salinity is less, compared to the western portion. The Sundarbans located in the Southernmost part of the Southwest region and the Tidal wetland region within and immediately surrounding it possess a rich diversity of life forms, and the soil is highly fertile.

The Mangroves thrive in a delicate balance of fresh and saline water, and are very sensitive to changes in environment. The wetlands are also highly productive. But an appropriate outlook/project for the conservation and management of these Tidal Wetlands had never been developed or implemented in the past. The importance of the Tidal Wetlands has never been realised. During the decade of the 1960’s, the Coastal Embankment Project (CEP) was implemented. The principal concept was to transform this region into an extension of the mainland. As a result, large portions of the brackish tidal wetlands were converted into fresh water rice fields.

While constructing roads and highways in this region, tidal wetlands were never given any importance at all. As a result, a large portion of the tidal wetlands became separated from the downstream tidal flows, became stagnant water bodies, and their mangrove productivity decreased and was gradually lost.

On the basis of increasing international demand, industrial shrimp cultivation has expanded in a big way in these tidal wetland areas. This continuing expansion of industrial shrimp cultivation is changing the tidal wetland characteristics and degrading the ecosystem of the region.

The government policies in respect of conservation of tidal wetlands are not clear. The government authorities do not perceive any difference between wetlands and tidal wetlands. As a result, the government leases out these tidal wetlands to private entrepreneurs for fish cultivation. Generally monoculture of fish is practiced in these leased wetlands. All these have resulted in massive damage to the tidal wetlands of this region.

Most villages in this region are situated around these tidal wetlands, which have a close traditional relationship with the lifestyle of the rural people. These highly productive tidal wetlands fulfill many of the daily needs of the rural population.

* The tidal wetlands used to be considered as common property. But at present the common people generally do not have any rights to them. The importance of conserving the tidal wetlands is a comparatively new concept among the development partners of the region. There is also a debate going on as to what the appropriate conservation outlook should be.

In the light of these realities, CDP and its partner organizations are trying to develop an appropriate outlook and methodology for the conservation of the tidal wetlands. Accordingly, CDP wants to move ahead on the basis of the traditional knowledge of the people, who have been adapting themselves to the environment through generations, and have accumulated a huge fund of traditional wisdom.

Edited by : Anwar Firoze.
On behalf of Coastal Development Partnership (CDP)
[email protected]

==========

LOSING BATTLE FOR ROYAL CATS

by Anwar Firoze
The Royal Bengal Tiger is losing its battle for survival as poaching of tigers and their natural prey, the spotted deer in the so called “protected” Sundarban continues unabated. Making a mockery of UNESCO’s declaration of the Sundarbans as a World Hedritage Site, a section of poachers in league with a group of smugglers including certain foreigners with diplomatic immunity are engaged in the trade of tiger and body parts of these protected animals, experts said. An investigation carried out by wildlife experts and The Daily Star shows that a gang including some forest and police officials has been active in the trade of this precious merchandise, which has a lucrative market in the capital as well as in Khulna and other parts of southwestern Bangladesh.

Tiger skin prices vary depending on the size. An 8′ long skin brings from US $ 1000 to US $ 1600 in Dhaka, while that of a typical spotted deer brings upto US $ 300 in Dhaka.. A home-bound East European diplomat scheduled to leave Dhaka sometime this month is reportedly about to smuggle out several tiger skins, hiding them inside his luggage, sources are claimed to have said.

Reports said that anyone willing to take the risk could even buy tiger cubs in Khulna where deals are struck in a few posh hotels. According to experts, poachers operate at different levels deep inside the Sundarbans, which has been declared a protected area where the hunting of tigers and deer is prohibited under the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1974. One group of poachers only hunt the animals, another group provides them with logistic support while a third group maintains liaison with the concerned officials for security cover,

According to Mr. Khasru Chowdhury, an expert on the Sundarbans, tigers are usually hunted down with a deadly pesticide. He is reported to have seen dead dogs laced with endrine, a deadly pesticide, wrapped in polythene to be used later as bait. After digging a pit and filling it up with water, the dead dogs are put on a heap of earth beside the pit. When the tiger eats the poisoned dog, the ingested pesticide makes the animal thirsty, and the tiger gulps down water from the pit. The water coming into contact with the poison inside the tiger’s stomach activates the toxin and the tiger begins to choke and finally dies. This method is preferred to shooting, which leaves marks on the skin, reducing its value.

Another device is a trap made of nylon cord. A noose is formed and when a tiger is trapped in the noose, every effort made by the tiger tightens the noose, until finally it dies. Mr. Anisuzzaman Khan, a wildlife biologist working on the Sundarban Bio-diversity Conservation Project on behalf of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is reported to have recently brought a sample of such a trap which he had seen strewn all along the trails used by tigers in the Sundarbans.

