Late Friday News, 80th Ed., 27 April 2001

Late Friday News, 80th Ed., 27 April 2001

Dear Friends,

This is the 80th Edition of the Late Friday News brought to you after a longer than brief hiatus! I have been traveling in Asia for the past month, networking with local NGOs and attending workshops and meetings. This LFN contains only a fraction of the news items that awaited my return!
Salud,

Alfredo Quarto
Mangrove Action Project

Late Friday News Archives

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 80th Edition, 27 April 2001

FEATURE STORY
5TH In The Hands of the Fishers Workshop

AFRICA
EAST AFRICA
Rufiji Delta Shrimp Project Likely To Collapse

WEST AFRICA

Nigeria
CIA report unveils state of Niger-Delta

Eritrea
Red Sea Turns Desert to Shrimp Farm

ASIA

S.E. ASIA

Thailand
Thai Shrimp Exports to EU Down
Shrimp farms face a lean year for exports
CHAROEN POKPHAND FOOD: Firm on track to meet goal
Going, going, dugong

Vietnam
Over 3.5m hectares of Indonesia’s mangrove forests destroyed
Is shrimp farming destroying mangroves?
IT’S NOT ETHNICS THAT KILL, IT’S THE ENVIRONMENT

Philippines
Central Luzon farmlands giving way to fishponds

S. ASIA

India
Protest against the entry of Foreign deep-sea Trawlers into the Indian Seas
***ACTION ALERT!!!***

Bangladesh
ISA Net Statement from Bangladesh

Sri Lanka
2nd Mangrove Community Resource Center Soon Inaugurated
New Threat to Livelihoods of Fishermen Around Negombo Lagoon.
***ACTION ALERT!!!***

OCEANIA
Australia
Bananas and prawns threatened by virus
Queensland Govt urges prawn import review
Prawn farming plan released’

Papau New Guinea
WWF Eco-Forestry Project Operating Without Approval

LATIN AMERICA

Ecuador
Shell collectors denounce illegal acts in mangrove concessions
***ACTION ALERT!!!***

Honduras
Is the World Bank/International Finance Corporation Responsible for the
Coastal Wetlands Destruction in the Tropics?
STORIES/ISSUES
Pollution Runoff A Problem for Coastal Ecosystems
GRIM FUTURE FORECAST FOR WORLD’S COASTAL AREAS
New human pathogenic bacteria resulting from GE plants.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
WFFP calls for International Fisheires Strike on Nov 21 WFD
Shrimp 2001 Chennai–Fourth World Conference on the Shrimp Industry and Trade

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS MAP’s
Workshop on Problems and Prospects for Developing Artisanal Fish Trade in
West Africa

CALL FOR PAPERS (none this issue)

WTO/ GLOBALIZATION UPDATE
Leaked World Bank Memo Says Oil, Gas, and Mining Investments Pose clear and
Present Danger

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Fish or Foul? Coming soon to a dinner table near you: DNA filet!!!
U.K. gov’t funds secret GM fish research
UK questions use of fish farm dye–Chemical linked to mutations in rats
Fish Endangerment Rather Than Protection

FEATURE STORY
Note: MAP had cosponsored the 5th in a series of workshops in our ongoing program, In The Hands Of The Fishers, which took place in Sri Lanka at the MAP-SFFL Mangrove Community Resource Center located at Pembala on Chilaw Lagoon. The workshop was held from April 1st till the 5th, and involved both NGOs and Fisherfolk from West Africa (Senegal, Cameroon, and the Ivory Coast), SE Asia (Thailand), S. Asia (Sri Lanka and India), and the Americas (Honduras, Canada and the USA). This workshop brought together various cultures and languages from three continents, all having a common interest in conserving the mangrove forests and promoting the rights and opportunities of local communities to sustainably manage their coastal resource base, including the mangrove forest wetlands.
This workshop will be highlighted in a future LFN. The important Closing Statement of Recommendations from the workshop participants follows:
====================

5TH In The Hands of the Fishers Workshop–

Recommendations:

WE the people, fisherfolk, local leaders, academics, and NGO leaders coming
from three Continents, including Africa (Senegal, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast), Asia (India, Sri Lanka and Thailand), and the Americas (Honduras, Canada and the USA) who attended the 5th “In The Hands of The Fishers” workshop focusing on community based coastal resource conservation and management at the MAP-SARC Mangrove Resource Centre, Chilaw, Sri Lanka on1st to 5th April 2001, issue to the following Statement and Recommendations:
Whereas, mangrove forests are vital coastal wetlands which protect and enrich our planet’s coastal zones,
Whereas, over three quarters of our tropical and sub-tropical marine fisheries are dependent upon mangrove forests for some part of their life cycles,
Whereas, mangrove forests are very fragile and highly bio-diverse ecosystems crucial for a vast number of fauna and flora, including fish, molluscs, crustaceans, marine mammals, reptiles and migratory birds,
Whereas, mangrove forests prevent coastal degradation and erosion, thus protecting important coral reefs and seagrass beds from siltation,
Whereas, mangrove forests act as protective buffers against dangerous storms and wave actions, protecting against serious land loss and hurricane, typhoon, or cyclone damage,
Whereas, mangroves act as important filters to purify waters and help prevent inland salinization of fresh waters and arable lands,
Whereas, evergreen mangrove forests perform vital functions as carbon sinks helping to lessen the impacts from dangerous global warming,
Whereas, mangroves are crucial sources of fuel wood, building materials, traditional medicines and foods for countless coastal communities dependent upon these coastal wetlands for both traditional cultures and livelihoods,
Whereas, over one-half of the mangrove forests have already been lost to unsustainable developments, such as shrimp farming, charcoal production, urbanization, oil exploitation, and tourism industries,
And Whereas, this loss of mangrove forests constitutes a serious threat to the future of our coastal communities, affecting both our livelihoods and way of life,

We gathered here make the following recommendations:

To recognise the importance of local community involvement in the conservation process, and not to rely solely on governmental, or official, implementation of solutions, but to ensure effective involvement of local communities in the process.

