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]

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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]

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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

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]