Mr. Khasru Chowdhury, who reportedly spends a considerable portion of the year in the Sundarbans, is reported to have stated that venison is openly sold at rural markets throughout the districts of Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira @ Taka 70.00 (about US $ 1.15) per kilogram. Some people even place advance orders with the deer hunters for weddings and other festivities, where it is perceived as a status symbol ! The fallout of this massacre has been devastating for the forest’s ecological equilibrium, as the deer population is being steadily depleted. On the other hand, being deprived of this natural prey, tigers are forced to stray into the villages on the fringes of the Sundarbans and attack people and livestock. According to forest department records, at least 22 people have been killed by tigers during the last three years.

Apart from the shortage of prey, the tiger’s habitat is also being depleted at an alarming rate, as a group of illegal traders in collusion with some corrupt forest and police officials take out large quantities of Sundari (the predominant mangrove species in the Sundarban) and other timber. Recently a group of officials from the Asian Development Bank accompanied by Dr. Ainun Nishat, Bangladesh Country Representative of IUCN, flew over the Sundarbans to gather first-hand information about the latest situation.

Dr. Ainun Nishat’s aerial observations, coupled with the realities on the ground as reported by Messrs Khasru Chowdhury and Anisuzzaman Khan depict the grim picture of a sylvan paradise in process of devastation. The scene is said to be particularly devastating in the western portion (in Satkhira district) of the Sundarbans, which for the most part had remained untouched even in the recent past. But certain forest officials waged a campaign to collect election funds for a former minister, leaving the forest wide open to collectors of timber and fuel wood. One particular official who had earned notoriety for sauch operations in the Chitrtagong Hill Tracts by decimating the forests there is now said to be very active in the Sundarbans, using the name of the former minister.

A proper census of tigers in the Bangladesh portion of the Sundarbans has not been carried out for the past 20 years. In 1969, a British tiger specialist Guy Mountford estimated the number of tigers as about 300. Another study conducted by a specialist named Heinrich had put the number as nearly 400, which was later updated to 450. But now Khan and Chowdhury believe that unabated poaching has cut down the number to 300. They have also reportedly called for drastic action by the government to save the majestic animal.

These mighty hunters have now become the hunted, not only for their skins, but for other body parts such as teeth, claws and bones etc. which are in great demand, as they are used as aphrodisiacs and for other uses in Chinese medicine. One kilogram of tiger bone meal is said fetch 2500 pound sterling. With the rate of habitat loss and the rising demand for tiger skin and body parts for medicinal purposes, the prognosis for tigers looks bleaker than ever before. Am ecological crisis appears to be in the making, and begs for immediate government intervention.

From Anwar Firoze,
[email protected]

MIDDLE EAST

Iran

Tuesday, November 19, 2002, 03:00 (GMT + 9)
www.fis.com

During the summer, all 39 shrimp farms in Abadan had to close when they were hit by a viral epidemic of white spot disease. Three thousand workers lost their jobs when the Abadan shrimp industry collapsed overnight and a further 2,000 indirect jobs have been lost since then.

Mohammad Moallem, director of the Khouzestan Seafood Cooperative, described the job losses in Iran’s southwest region as “devastating” and added that the recovery of the shrimp industry in Abadan would at best take a number of years. The disease prevents any farm from restarting activity for at least two years, according to a press release from the Board of Directors, Khouzestan Seafood Cooperative.

The director of the Seafood Cooperative explained that during the past three years the industry has suffered from various natural disasters such as cold spells, deviations in water salt content and disease. He estimated that the shrimp farmers have claimed around IRR 60 billion (USD 7.5 million) in damages but have received only a very small portion of this amount.

Mohammad Moallem warned that the disease was still persistent and unless efforts were made to eradicate it from the region, the industry might never recover. In recent years, most of the shrimp from the Abadan region have gone for export, particularly to Spain.
Shrimp infected by white spot go red and white spots or patches of about 0.5-2.0 mm in diameter appear on the inside surface of the carapaces. These white spots are abnormal deposits of calcium salts. White spot disease causes mass mortality of shrimp that can reach 100 per cent within three to 10 days following onset of these signs, especially in juvenile shrimp.