To become active members of the international network, called the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) to handle matters concerning mangrove forest conservation and restoration,
To understand and incorporate local, traditional methods of mangrove conservation and fisheries management where possible in combination with more formal scientific methodologies, as well as official governmental policies,
To recognise the very serious issues involved in shrimp aquaculture expansions on the tropical and sub-tropical zones around the world, and their negative impacts against coastal wetlands (mangrove forests, lagoons, mud flats, salt flats, etc.) bio-diversity and livelihoods of local communities.
To encourage implementation of effective and sustainable mangrove restoration programs in areas needing such, while meeting the urgencies of today’s current crises of continuing mangrove loss,
To encourage and establish a network of Mangrove Community Resource Centres in all participating countries as centres for education, awareness raising and proactive involvement of local communities, NGOs, and government officials in effective and sustainable mangrove forest conservation measures,
To implement ongoing training and skills sharing with fisherfolk involving them directly and integrally in the effective, sustainable management of their local fisheries, recognising the importance of involving local communities as integral to this overall process,
To implement more training in small-scale aquaculture techniques, such as silvofisheries and oyster culture, so information and skills sharing can be improved upon and offer more practical, hands-on experiences gained in the field,
To continue and expand upon the proactive exchange of ideas and actions for mangrove conservation as initiated and supported by the In the Hands of the Fishers (IHOF) workshops,
To continue sharing of information and ongoing exchange of related ideas among those attending these IHOF workshops.
To hold further such IHOF workshops, and hopefully hold such a workshop in Senegal later this year,
To encourage more active exchanges between different regions on both a national and international basis,

To implement both local and regional policies which ensure a more equitable distribution and usage of natural resources, while taking positive action to raise the living standards for the small fisherfolk,
To strengthen the network of mangrove communities at both the local and regional levels, while ensuring that actions involve all stakeholders to truly benefit all people,

To establish a Media/ Information Technology Centre with the help of MAP to impart practical knowledge and initiate positive actions on mangrove conservation issues,

To decide on our overall course of action and each participant help set up management committees to implement activities within our own countries,
To seriously take into account both the environmental and social issues involved in the urgent process of planning and ensuring sustainable development, because we believe that the lack of proper planning is one of the principle causes of environmental destruction and degradation of life quality and livelihoods for affected local communities,
To enforce and strengthen existing legislation protecting mangrove forests, as it is all too painfully evident that existing laws are not being enforced adequately, or are in fact unenforceable in their present forms, either because of lack of law enforcement or lack of will to enforce these laws, as well as poor management skills and awareness existing on the part of the assigned official regulators, and ineffective monitoring of the affected mangrove coastal zones,

To undertake and update both national and regional environmental, social, and economic analyses of mangrove ecosystems useful by global pressure groups to influence the policy and developmental planning of each country to ensure future preservation of mangrove forest ecosystems, commencing such action from such strategic mangrove sites as found at Bhitara Kanika in Orissa, India.

To help designate and ensure proper conservation and management of unique mangrove areas as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, thus offering the same noteworthy status awarded to rainforests,
Signed by the following participants:

Mr. Vaque N’Diaye, (Vice President, IDEE Casamance, Senegal)
Mr. Pierre Sambou, (Fisherfolk Representative, IDEE Casamance, Senegal)
Mr. Abdolaye Diame, (President, WAAME, Senegal)
Ms. Aminata Diankong, (Women’s Fisherfolk Leader, Senegal)
Mr. Mame Ousmane Diome, (Fisherfolk Leader, Senegal)
Dr. Mathieu Wadja Egnankou, (SOS-FORETS, University of Cote d’Ivoire)
Mr.Tassitchi Tassi, (Fisherfolk Leader of Nguieme, Cote d’Ivoire)
Dr. Mbog Dieudonne Marius, (The Association For The Protection Of Marine &
Coastal Ecosystems, A.P.E.M.C., Cameroon)
Mr. Joseph Njoke Esike, (Fisherfolk Leader of the Fishermen Confederation
in Central Africa, Cameroon)
Mr. Jorge Varela Marquez, (Executive Director, CODDEFFAGOLF, Honduras)
Mr. Bijay Nanda, (Hon. Media Administrator, Sandhan Foundation, India)
Mr. Bibhuti Bhusan Patra, (In-Charge MRC, Sandhan Foundation, India)
Mr. Anuradha Wickramasinghe, (Director, Small Fishers Federation, Sri Lanka)
Mr. Douglas Tisera, (Fisherfolk Leader, SSFL, Sri Lanka)
Mrs. Gladis Fernando, (Fisher Woman Leader, SFFL, Sri Lanka)
Mr. Pisit Charnsnoh, (President, Yadfon Association, Thailand)
Mr. Alfredo Quarto, (Director, Mangrove Action Project-MAP, USA)
Mr. Jim Enright, (MAP, S.E. Asia Coordinator, Thailand)

AFRICA

EAST AFRICA

Tanzania

Rufiji Delta Shrimp Project Likely To Collapse

It is too early to celebrate, but we consider the Rufiji Delta shrimp project as dead. The people of Rufiji Delta took to court the government of Tanzania and the wouldbe investor African Fishing Company (AFC). The High Court issued a STOP ORDER – barring the investor from undertaking the project until the case was determined and concluded.

Now the good news: AFC has applied to the High Court of Tanzanian voluntary liqidation because it is in the red. The company has failed to pay its workers, maintain its fleet of fishing vessels and some are likely to be auctioned.

Balinagwe Mwambungu, JET Chairman

From: “Journalists Environmental Association of Tanzania”
[email protected]

WEST AFRICA

Nigeria

COMET

CIA report unveils state of Niger-Delta

BETWEEN 1986 and 1996, 2.5 million barrels of oil were spilled in the Niger Delta, according to a just unclassified CIA report.

“This is equal to 10 Exxon Valdez disasters,” according to the report in which oil companies also acknowledge that at least 100,000 barrels of oil were spilled in 1997 and 1998. A Washington Post report on the Niger-Delta quoted the CIA study at the weekend. It added:
“And everyday, eight million cubic feet of national gas are burned off in flares that light the skies across the Delta, not only hurting the fishing and poisoning the agriculture, but contributing to global warming.”

The CIA study found that while oil extraction “generated immense profit, the Delta’s inhabitants have suffered increasing poverty and a general decline in the quality of their lives due, in part, to the environmental impact of oil extraction.”

“Corruption and bureaucratic incompetence have led to an almost total absence of schools, good drinking water, electricity or medical care,” the report said.

The Niger River Delta, a fragile wetland of about 42,000 square miles which currently yield over two million of crude oil per day is home to about seven million Nigerians.

From [email protected] (Innvandrernes Landsorganisasjon)

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Eritrea

Industrial Fish Farming
[email protected]
Posted: 03/26/2001 By [email protected]

Red Sea Turns Desert to Shrimp Farm

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
MASSAWA, Eritrea (AP) — The Americans in shorts and baseball caps dip their hands in chlorine before plunging them into the waist-high circular concrete tanks filled with sea water on the deserted stretch of Red Sea beach. The shrimp inside are their prime investment in a sea farming project that stands to make a lot of money as well for this tiny, impoverished nation in the Horn of Africa.

Less than a decade after Eritrean rebels defeated Ethiopian tanks on the hot, humid stretch of desert beach in their 30-year fight for independence, the government invited the team from the University of Arizona to put years of environmental research to work by using the Red Sea to irrigate farms for shrimp, fish and sea crops.

“We’re reversing the flow of water, which runs from the mountains and washes the soil into the sea, by recapturing nutrients and putting them back into the land,” said Ned Daugherty, a university researcher and the environmental architect at Seaphire International’s first African sea farm. In 1999, Daugherty and his associates set up Seawater Farms Eritrea, a joint venture between the Phoenix, Arizona-based Seaphire and the Eritrean government. They began by laying miles of pipe across the beach to pump sea water onto 1,482 acres of desert.

The pipe that runs past a burned-out T-55 tank delivers sea water to 230 brick-and-concrete tanks lined up in neat rows. Each tank is home to 200,000 post-larvae shrimp that were flown to Eritrea from a Seaphire hatchery in Mexico. The Eritrean farm is building its own hatchery stocked with selected shrimp that take six to eight months to mature.

After passing through the shrimp tanks, the sea water then flows into the farm’s three artificial salt lakes where tilapia, a tropical fish, are bred for export. Tilapia fishmeal is also used to make shrimp feed, and the fish’s skin can be turned into attractive leather. The water also irrigates crops like succulent salicornia, known as sea asparagus. The crunchy, thin green plant can be eaten as a vegetable, and
protein-rich oil is extracted from its seeds. Dried, crushed stems are
turned into fuel briquettes or particleboard.

The sea water is then carried to 200,000 mangrove trees and other sea-growing crops, some of which are still being raised experimentally. From there, the pipe dumps the water, by now rich with shrimp excrement and other waste, into a man-made wetland that has already attracted more than154 species of birds — 123 of them on the endangered list — before it returns, filtered, to the sea.

“We believe firmly that projects like this can bring wealth and peace if done in a good fashion. We want to enhance the environment, generate wealth and bring beauty and industry to Eritrean people,” Daugherty said.

The farm, which he calls “the adventure of a lifetime,” is the brainchild of Carl Hodges, a 63-year-old Arizona native. Hodges began academic life as an atomic physicist, then devoted more than 30 years of research to studying alternative sources of power and innovative use of waste space to grow food. This — and an Eritrean businesswoman who happened to attend one of his University of Arizona lectures in Tucson — brought him to the Red Sea.

Four days after he arrived in Eritrea in 1998, he sealed a $10 million deal with the government of President Isais Afwerki to launch the sea farm in which Seaphire and the Ministry of Fisheries each has a 50 percent stake.

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press

From: “Mark Ritchie”[email protected]

ASIA

S.E. ASIA

Thailand

Thai Shrimp Exports to EU Down

Bangkok Post April 20, Business Section- Page 3
Higher tariffs lead to lower sales of shrimp to Europe
Now uncompetitive with low-tax nations Thailand sold only 15,519 tons of shrimp to the European Union last year, for a market share of just 3% in the 15 country trading bloc.

Local exporters blamed the increase in import tariffs following the loss of Thailand’s status under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Under the GSP, less-developed countries enjoy lower tariffs but they “graduate” from the programme when their share of the EU market researches certain levels. The volume of Thai shrimp entering the EU since it began removing GSP privileges from 18 Thai products in 1997 has fallen by 60%, said Thanan Sowanapreecha, president of the Black Tiger Shrimp Farmers, Producers and Exporters Association.

EU import tariffs on Thai shrimp were as high as 14.4%, making them uncompetitive against those of countries such as Ecuador, Columbia and Peru which face a 3.6% import tax. The rate is 4.5% for shrimp from Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, and Burma. Thai shrimp also had to complete with tax-exempt products from former European colonies such as French Guiana, Madagascar and Senegal. Mr. Thanan said.

The EU last year imported 492,623 tons of shrimp, compared with 332,409 tons by the United States and 274,199 tons by Japan. Last year the United States imported 114,727 tons of Thai shrimp and Japan 35,574 tons.
————————————————————–

Note that the following quote seems to contradict the following article!

Post March 25, 2001

What’s the beef?

Sales of Thai shrimp to Europe have ballooned profitably on the fears of consumers over animal diseases.

“They are paying any price for our shrimp since the outbreak of mad cow disease and then foot-and-mouth,” said Paiboon Ponsuwanna, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association. Exports of frozen shrimp rose 63% in January to $173 million.
========

Date: 4/16/01 Publication: The Nation

Shrimp farms face a lean year for exports

LOCAL shrimp-farmers and exporters are expected to face a 15-per-cent drop in prices this year due to major importers, the US and China, delaying and ceasing orders. Currently the price of shrimp, size 50, is Bt255 to Bt260 per kilogram, down from Bt320 in the previous two to three weeks. The export price of white shrimp to the US also fell between US$2.20 (Bt100) and $3.30 a kilogram to between $14.30 and $15.40.

Concerned associations including Thai Marine Shrimp Farmers Association (TSA) and Thai Frozen Foods Association (TFFA) shared the same views, saying that the local price would drop by 15 to 20 per cent this year owing to the economic slowdown in the major importing countries.

Moreover, the European Union’s tax-privilege cut for Thai shrimp products will also trim exports. The US market accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the country’s total shrimp exports. In addition Thailand’s exports to the EU will plunge by 60 per cent owing to higher import tariffs.

Paiboon Ponsuwanna, president of TFFA, said farmers and exporters had enjoyed high prices for two years owing to a supply shortage in the world market. But they have to accept that good crops in other exporting countries and newcomers entering the market this year will affect the price.

“The attractive export price has increased the number of shrimp-farmers not only in Thailand but also India, Vietnam and other countries,” he said. Paiboon said the US had delayed placing orders because importers wanted to release stock from last year owing to lower sales than expected. Suraphol Pratuangtum, president of TSA, also said shrimp production in Thailand was expected to drop by 25 to 30 per cent owing to widespread disease and unpredictable conditions in the environment.

In addition, he said the US’s economic slowdown could affect Thailand’s exports because importers were delaying placing orders to avoid the risk of unstable prices. However, he said the shrimp export season would peak late every year, so the situation would be adjusted. Suraphol added that farmers and exporters would not enjoy the high prices of 1999-2000 owing to plentiful production. However, they want to see a stable price rather than volatility to facilitate their export management and reduce losses.

“A reasonable price for size-50 shrimp per kilogram is Bt270 to Bt280. It is a price that I believe both farmers and exporters would benefit from,” Suraphol said. “If export prices continue to be as high as in the past two years, Brazil will turn its sugar-cane land into shrimp farms,” he said.

ACHARA PONGVUTITHAM, The Nation

[email protected] From: Yadfon Association

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BANGKOK POST April 18, 2001

Note: The Following is an excerpt:

CHAROEN POKPHAND FOOD: Firm on track to meet goal
Plants running at full capacity

by Walailak Keeratipipatpong
The weaker baht and low production costs should help Charoen Pokphand Food Plc achieve its projection of 68 billion baht in sales this year, according to Adirek Sripratak, senior executive vice-president…..