By Odin Hjellestad,
FIS.com

From: [email protected]

LATIN AMERICA

Honduras

Note: The following comes from Jorge Varela of CODDEFFAGOLF

INTERNATIONAL SHAME, COP8 Conference Of Biased Parties

Valencia, Spain, November 23, 2002. RAMSAR Convention COP 8

CODDEFFAGOLF

The Government of the Manager Ricardo Maduro, President of Honduras, important shareholder of the shrimp breeder company known as Granjas Marinas San Bernardo (GMSB), didn’t make time to think about the international discredit he was exposing his country to via the audacity to send an employee of the so questioned firm, GMSB, to the Ramsar Convention for Wetlands Conservation. His only attribute had been one of calumniating, to defame and to discredit the ONG CODDEFFAGOLF, which has been, in several occasions, internationally rewarded because of its defense, for more than a decade, of the wetlands of the planet and particularly the Gulf of Fonseca in Honduras, that was designed in 1999 as “RAMSAR SITE 1000”

It has been confirmed that the only “Official Delegate” sent to represent Honduras lacks experience and knowledge on wetlands conservation and doesn’t work with Government, which represents an offense for the state bureaucracy of this country, since it is logical to suppose that in it there are officials that have the needed attributes to give a worthy presentation, and they are being ignored and excluded of an extremely important process for the conservation of the mangrove ecosystems, lagoons, reefs, marine grasses, etc

Even more, the “Official Delegate” of Honduras, H�ctor Moti�o, has presented before a Work Group, a “Project of Resolution of the Country” which, in essence, looks for the benefit of the discredited shrimp farming industry of Honduras, with policies and funds that are directed, by international community, to wetlands conservation and the search of their rational use.

The above-mentioned has been denounced openly in Valencia by Jorge Varela, (Goldman Prize 1999), Executive Director of the CODDEFFAGOLF and of the REDMANGLAR who has also left stated that such “Project of Resolution of Country” has not been prepared openly neither for the Government, for the civil society or for the ONG�s of Honduras, but rather it has surely been carried out in secret by consultants hired for it, who in their “Project” only refer to the mangrove ecosystems and the “industries” settled down in
them, ignoring that Honduras has different and important wetland ecosystems.

With fair indignation, Varela has denounced that the “RAMSAR SITE 1000” is being destroyed by shrimp aquaculture with Government of Honduras and the Secretary of the Ramsar Convention knowing it; furthermore it is violated the Resolution of the COP7 of 1999 in which governments are instructed in order to stop shrimp farming on coastal wetlands until the studies that recommend mitigations measurements that nullify negative impacts on local communities and environment are carried out.

This shameful situation has been known for all the Official Delegations and Spanish and International press media, and with this it has been filled of ignominy a country worthy of better luck. And while the “Official Delegate of Honduras” employee of the shrimp farm GMSB, still has nerve of charging travel expenses for the Ramsar Convention, the World sees perplexed how such Convention is contaminated and discredited for “Official Delegates” of Governments as the one of the Manager Ricardo Maduro and the shrimp aquaculture industry of that country.

From: “CODDEFFAGOLF”
[email protected]

==========

THE FIGHT TO SAVE WETLANDS OF THE “RAMSAR SITE 1000” CONTINUES

At the dawn of November 7 of 2002, under the leadership of CODDEFFAGOLF and REDMANGLAR, more than 2000 fishermen and peasants, abandoned their humble houses in the coastal wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca, internationally known as “RAMSAR SITE 1000”, to start a protest mobilization because of the destruction of mangrove forests, lagoons, estuaries and other wetlands that when sheltering an abundant biodiversity, constitute their food and income resources; they also mobilized in order to protest for the loss of access to their traditional fishing places, the continual harassment from watchmen of shrimp farms, the impunity with which 12 fishermen have been murdered, the lack of interest of Government in order to control the situation and among other reasons, for the attempt of accommodating the aquaculture law to the interests of large shrimp farms companies.

When arriving to the capital, Tegucigalpa, other social groups joined in support to CODDEFFAGOLF / REDMANGLAR, and in protest for Privatization policies, ALCA, the Puebla Panama Plan and women’s participation. The solidarity march was extended by a half kilometer and this got the attention of all the press, radio, and television media, which is a success.

Contrary to previous manifestations that CODDEFFAGOLF has made, the objective of this march was to get the attention of countries and people that are big consumers of shrimp such as the United States, Spain and Japan, as well as the World Bank, Interamerican Development Bank and other international organizations that finance shrimp aquaculture, ignoring the negative impacts that are caused in world environment and societies of the South.

The resolution was taken when considering that the President of the
Republic, who is also a shrimp farmer, as well as his co-religionist the President of the National Congress are aware of the situation and they don’t procure the problem solution, therefore it was decided to ignore them and go directly to the core of it.

The Shrimp Farmers Association (ANDAH), as they are used to, before the manifestation, and now, has dedicated to discredit CODDEFFAGOLF and mainly its Executive Director, Jorge Varela, with major intensity at local press media in the coast.

The mobilization on this occasion was carried out in a peaceful way since CODDEFFAGOLF / REDMANGLAR convinced the civil and police authorities that the mobilization was a peaceful one and they should not provoke protests, as they did in a former manifestation where there were several people injured.

From: Philip Cohen
[email protected]

==========

Shrimp farm expansion comes under fire (Honduras)

www.FIS.com
November 13, 2002

Fishermen are stepping up their protests against the expansion of shrimp farming in the Fonseca Gulf, in the north Pacific, which they say is putting their livelihoods at risk.

Some 1,700 fishermen from Honduras gathered outside the national Congress, during a demonstration organised by the Fonseca Gulf Flora and Fauna Protection and Development Committee (Coddeffagolf), reports Mis peces. The protestors claimed the country’s 14,000 artisanal fishermen are facing an increasing risk of poverty as the expansion in shrimp farming is exhausting fishery resources and biodiversity in coastal waters (see World News, 18 October).

During the demonstration, they appealed to international finance organisations and embassies of countries that import farmed shrimp from Honduras to back their calls for “an immediate halt to the expansion of shrimp farming” in the gulf and for shrimp farms to be subject to management plans.

Coddeffagolf president Justo Garc�a said shrimp farms destroy mangrove forests, which host a great part of the gulf’s biodiversity, and that they also pollute the water with chemicals. He was referring to the 30 shrimp farms that have operated in Fonseca gulf for 12 years and are believed to have caused a depletion in wild stocks.

Meanwhile, executive director Jorge Varela complained about the national government’s attitude. “It has never listened to our demands,” he said, which prompted the committee to ask international organisations and developed countries to “stop supporting” the shrimp farming industry in Honduras.

Varela said the government had violated national legislation and international agreements on environmental protection by allowing the destruction of natural resources in the gulf.

But Honduras’ National Association of Aquaculture Farmers (ANDAH) responded by saying that Coddeffagolf’s accusations are “out of context”. The Association says it now wants an investigation into the activities of its member companies to find out if they are expanding illegally or affecting resources as claimed.

By FIS Latin

From: SeaWeb Aquaculture Clearinghouse
[email protected]

STORIES/ISSUES

Tables and Writings on Economic Value of Indonesian Mangroves

Note: These tables do not intend to comprise a list of suggested utilization of mangroves, (some of the mentioned utilization is probably not sustainable) But tables like these can help us to better understand mangrove use in Indonesia, in order to make accurate recommendations for community based mangrove management practices in Indonesia and elsewhere.

Table 1. Direct products and amenities provided by Indonesian mangrove forest

Mangrove Use
Mangrove Products

Fuel
Firewood: cooking, heating, smoking fish, sheet-rubber, burning bricks
Charcoal
Alcohol

Construction
Timber for scaffolds and heavy construction; railroad ties; mining pit-props; deck pilings; beams and poles for buildings; flooring and paneling; boat building material; fence posts; water pipes; chipboards; glues

Fishing
Poles for fish traps; fishing floats; fish poisons; tannins for net preservation; material for Fish Attracting Devices

Agriculture
Fodder; green manure

Mariculture
Poles for seaweed farming

Paper Production
Paper products

Food and drugs
Sugar, desert topping; vegetables from propagules; cigarette wrappers; traditional medicines

Beverages
Alcohol; cooking oil; vinegar; tea; fermented drinks

Household uses
Furniture; glue; hairdressing oil; tool handles; facial powder; rice mortar; match-sticks; incense

Textile and leather
Synthetic fiber; dye for cloth; tannins for leather

Other
Packing boxes

From Ecology of Indonesian Seas, 1997

Table 2 Indirect products and amenities obtained from Indonesian mangroves
Source
Products

Offshore
Finfish: Food, fertilizer, bait, many species

Fisheries
Crustaceans: Food, prawns, shrimps, crabs, mud lobster
Molluscs: Food, oysters, mussels, cockles

Bees
Honey and industrial wax

Birds
Food, feathers, recreation (bird watching and hunting)

Mammals
Food, fur, recreation (watching and hunting)

Reptiles
Skins, food, recreation

Other fauna
Amphibians: Food, recreation etc.
Insects?

From Ecology of Indonesian Seas, 1997

Economic Valuation of Mangroves. Dixon (1989) has pointed out that conventional economic analysis techniques are not appropriate in the economic evaluation of mangrove ecosystems for two reasons: 1) Most mangrove resources (goods and services) are difficult to monetize; and 2) Many of these resources occur off-site, that is they sometimes occur or are harvested external to the mangrove ecosystem and this become economic externalities. The objective of economic valuation of mangrove ecosystems is to include explicitly all of the benefits, as well as the costs of changes or loss of benefits from these changes, and thereby better evaluate alternatives. This has been attempted, to some degree of success, in a Bintuni Bay [West Papua] case study (Ruitenbeek 1991). It is essential that included in the valuation, or economic analysis, of mangrove ecosystems should be the full range of resources (goods and services) produced by the system, and that the area should not be treated in isolation. All proposed projects need to have critical evaluation in terms of what will be gained versus what may be lost by altering the natural processes and properties of the ecosystem. This type of evaluation needs to be based on accurate physico-chemical ecological and socioeconomic database.