….The main products of the agribusiness giant are chicken, black tiger shrimp, swine, and animal feed, with 23% of all output exported. The proportion of exports will increase to 27-28% this year due to more favourable markets for white meat such as chicken and shrimp to replace red meat such as beef and pork, which face declining consumption due to concern about mad cow and foot-and-mouth diseases.

Chingchai Lohawatanakul, president and CEO of CPF, said the company had discounted concerns of an economic recession in some markets, saying that white meat would remain popular regardless.

What does worry him is that production of black tiger shrimp this year will rise by about 10% from 300,000 tons the year earlier, pulling down shrimp prices by 20% so far.

Thailand is raising more shrimp to replace a shortfall in Ecuador where a virus damaged the industry in 1999 and 2000. More than 95% of Thailand’s shrimp are exported.

However, Mr Chingchai said CPF would be affected only slightly, as it had only a 1% share of the shrimp raising business. Increased farming will earn more for its shrimp feed business, which produces 400,000 tons of feed a year, or 60% of the total market.

Mr Adirek said that the company’s products used 70% local raw materials, so it was easy to control costs. Running plants at full capacity also keeps costs down. “Our three chicken slaughterhouses are running full-time to slaughter about three million chicken a week.”To meet global demand for safe and healthy food, he said CPF would bring all 195 farms of its 23 subsidiaries in the poultry, aquaculture and feedmill businesses under Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, and ISO certification.

“These plants all meet basic standards of ISO 1900 but need higher certificates,” Mr Adirek said.

CPF has put off a plan to consolidate another three companies-Star Marketing, CP Interfood, and CP Meiji-until market conditions improve. The previous consolidation of 23 companies under one roof was done to make CPF “the kitchen of the world”, he said…..

From YADFON ASSOCIATION [email protected]

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Going, going, dugong

The beautiful dugong, native to Thailand’s temperate waters, was once bountiful-but as mass tourism seeps into rural areas, the already much depleted creature faces an uncertain future

Story By PONGPET MEKLOY, Bangkok Post, 09/04/01 Hunting and irresponsible fishing practices have put the dugong (Dugong dugon) on the verge of extinction. With the tourism industry cruising into the species’ final stronghold in the Trang sea, the dugong now has to brace itself for the worst.

In the past, the marine mammal used to thrive in coastal waters both in the Andaman and the Gulf of Thailand. According to local old timers, sometimes hundreds of individuals could be seen in a single herd. These days, aerial surveys show that only a small number still survive here and there along the Andaman coast from Phangnga to Satun provinces. In the Thai gulf, the most “promising” sign of the species’ presence is occasional find of lifeless ones washed up onto the shore.

On both sides of the peninsula, about a dozen dugongs are found dead each year. The mammal needs to come up to the water surface to breath every few minutes, and most of those that died got trapped and drowned in fishing nets. Over the past three months, four such deaths have been recorded.

The largest remnant population of dugongs is that thriving in the sea off Trang province, especially near the beds of seagrass, the species’ main diet, around and between Koh Muk and Koh Libong. The highest number of dugongs spotted in one day by a researcher flying above the area in a microlight plane last year was 66. However, it is estimated that the actual number of dugongs in the Trang sea could exceed 100.

This particular dugong population, which consists of both adults and calves, owes its survival to a joint effort by the fishermen of Ban Chao Mai and those in nearby villages, together with academics and NGO workers.

Over the past several years, these people have put life back to the once dying seagrass habitats-which serve as natural nurseries for fish and other marine creatures, the villagers’ source of income-by banning dangerous fishing practices in the area, such as the use of the “push net” which uproots everything in its path.

Also, as a result of an education and conservation campaign, intentional killing of the dugong for food and medicine has become rare.

But here comes a new challenge for the conservationists-large-scale tourism.

With the sea of Trang being promoted worldwide as a new destination for tourists trying to avoid the crowded beaches of nearby Phuket and Krabi, more and more tour boats, large and small, are appearing in this quiet part of the Andaman. Many of them even venture into the dugongs’ seagrass grazing grounds.

Resorts and restaurants-many of them not equipped with proper waste and sewage treatment-are popping up on beaches both on the mainland and on islands. Facilities-roads on Koh Libong, for example-are being improved in preparation for future tourist influx.

To tackle the unstoppable arrival of the tourist industry, the Koh Libong Tambon Administration and local villagers have planned to build a pier at Ban Chao Mai. The project, for which a budget of 27 million baht has been approved by the Harbour Department, is expected to enable locals to compete with capitalists from outside.

However, wildlife researchers have expressed fear that it would also increase traffic and pollution in the dugong habitats which are just a few minutes away by boat.

So far, studies on dugongs have focused only on their populations and locations. Little is known about the species’ behaviour and biology. Systematic assessment of the impacts on the animals of underwater noises and other sorts of pollution that mass tourism would bring along is non-existent.

The situation is not hopeless, however, if all the “stakeholders”-ie villagers, the business sectors, the authorities, researchers and NGO’s-could put their conflicts of interest behind them and, instead, put their heads together to draw up a master plan that will benefit everybody, including, of course, the dugongs and other marine life.

Rules and regulations that ensure sustainable business-possibly including designation of off-limit zones-need to be realised. The Yadfon Association, a local NGO, plans to hold such a meeting later this month.

With the tourist season ending in May because of the upcoming southwestern monsoon, Trang locals have a few months to get themselves ready before the next, and larger, waves of visitors start to storm in around November. The fate of the last dugongs depends on how their human friends define “ready”.

From YADFON ASSOCIATION [email protected]
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Indonesia

The Jakarta Post April 4, 2001

Over 3.5m hectares of Indonesia’s mangrove forests destroyed

JAKARTA (JP): Some 3.5 million hectares, or 70 percent of the country’s five million hectares of mangrove forests have been severely damaged, Ministry of Forestry second assistant Yaman Mulyana said on Tuesday. One of the main causes of degradation is the over-exploitation of mangrove forests, which are being converted into shrimp ponds and fish farming plots, Mulyana said, as quoted by Antara.

“There is no mangrove forest that has been immune from damage, including in Irian Jaya,” he said. Deteriorating mangrove forest areas also include those in Sumatra, where there are countless uncontrolled fish farming operations and the illegal export of mangrove charcoal to Singapore and Malaysia, the officer said. Mulyana further urged for swift rehabilitation efforts and improved law enforcement to protect the forests.

“In Sinjai regency of South Sulawesi people have commenced the regeneration of mangrove forests, which can reach over 30,000 trees per hectare. Other areas could follow this step,” Mulyana explained.(edt)

TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign
>[email protected]
From Liz Chidley ([email protected])
(Down to Earth works with Indonesian NGOs and community groups)

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from www.Worldcatch.com

Is shrimp farming destroying mangroves?