Dixon (1989) points out that traditional or conventional valuation analysis relies heavily on observed market prices to place value on various goods and services. This approach is not appropriate for mangrove ecosystems, primarily because only a few of the goods and services produced by the ecosystem are usually included in the analysis. For example, a decision on whether to convert a mangrove for aquaculture development that will be based only on the value of lost firewood productions may be very different than if the value of fish caught in the adjacent coastal area are included. Ruitenbeek (1991) has demonstrated that traditional uses (fishing, hunting gathering, etc.) of the vast mangrove resources in Bintuni Bay by the local fisherfolk account for US$10 million per year. In Bintuni Bay mangrove forests are clearly not wastelands, but rather they are highly productive ecosystems that not only contain an amazing diversity of flora and fauna, but also serve as a life-support system for thousands of coastal people.

Dixon. J.A. (1989). Valuation of Mangroves Tropical Coastal Area Management
4(3): 1-6.

Ruitenbeek, H.J. (1991). Mangrove Management: An Economic Analysis of Management Options with a focus on Bintuni Bay, Irian Jaya [West Papua]. EMDI/KLH, Jakarta, 90pp.

From: “Ben Brown”
[email protected]

==========

The Ecosystem Approach

~ The ecosystem approach is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way (the three objectives of the Convention of Biological Diversity).
~ The ecosystem approach seeks appropriate balance between conservation and use of biological diversity and stresses that cultural and biological diversity are central components of the ecosystem approach.
~ The ecosystem approach is a participatory planning process guided by adaptative management. Management should involve all stakeholders and balance local interests with the wider public interest.
~ The ecosystem approach promotes the establishment of synergies with all sectors of society and that management should be decentralized to the lowest appropriate level. This promotes greater efficiency, effectiveness and equity.
~ The ecosystem approach considers all forms of relevant information, including scientific and indigenous, and local knowledge, innovations and practices. Information from all sources is critical to arriving at effective ecosystem management strategies.
~ In essence, the ecosystem approach is not a recipe or a straight-jacket, but a series of principles to promote the integrated management of land, water and living resources.

Lobbying paper, IUCN, WSSD, September 2002

From: “Joanna Phillips”
[email protected]

==========

Tropical Prawns versus Mangroves

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was signed in the city of Ramsar, Iran, in 1971 and entered into force in 1975. Ramsar is the only environmental convention that addresses a specific ecosystem, that of the wetlands. Wetlands, as recognised by the Ramsar Convention, fulfil essential ecological functions, as regulators of hydrological regimes and as habitats for a very rich biodiversity and are a resource of great economic, cultural, scientific and recreational importance that must be preserved.

Mangroves, coastal forests located in tropical and equatorial areas of the world, are part of these wetlands. They are presently seriously
threatened. According to FAO, over 50% of the mangroves have already disappeared. Today the main cause of mangrove loss is the expansion of the shrimp industry, breeding shrimps or tropical prawns in coastal areas of poor countries to export them to rich countries such as Spain, the United States or Japan. In fact, most of the prawns found today on the market are a product of the destruction of coastal ecosystems in the countries of the South and of the displacement of local populations.

Resolution VII.2, taken at the Seventh Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Costa Rica, 1999), recognises the economic, social and environmental value of the wetlands such as mangroves for fishing, biodiversity, coastal protection, leisure activities, education and water quality. It recognised that the subsistence of a considerable number of populations depends on the productivity and value of wetlands located in inter-tidal zones and also showed concern over the advanced process of degradation that is to be found in many coastal wetlands, mainly as a result of unsustainable aquaculture and contamination.

In view of the above, the Convention urged the Contracting Parties — that is to say, the States — to suspend the promotion and creation of new facilities for unsustainable aquaculture activities, damaging to coastal wetlands, including the expansion of already existing facilities, until measures aimed at establishing a sustainable aquaculture system, in harmony with the environment and local communities can be identified, by means of environmental and social impact assessments on such activities and through appropriate studies.

Unfortunately, this resolution is not being implemented. For this reason, Greenpeace and the Mangrove Network (Redmanglar) (a network gathering NGOs from Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia working in defence of mangroves) will submit a very concrete demand regarding mangroves: a moratorium on the expansion of the shrimp industry, to the Eighth Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention, to be held in November, in Valencia (Spain).