Indonesia’s mangroves account for up to 23% of mangroves worldwide

By Inter Press Service Mar. 16 – WorldCatch News Network –
Indonesia’s mangrove forests are supposed to be the world’s largest, but environmentalists here say the area these cover has shrunk in half after decades of pursuing export-oriented aquaculture. A large part of this drive is the development encouraged by international financial institutions since shrimp cultivation has often been financed by the World Bank and other international donors, according to studies being undertaken by environmental groups here.

This Southeast Asian country’s mangroves account for 18 percent to 23 percent of mangroves worldwide, and cover as much as 4.25 million hectares. But activists with groups like the Indonesian Forum for Environment, locally known as WALHI, say this figure has slipped to only 2.2 million hectares as large tracts of mangrove areas have given way to shrimp farms, housing and industrial areas.

‘International donors such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank should stop promoting shrimp farming in Indonesia because it is destroying the country’s mangroves,” says Raja Siregar, marine policy campaigner of WALHI. Even the secretary general of the forestry ministry, Sudarsono, affirms, ”The destruction of the mangrove ecosystem is strongly related to the uncontrolled clearing of mangroves for shrimp and fish ponds.”

Indonesia is the world’s third largest supplier of shrimp after Thailand and China, exporting between 60,000 to 90,000 metric tons a year. The country exports the shrimps to the United States, Japan and Europe. Japan and the United States take a third of the world’s shrimp production.

To keep the country competitive in this profitable industry, the Indonesian government has allocated up to one million hectares of land, mostly in mangrove forests, for the shrimp hatchery industry. But Siregar argues, ”Experiences in other countries such as Bangladesh, Thailand, and the Philippines show that shrimp farming financed by international donors is not sustainable.” He adds that almost all shrimp farms located in the northern coastal area of Java island have already failed and been abandoned by businessmen because they are no longer productive.

In truth, not all mangrove areas can be converted into shrimp farms, but activists say many businessmen often go ahead and clear the forests anyway out of sheer ignorance. In Lampung, South Sumatra alone, at least 85 percent of approximately12,000 hectares of mangrove forests were reported to have been severely damaged by locals who used the wood to build traditional hatcheries.

But Siregar says a big part of the drive toward shrimp farming comes from encouragement from the programmes of international financial institutions, citing initial findings by WALHI into shrimp farming with loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. As early as 1974, the World Bank for instance financed shrimp farming in seven provinces, including West Java, Central Java, East Java and South Sulawesi. Close to 70 percent of shrimp farming in those provinces are now abandoned, after their operators found them no longer sustainable due to the high concentration of chemicals and destruction of the mangrove envionrment, Siregar says.

The study also found that some affected farmers are choosing to convert their shrimp ponds into milkfish ponds, while some wait and hope that the destruction can be reversed.

”We’ve asked the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to reconsider the cost and benefits of shrimp farming,” says Siregar. He notes pointedly that shrimp farming, primarily for export, is not included in the government’s food security programme. Aside from the havoc it is wreaking on the country’s mangroves, shrimp farming is also a big financial burden. In Indonesia, 40 percent of the shrimp farming cost is for feeds, chemicals and antibiotics, all of which are imported and many of which harm the environment and make productive use of land and mangroves difficult.

Apart from the export potential that drives shrimp farming, mangroves are also threatened by other factors such as exploitation by local communities out of poverty, lack of knowledge, or in their search for income. Some local residents chop down the trees for firewood and contractors look for material to use in tourism projects, or clear the area completely for housing.

In the troubled province of Aceh in North Sumatra, north-west of Jakarta, however, local people have been slashing down mangrove trees to export the wood to Malaysia and Singapore. Meanwhile, in Tangerang, Banten province, mangrove forests are being destroyed because of domestic and industrial waste disposal. Here in Jakarta, the remaining mangroves in Muara Angke, North Jakarta, are under serious threat as domestic and industrial wastes discharged into the capital’s rivers find their way to these forests.

The destruction of mangrove forests partly means that vast areas are losing a natural barrier to land abrasion by the sea. Media reports say some small isles in Mentawai Islands, some 90 km southwest of Padang, the provincial capital of West Sumatra, have been inundated by floods after mangrove forests there were damaged.

Government experts say it is not easy to revive damaged mangroves. Says the forestry ministry’s Sudarsono: ”We can’t replace mangroves with other trees because it is only plant sutiable for the coastal area.”

Siregar and other activists concede that there are many reasons why Indonesia’s mangroves have reached a critical state. But they insist that the main culprit, especially in the main island of Java, is shrimp farming. According to Siregar, other international donor agencies should be held responsible for any environmental destruction caused by shrimp farming and that they should consider providing grants rather than loans to rehabilitate abandoned shrimp farms, particularly those in Java island.

Rehabilitating one square kilometre of mangrove areas needs at least seven million rupiah or 700 U.S. dollars, and it takes up to five years to really clean the area of chemical substances. ”We urge international donors to reconsider loan programmes into other useful agricultural sectors,” says Siregar.

The government, for its part, has already enacted Environment Law No. 23/1997 to protect the mangrove ecosystem. But WALHI points out that law enforcement remains unsatisfactory. Indonesia so far has no clear policy on sustainable shrimp farming such as an expansion policy, the size of mangrove areas that can be converted into shrimp farms in one location, and rehabilitation financing. Siregar says that the government should make a clear definition of sustainable shrimp farming, its criteria, carrying capacity and ways of rehabilitating damaged mangroves.

”Most of the time,” he notes, ”businessmen clear mangrove areas for shrimp farms and after five or 10 years, they just leave them because they are no longer sustainable.”

Copyright ? 2001. Inter Press Service. All rights reserved.

[email protected] From: Tapol

[email protected] From: John Foss

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IT’S NOT ETHNICS THAT KILL, IT’S THE ENVIRONMENT

One of the major environmental issues that this newsletter tracks is human conflicts over the environment and its natural resources. The science of tracking environmental conflicts was formalized by Canadian Thomas (Tad) Home-Dixon who has established an institute at the University of Toronto. The latest environmental conflict in Indonesia has been mis-diagnosed as an ethnic conflict, but it is environmental. The world watched in horror as the Dayak Tribesmen of Borneo hunt down and slay 469 (conservative government estimate, though others estimate 2,000 killed) of the Madurese people.

They say it is ethnic strife that caused the killings. It isn’t. It is over- population, government forced translocation and a resultant conflict over diminishing natural resources like land, trees, and fish. Indonesia’s population is growing at an enormous rate. There is no place to put the people. So the Indonesian Government has tried to relocate whole groups of people to new lands, both to feed them and to ensure better government control of those areas, such as Borneo. It backfired in Borneo. The local Dayak (total population 3.5 million) couldn’t believe it when government boats began unloading almost 20,000 Madurese into their well-managed homeland in Central Kalimantan . The New York Times reported that, “most of the fighting has been set off by land disputes between the Dayaks, who are known to be vicious headhunters, and Madurese migrants (which now totalled 100,000, who have been relocated to Borneo as part of a government program to reduce overpopulation in other areas.” The Madurese traditional homeland, the Island of Madura off the coast of Java, is rather dry and not able to support a large population. There is just not the water, nor land to sustain continuous population growth. Instead of trying to control the population growth on Madura, the Indonesian Government decided to relocate the people to “empty” islands that don’t have as con centrated a population per land ratio.