Without this stoppage, we will be unable to save these ecosystems and we will prevent the local populations that depend on them from having a different opportunity — other than poverty or migration. Perhaps the Eighth Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention is one of the last opportunities to curb the destruction of the only forests that can live with their roots in the sea.

From Eva Hernïndez, article sent by CODDEFFAGOLF,
e-mail: [email protected]

ANNOUNCEMENTS

International Conference on Ecorestoration Rescheduled

The international Conference on Ecorestoration that we planned for 2001 but had to be postponed due to Sept 11 events, shall now be held during 23-30 September 2003. The dates are final. The preliminary announcement with details is already on our new webpage.

Please do consider contributing to and participating in the Conference. We plan for global participation.

From D Brij Gopal, Professor School of Environmental Sciences
Jawaharlal Nehru university, India
email: [email protected]

==========

December 4th, 2002

Farming the Seas Now In Production Phase–Dispatch from the Habitat Media

Our distributor, Charles Schuerhoff and Associates, informs us that Empty Oceans Empty Nets will soon begin to air in countries operating the world’s largest fishing fleets and having the highest per-capita seafood consumption. Spain, Japan, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Taiwan, and Australia have thus far licensed the program for television broadcast. Agreements are pending with television buyers in several other countries and we will keep you posted on this. In addition to broadcast television, Habitat Media is also licensing educational (classroom) versions of the program to distributors in Germany, Taiwan, Mexico and Hong Kong. Empty Oceans, with it’s strong message to industry, policymakers and consumers, is going worldwide!

We are currently producing the sequel, Farming the Seas, which examines controversies surrounding the farming of seafood and the need to develop sustainable fish farming practices. Like EOEN, this PBS Special has a strong consumer segment and will be distributed worldwide. We aim to have the broadcast version of Farming the Seas completed by September 2003.

From Rivkah Beth Medow, Associate Producer, Habitat Media
[email protected]

AQUACULTURE CORNER

The Press and Journal, 21st November 2002

Protest calls for boycott

The Salmon Farm Protest Group yesterday launched a nationwide campaign to encourage shoppers to boycott farmed fish. The group will be holding events in Edinburgh, London and Dublin throughout December – handing out presents of wild Alaskan salmon and urging consumers against buying factory-reared fish. They claim that wild salmon and sea trout are being threatened with extinction by salmon farming and that the farmed fish are less healthy than wild produce.

SOURCE

From: Don Staniford < [email protected] ========== Asking hard questions about aquaculture

Ray Grigg, Courier-Islander (Campbell River), Sat 23 Nov 2002

Asking hard questions is the mark of good science. And these questions seem more pertinent than ever since the provincial government has lifted its moratorium on fish farm expansion – a gesture that was supposed to confirm the environmental responsibility of the industry.

This responsibility continues to be in doubt – from one end of the industry to the other. The sickening stench of composting “morts” from salmon farms had barely subsided in Campbell River when Greig Seafoods was forced to dump 919 tonnes of dead farmed salmon at sea, creating a fetid mess of 250,000 rotting fish off the coast of Nootka Sound. This was followed by news that wild pink salmon runs in seven of the Broughton Archipelago’s rivers have been nearly decimated by a sea lice outbreak directly linked to adjacent fish farms.

This bad news casts serious doubt on the government’s wisdom of allowing expansion of an industry that stumbles from one environmental outrage to another. And it is sad confirmation that BC’s salmon farming is likely to replicate the environmental problems generated by Europe’s fish farms. It’s what Dr. Volpe expects will happen.

John Volpe first gained prominence several years ago as a bright and critical doctoral student who asked hard questions about fish farming – questions that the government and the aquaculture industry refused to consider. How did they know, he asked, that the Atlantics that were escaping from net pens did not spawn in coastal rivers and streams? So he built a spawning channel, populated it with 30 female and 20 male Atlantics, and discovered that they do spawn. Now, with a doctorate and a position as Assistant Professor of Fisheries Ecology at the University of Alberta, his subsequent research has located numerous progeny of spawned Atlantics, while further studies have discovered other important information about these feral fish.

Atlantics are poor colonizers, he has confirmed, but they are efficient predators that have found a niche for themselves in at least 79 Pacific coast streams and rivers. As fast-water foragers, they are particularly skilled at anchoring themselves to the top of rocks with their large pectoral fins, then darting off to grab prey. This strategy allows them to survive using about the half the energy of their steelhead relatives. With the advantage of three days of prior “residency” in a stream to establish territory, they will equal or better the survival rate of steelhead.

But, as Dr. Volpe willingly concedes, colonization by Atlantics is not the major threat that fish farms bring to the West Coast: it is the diseases and parasites they spread to wild stocks, and the strain on declining global fish resources caused by the aquaculture industry trying to feed their farmed salmon.