The Associated Press reported that, “the Madurese began arriving in Borneo from Madura Island some 40 years ago as part of a government drive to alleviate over-crowding on Madura.” The Dayak’s were immediately concerned. The first serious sign of trouble came in 1997 when, “the Dayaks first went on a head- hunting and killing rampage against the Madurese in West Kalimantan and again in 1999. By some estimates, thousands were killed,” according to the Los Angeles Times. It has been entertaining for the media to portray this as a ‘re-awakenin g of the head-hunting instincts of the Dayak’ and an ethnic-driven conflict. But it is more complex than that.

It is a mix of environmental stresses that include over-population, depletion of resources, competition for remaining resources and government mismanagement of land, water, forests, and peoples. Coincidental with the introduction of the Madurese, the Indonesian Government began to open up the Dayak’s forests in Borneo to clear-cut logging. Rightly or wrongly, the Dayak related the destruction of the forest home to the arrival of the Madurese. The Indonesian Government has made similar translocation and migration pushes in other parts of the Indonesian islands, however, it was the Dayak “head hunters” that refused to cave into the mismanagement. It was the Dayak that said no more….

Source, “Migrants Flee Borneo as Death Toll Rises”, by Calvin Sims, New York Times, February 25, 2001. Source 2, “Ethnic Slaughter Finally Over”, by Daniel Cooney, Pal angkaraya, Indonesia, The Associated Press, March 3, 2001. Source 3, “Reviving a Savage Practice”, by Richard C. Paddock, Los Angeles Times, March 3, 2001.

From THE GALLON ENVIRONMENT LETTER
Email [email protected] Vol. 5, No. 9, March 8, 2001

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Philippines

Note: The following is an excerpt:

Central Luzon farmlands giving way to fishponds

By Tonette Orejas, Inquirer News Service, PDI Central Luzon Desk
November 20, 2000
SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga-Farmlands in Central Luzon are being converted into fishponds at an “unregulated, rapid rate” in the last two years and agriculture officials warned this trend threatens to reduce irrigation and household water supply in the region. Central Luzon, agriculture officials said, contributes almost half of its rice production to Metro Manila. In Pampanga, which in 1999 had 26,354.25 hectares of fishponds, the rampant conversion of farmlands into inland fishing grounds was monitored in the towns of Candaba, Floridablanca, Lubao, Mexico and Guagua.

“There’s been a 200-percent rise in (the size of) fishpond areas in Pampanga in the past two years. It’s the same trend all over the region,” said Eduardo Gonzales, crop division chief of the regional Department of Agriculture. Last year, the fishpond areas in the region reached 54,765.98 hectares, according to reports obtained from the regional Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. Bangus (milkfish), prawn and tilapia topped the list of cultured species in freshwater and brackish water fishponds. It was not known how many percent of the catch went to the export market…….

From Isabel de la Torre, Coordinator ISA Net
[email protected]
S. ASIA

India

Protest against the entry of Foreign deep-sea Trawlers into the Indian Seas

Letter to the Prime Minister of India:

From NATIONAL FISH WORKERS’ FORUM (NFF)

25.04.2001 ( PRESS RELEASE )

The coming of 25 illegal vessels from Taiwan with deep-sea trawlers into the Indian seas for the purpose of looting in our waters , can not be with out the knowledge and patronage of some of the people in power. The fishing communities in India are not going to take it just lying down. We hereby bring to your kind notice our strong protest against the same.

At the same time, in the name of and on behalf of the millions of small scale and traditional fisher people in India who depend upon the natural resources for their lively hood , I appeal to you Mr. Prime minister and the honorable ministers of Commerce & Industry, Agriculture &Fisheries, Petroleum & Natural Gas to intervene immediately and to stop these foreign trawlers coming into our waters for operation.

In this connection I would like to bring to your kind attention that an agreement between the National Fish workers? Forum (NFF) represented by Shri Thomas Kocherry and Shri Xavier Pinto, the Executive Members and the honorable Agriculture Minister Shri Nitish Kumar and the Honorable Petroleum Minister Sri Ram Naik on 13.01.2001, the copy of which is attached here with , is still to be honored.

If the Taiwan Deep sea fishing vessels are not stopped and sent back to their country with immediate effect, and the 8 agreements reached at between the NFF and the honorable Agriculture Minister Shri Nitish Kumar and the Honorable Petroleum Minister Sri Ram Naik on 13.01.2001 are not honored, the NFF & the Traditional /small scale fishers will be left with no other choice but to launch a Nation wide agitation and there is no question of withdrawing it until our last demand is realized.

Please intervene immediately so that we will not have to go on another nation wide agitation within 4 months? time, including hunger strikes by the National leaders of the Fisher peoples. Once again I request to you in the name of the traditional /small scale
fisher people in India to honour the 8 agreements that have been reached on 13/01/2001and to stop the Taiwan Vessels from entering into our seas for the purpose of looting.

Thomas Kocherry
-Executive member, National Fishworkers?Forum ( NFF)
-Co-ordination Committee Member, World Forum of Fisher People( WFFP )
-National Co-coordinator, National Alliance Of Peoples? Movements (NAPM)

From: “World Forum of Fisherpeoples (WFFP)” [email protected]
===========

***ACTION ALERT!!!***

Please support us & send your protest letters to the following 4 persons
: Thanks Thomas Kocherry
NFF / WFFP /NAPM

Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Prime Minister of India
152,South Block, NEW DELHI 110 001
FAX : + 011 3016857

2
Shri Murasoli Maran -Minister of Commerce & Industry
Government of India146 , Udyog Bhawan , NEW DELHI 110 001
Fax: + 011 3019947

3
Shri Ram Naik ? Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas,
Government of India,
201 , A- Wing, Shastri Bhawan , NEW DELHI 110 001
Fax : + 011 3386118

4
Shri Nitish Kumar ? Minister of Agriculture & fisheries
Governmewnt of India
120 ,Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi -110 001
Fax : + 011 3755448

From NATIONAL FISH WORKERS’ FORUM (NFF)
(A Federation of State Level Trade Unions)
E. Mail: [email protected]
[email protected]

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Bangladesh

Note that in these coming issues of the LFN, the Sundarbans of Bangladesh and India will be featured in an attempt to raise awareness and concerted action to save this magnificent wetlands area.. The Sundarban contains the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world, and in 1997 was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yet this same unique region is now threatened by unregulated and unsustainable developments such as unregulated shrimp aquaculture expansion and oil exploitation.