Just as fish farms become the epicentre of disease outbreaks that can easily spread to passing wild salmon, they can also generate extremely high concentrations of parasites such as sea lice. Studies in Europe, with a long history of marine salmon farming, have established a 99.5 percent correlation between sea lice outbreaks in fish farms and abnormally high infestations in wild salmonids. The eggs of this parasite must find a host within three days of being dispersed into the ocean or they die. If sea lice outbreaks occur in fish farms that lie along the migration routes of wild salmon, and if the outbreaks coincide with the passing of migrating fish, then these fish must pass through a virtual gauntlet of infection. As happened in the Broughton Archipelago this year, the effect on wild runs has been catastrophic. Seven rivers in the Broughtons were expected to produce 3,500,000 pinks; the numbers have collapsed to 57,220, a 99 percent mortality. Some rivers had no return of pinks. This is one of the obvious local environmental consequences of salmon farming.

In the larger picture, argues Dr. Volpe, from a strictly resource management perspective, using 2.8 kilograms of feed fish from the world’s stressed oceans to produce one kilogram of farmed salmon makes little sense. His statistics dramatically illustrate the point. Each fish farm requires an ocean area 40,000 to 50,000 times its own size to provide the wild fish it needs to grow its crop of salmon. BC’s salmon farming industry requires 7.8 million hectares of ocean to provide its feed fish. Europe’s fish farms consume the equivalent of 90 percent of the North Sea’s wild fish production. The “food energy return” for growing carnivorous marine Atlantics is 3.3 percent compared to the 94 percent that can be reached for growing herbivorous freshwater tilapia. Because of the average low return of food energy from fish farms, the United Nations considers them to be the last resort for food production.

Salmon aquaculture is not going to feed the world’s starving people. Instead, it produces a luxury food for the expensive tastes of wealthy countries by inefficiently consuming valuable marine protein, And in the process, it generates diseases and parasites that further damage both local and global fisheries.
No one questions the need for jobs and sustainable industries to aid the beleaguered coastal communities of BC. But the scientific evidence clearly suggests that salmon aquaculture is a bad choice for our rich and diverse marine ecology.

From: Lynn Hunter
[email protected]

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Here is the transcript from a Nov. 26th CBC radio news item

VANCOUVER – An independent conservation group headed by former federal fisheries minister John Fraser, is calling for the temporary closure of fish farms off the north coast of Vancouver Island.
The Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council released its report, following a dramatic drop in the number of pink salmon in the Broughton Archipelago.

The council’s science advisor, Dr. Brian Riddell, blames the decline on a sea-lice infestation linked to fish farms north of Alert Bay.
Riddell says Canada’s and B.C.’s fisheries ministers should order fish farms in the area to be emptied to give researchers time to study the pink salmon numbers. The council is also recommending the development of a sea-lice control plan for the region.

Suzuki Foundation feels vindicate David Suzuki Foundation spokesperson Lynn Hunter says the report gives new validity to the argument that salmon farms should not co-exist with wild fish.

“It recommends that the final results of monitoring and research be really scrutinized to determine if salmon farms and wild fish can successfully co-exist in the Broughton Archipelago. But I think that any intelligent person would read into that…there is doubt that salmon farms should be anywhere near those wild salmon migratory routes,” she says.

The Foundation has campaigned extensively against open net fish farming along the B.C. coast.

From: Lynn Hunter
[email protected]

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Immediate Release by The Salmon Farm Protest Group

Christmas Campaign: “Santa Says No, No, No, to Farmed Salmon” launched today (Wednesday 20th November)

The Salmon Farm Monitor now includes:


“10 Reasons to Boycott Scottish ‘Quality’ Salmon This Christmas”


“5 Ways to Make a Difference – What You Can Do”

From: Don Staniford
[email protected]

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CHILE IS NOW WORLD’s MAIN PRODUCER OF CULTIVATED SALMON

Chilean producers have been internationally rejected because they have generated an overproduction of cheap salmon that reduce the international prices by almost 30%, while keeping environmental and labour standards at a low level.

www.ecoceanos.cl

Santiago, CHILE, 15th November 2002. (Ecoceanos News) – The active expansion of the salmon farming industry supported by the governmental policies, have placed Chile as the main producer of cultivated salmon. This was expected to happen by the year 2010, when Chile will celebrate its independence bicentenary, but production figures in 2001 crown Chile as the “top one” among the salmon Republics.

The Servicio Nacional de Pesca or Sernapesca (Fishing National Service), a body dependent of the Ministery of Economy, reported that Chile had become main producer of cultivated salmon when reached 504,000 tons in 2001, which is bigger than the Norwegian production (Norway has been for decades the main salmon producer). The announcement given by the government was unexpected by the Chilean salmon entrepeneurs, which are trying to reduce the production of coho salmon and trout, while minimizing their overproduction generated in previous seasons.

Several Chilean producers have said that next year they will increase by 20 % their export prices due to better international prices and the improvement in the Asiatic economies….

….Norwegian production during 2001 was 477,000 WFE tons…

….This information was uncovered while international criticism against salmon entrepeneurs in Chile continues. This week, some Alaskan governmental authorities accused Chile for “unfair commercial practice which endangered the welfare of Alaskan fishermen and fishing communities”.

As fis.com published, the governor of Alaska, Tony Knowles, asked the Central Government to include in the possible trade agreement between United States and Chile “provisions that help to stop dumping in the American market, reduce the overproduction of Chilean salmon and, develop and reinforce effective labor and environmental regulations in fish farming industry”.

Salmon dumping, as it was determined by the U.S government, is also a topic for dscussion….The exports of Chilean Salmon to United States increased dramatically in the last years. Alaska relates the increase of imports with low prices and profitability of the salmon industry in this State….

[email protected]

From CENTRO ECOCEANOS
[email protected]

AROUND THE CORNER

Ramsar GBF17 and COP8 Reflections

This editor has recently returned from the COP8 meeting in Spain. I have some very serious concerns as to the outcome of this conference based upon my time spent there. As an NGO working to raise attention to continuing losses of important wetland areas to expanding industrial aquaculture, I was alarmed to find that the Honduran delegation to COP8 contained an actual shrimp farmer on board who was employed by one of the same shrimp aquaculture ventures illicitly operating within the 1000th Ramsar site in the Gulf of Fonseca. This “delegate” was quite active and belligerent in his lobbying efforts to remove all mention of aquaculture from the proceedings.

He apparently had some allies within the other delegations, as we learned that a draft measure was tagged onto a resolution (#4, I believe) that claimed that aquaculture was itself establishing viable “wetlands” , and thus should be viewed in a more positive light as an important wetlands contributor! Needless to say, this sort of word distortion and politicizing of the important work at COP8 is troublesome.

During one of the draft sessions on the mangrove resolution, the session was carried out mainly in Spanish, making it impossible for those participating from non-Spanish speaking regions, such as Asia or Africa, to have any meaningful inputs, thus losing their important contributions to the process. The mentioned Honduran shrimp farmer, however, was there himself to actively have his say and to lobby for exclusion of aquaculture in the resolution.

I recognize that the process of holding such forum as COP8 is unwieldy and quite time and energy consuming. Also, this can be a very important process in establishing effective conservation and management initiatives for our planet’s threatened wetlands. Nevertheless, I worry that the objectives of the COP8 will be undermined if special interest groups from the very industries that today pose serious threats to wetlands are themselves allowed entry into the decision making process. I urge Ramsar to in the future somehow ensure that delegations are chosen so that their members do not include those whose activities involve wetlands destruction and mismanagement of these valuable wetlands resources. A more fair and unbiased approach must be sought so that future COPs can be truly effective in both their intent and process.

Towards Sustainable Solutions,
Alfredo Quarto, Mangrove Action Project
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Note from Maurizio Farhan Ferrari of Forest Peoples Programme (UK)

I also think that something needs to be done about this. One approach could be to put pressure on governments to set up the National Wetland Committees, including representatives of local communities, indigenous peoples and NGOs, which they are supposeto do but they are not doing it. Such committee would know who is going to be in the delegations (the committee could even be involved in selecting the delegates) so reps of civil society could have a check on this problem at the source of the problem. In order to ensure the effective implementation of this as well as other Ramsar resolutions, national agencies that are tasked with the implementation of the Ramsar Convention in their respective countries, should establish site-specific sub-committees composed of local communities, indigenous people, local government officials, NGOs, related experts and a Ramsar advisor. The subcommittee should be regularly updated on Ramsar resolutions, monitoring and evaluation techniques and should provide regular reports to the national agency, which should also have representatives of local communities, indigenous people and NGOs.
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*Recommended Process To Help Ensure Local and Indigenous Community Involvement in Conservation and Monitoring of Ramsar Wetlands Sites:

In order to ensure the effective implementation of Ramsar resolutions, national agencies that are tasked with the implementation of the Ramsar Convention in their respective countries, should establish site-specific sub-committees composed of local communities, indigenous people, local government officials, NGOs, related experts and a Ramsar advisor. The subcommittee should be regularly updated on Ramsar resolutions, monitoring and evaluation techniques and should provide regular reports to the national agency, which should also have representatives of local communities, indigenous people and NGOs.

Alfredo Quarto, Executive Director
Mangrove Action Project
PO Box 1854
Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279
USA
fax (360) 452-5866
[email protected]