ISA Net Statement from Bangladesh April 13, 2001

The Industrial Shrimp Action Network (ISA Net) is a global network of organizations working to address the negative social and environmental impacts of shrimp aquaculture. ISA Net represents concerns from more than 25 producing and consuming countries of industrially farmed shrimp.

Delegates from 10 countries (US, Canada, Sweden, United Kingdom, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand) visited the Sundarbans and met with local communities to hear the voices of villagers from (Polder 22), Horinkhola, Paikgacha in Khulna and various places about the harmful impacts of shrimp aquaculture on their lives. ISA Net delegates participated in a workshop with more than 200 participants from over 10 upazilas and three districts. The Citizens Committee for Conservation of
Coastal Environment, Khulna organized this workshop, “Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts of Industrial Shrimp Cultivation”. Among our findings regarding shrimp farming from nearly 50 representatives, including women were as follows:
* Human rights abuses including murders, rapes, false arrests,
harassment by shrimp farmers aided by police in the area
* Loss of livelihood
* Land conflicts
* Lack of food security and malnutrition heavily impacting children
and women
* Displacement of women from their traditional livelihoods
* Violence against women
* Destruction of social and cultural fabric of village society
* Migration to already overcrowded cities
* Children dropping out of schools to catch shrimp fries
* Loss of biodiversity
* Lack of protection of the Sundarbans, the world’s largest
contiguous mangrove forest, and further expansion of shrimp farming in the
buffer zone areas
* Significant decline of fish resources, the main protein source of
villagers
* Decline in the resources such as livestock, poultry, fuel and fodder
* Crisis of drinking water due to salinization
* Pollution problems and destruction of livelihood
* Investments from profits earned are not reinvested in the local economy
* Gross inequity on who receives the benefits from shrimp farming and
who suffers the consequences

Prior to the field visits, we also met with Mr. ASM Abdur Rab, Minister of Fisheries, and Dr. Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, State Minister of Planning. ISA Net delegates were pleased that the Minister of Fisheries acknowledged there were serious concerns regarding shrimp aquaculture. He promised to ensure that agricultural land will not be converted to shrimp farms and that the traditional livelihoods of local communities will be protected.

ISA Net delegates expressed their concern about the Planning Minister’s absolute priority for foreign exchange instead of preventing the socio-economic and environmental impacts of shrimp farming on local communities, given the need to lessen Bangladesh’s dependence on foreign aid.

ISA Net delegates also met with representatives of the multilateral and bilateral donors namely the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, DFID, and UNDP. We were informed by the donors of the fourth fisheries project that they are doing an independent review of the impacts of shrimp aquaculture which will be made available to key stakeholders, civil society representatives including ISA Net.

We express our concern on the serious threat of destruction of the Sundarbans by shrimp farming in the buffer zones due to over-extraction of resources, and increase in salinity. This development is made inevitable by the government’s unqualified promotion of the rapid and uncontrolled expansion of the shrimp industry. During our discussion the Minister of Planning admitted the serious consequences emerging from shrimp farming but conceded that he had no systems in place to monitor, prevent or mitigate
them.

We recognize that there is a strong link between shrimp farming and the sustainability of the Sundarbans. We are disturbed that the Government of Bangladesh, and those funding the Sundarbans Biodiversity Conservation Project like the Asian Development Bank, Global Environment Facility, etc. refuse to acknowledge shrimp farming, the main threat to the Sundarbans, is the main activity in the Sundarbans buffer zone. Our worry is that the project’s documents do not show any evidence of transparency and
accountability to affected local communities.

We are distressed to learn that Shell Oil Co. been given a contract to undertake gas exploration activities in Block 5, which is adjacent to the World Heritage Site of the Sundarbans. Any activity in the area, even in the buffer zones, will seriously impact the Sundarbans.

The adverse socio-economic and environmental impacts of shrimp farming are not unique to Bangladesh. This has been shown in other farmed shrimp producing counties. The shrimp industry has been a “rape and run” type of industry. It has proven to be a short term and unsustainable industry with irreversible damage to the environment and local communities in many cases.

In view of the above, we call on the Bangladesh Government and all concerned bodies to:
* Immediately halt the expansion of shrimp farming
* Protect the rights of Bangladeshi citizens to be free from the
abuses of shrimp farmers and their employees who have committed murders,
rapes,
arsons, and beatings to achieve illegal activities
* Insist that the police must act fairly and effectively to enforce
the law to protect villagers from illegal activities of shrimp farmers
* Conduct full and fair investigations and speedy trial into the
murders of Korunamoyee Sardar, Zaheda, Zaber, Maula Bux, and others who
have been killed while defending their rights to livelihood
* Drop the false charges against those who have been protesting
shrimp farming practices
* Conduct a full review of the Sundarbans Biodiversity Project to
ensure full and genuince participation of local communities
* Conduct public and independent impact assessment of the Shell Oil
Project prior to the implementation of any activity

ISA Net declared November 7 as the International Day of Action against the shrimp industry in honor of Koronamoyee Sardar who was martyred on that day in 1990. We will release worldwide a report on the impacts of shrimp farming and hold public events to raise awareness on the issue.

(end of statement)

From: “Isabel de la Torre” [email protected]
Industrial Shrimp Action Network

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Sri Lanka

Small Fishers Federation Will Dedicate It’s 2nd MAP/ SFFL Mangrove
Community Resource Center In June

During the recent 5th In the Hands of the Fishers Workshop held in Sri Lanka and organized by the Small Fishers Federation, SFFL’s Director, Anuradha Wickramasinghe, announced plans to inaugurate the second joint MAP-SFFL Mangrove Commmunity Resource Center at Kiralakele. During our workshop tour in the South of Sri Lanka, we visited this center which is still in its construction phase. The foundation and walls had been constructed, but the roof was still lacking. This Center is built on pillars, or cement “stilts”, right within a small clearing, and is surrounded by mangrove habilat.

This newest MCRC in Sri Lanka will become fully functional this Summer, offering educational and research facilities for local communuties, as well as serve as a center for mangrove restoration and conservation.

———————————————————–

New Threat to Livelihoods of Fishermen Around the Negombo Lagoon.

There are around 15 thousand traditional and small fishermen who are living on the Negombo lagoon, which is internationally recognized as one of the precious water resources in Asia. Their livelihoods, which for several generations depended on prawns, lobsters and fish caught there, are being now threatened by the degradation of the environment.

Some of the immediate causes of this situation are the construction of a hotel on one of the islands in the lagoon, the commercial prawn farms coming up on land all around the lagoon and pollution caused by the emissions of the factories.

The government, following the Market Economic Policy encourages the production of prawns and lobsters for exports. Special bank loans are made available and modern technologies are introduced to such farmers. They flourished in Puttalam district during the last few years and those who were involved made large profits during a very short period. However, the Puttalam lagoon is now said to be dead. The poor fishermen who lived on that lagoon are now stranded as a result of the loss of their sources of
livelihoods. But who cares?

The Puttalam Provincial Council has posthumously banned prawn farming there. Those farmers who had the taste of earning quick money seem to have established new ones in the Negombo lagoon. There are 4-5 farms already established in Negombo. Many morelarge pits are being dug using modern machinery.

The destruction of mangroves is one of the grave dangers caused by prawn farming. The mangroves are so dear to the traditional fishermen. They never destroy the mangroves. On the 4th of February, the fishermen had a Prayer service in Negombo,
followed by a ‘Shramadana’ to plant ‘kadol’ (mangroves) on an island in the lagoon. It was on the same day that the farmers had a ‘satyagrha’ in Polonnaruwa to protest against the privatization of the water resources. The issue of the farmers was reported at the prayer rally in Negombo and that of the fishermen was reported to the farmers in Polonnaruwa.

At a subsequent meeting of the Negombo lagoon fishermen a decision was taken to lodge an entry with the police that their livelihoods are being affected as a result of such farming and that such constructions are illegal according to the environmental law in the country. The leaders of the fishermen made an entry in the police on behalf of their community.

As the local politicians too are involved in prawn farming, the State machinery is very slowing in taking legal action against these activities. In fact some of the owners of these farms are the local politicians. A series of public meetings were held to educate the people and to create public opinion on this grave situation. An interesting feature of this campaign is a photo-exhibition on the destruction of the lagoon. Due to the
growing public pressure, the Minister has recently banned prawn farming in the lagoon…..

….The Police failing to resolve the issue proposed that the issue be debated in the courts to determine the ownership of the island. Both parties agreed to this. But, on the day of hearing on the 8th of March, we were informed at the court that the case filed by the Police, was not for the identification of the ownership of the land but for ‘forced entry into private property and unlawful assembly’….

…However, the judge ordered that the case be reversed to the original position and the ownership of the island needs to be determined first, and asked the police to prove next time that there has been an ‘unlawful assembly’. It will be taken up again on the 24th….

On the 24th of April, the case against the fishermen and the 4 priests was taken up for hearing again in the magistrate court of Negombo. On this day the judge called for the affidavits from both sides. On behalf of the fishermen, 70 affidavits and 10 from the other side were submitted. The next date was fixed for the 10th of May. This Court Case is against the Hotel construction on a small Island in the Negombo Lagoon. It is to
determine who really owns that property and there is another case filed by the police for unlawful assembly against the same priests and fishermen for planting mangroves in that small island.

On the 27th evening, the Negombo Police has taken into custody 4 young fishermen as they were alighting from their fishing craft and while taking them to the police station they have been mercilessly assaulted. The eye witnesses say the attack was really brutal. Further these young men didn’t know for what reason that they were being assaulted and taken into custody.

Subsequently the reason given was that these men were responsible for damaging the pipe line for water to the proposed site of the intended hotel in the small island in the lagoon…..

….Those who have followed up these events very closely namely, the original attempt by the hotelier Guruge to mudslinging at Fr. Jude Lal, the prompt response of the police to the entry made by the hotelier, the brutal assault on the innocent fishermen and the comments of the police on the younger priests, are raising serious doubts about the impartiality of the police.

The two specific demands of the lagoon fishermen on the government are that it declares the islands as a reservation area and to ban prawn farming in Negombo.

***ACTION ALERT!!!**

Please write letters of concern to the Minister of Fisheries for delaying action to save the lagoon and also the livelihoods of the small fishermen around the Negombo lagoon. The fax number of the mininster of fisheries Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksha is 047-0273-446187 & of the Secretary to the Minstry is 541184

We are planning to take up a case agaisnt the police for assaulting the four fishermen.

From: Fr.Sarath [[email protected]]

OCEANIA
Australia

Fishy Tales… 25-4-01

Bananas and prawns threatened by virus

By Kevin Meade and Cathy Pryor

PRIMARY producers are battling foreign diseases on two fronts, with one
virus causing havoc in the banana industry and another posing a serious
threat to the nation’s marine resources. More than seven tonnes of
imported Indonesian green prawns are being held under quarantine in
Brisbane and Cairns after testing positive to the devastating marine
disease known as white spot virus.

Australian Prawn Farmers Association spokesman Martin Breen said the virus
could devastate the nation’s $52 million prawn-farming industry and could
spread to wild stocks through processing and domestic waste or use of
diseased prawns as bait. Mr Breen said the virus, which could kill prawns
within 24 hours, could also wipe out other crustaceans such as crabs. NSW
Fisheries Minister Eddie Obeid announced on April 12 that the virus had
been found in prawns caught in Sydney Harbour.

Meanwhile in NSW, people are paying double for bananas as quarantine
restrictions surrounding banana farms in far north Queensland begin to bite
in the wake of the black sigatoka outbreak. The restrictions, which affect
90 per cent of banana farms in Australia’s most prolific growing region,
are into their third week after the fungal disease was first discovered on
a wild banana plant near Tully, 120km south of Cairns, on April 3.

Amid predictions banana stocks could run out in NSW within the next week,
wholesalers at Sydney’s Flemington markets said yesterday they already were
unable to meet the demand of fruit shops around the metropolitan area.

“In the Sydney markets our main commodity is bananas and it is quite
drastic really. We have seen prices go two weeks ago from $10 or $12 a
carton to more than $30 a carton now,” store-holder and Australian Bananas
Wholesalers Association president Harry Theoharous said.

“The consumers around Sydney and the metropolitan regions are going to pay
exorbitant prices double or triple what they normally do this time of
year.”

Six confirmed cases of black sigatoka, which affects the leaves of banana
plants and stunts their growth, have been found on banana leaves in the
Tully region, with four farms so far having to have their crops destroyed
to prevent the spread. While authorities remain hopeful the outbreaks have
now been eradicated, bananas grown in a 50km radius from each case have
been banned from NSW and Western Australia in the fear other
banana-growing regions could be affected.

Australian Banana Growers Council chairwoman Vicky Kippin-O’Connor said
farmers in the affected area had lost more than $6 million through lost
sales to NSW.

Full story at: abc.net.au
Vern Veitch [email protected]

———————————————————–

Queensland Govt urges prawn import review

The Queensland Government is calling for a review of prawn import rules
after the discovery of prawns infected with white spot virus in Sydney
Harbour. Primary Industries Minister Henry Palaszczuk says the disease can
be traced back to raw prawns which are being improperly sold for bait and
as food for aquaculture farms.

He says the disease threatens Queensland’s prawn fishing and farming
industries.

“Unless the Federal Government can assure me as the Minister here in
Queensland that they are sure that the uncooked prawns will not be used
outside of the processing process, they should review their protocols
immediately,” he said.

From: “Graham J Jones”<[email protected]>

————————————————————–
ABIX: Australasian Business Intelligence April 9, 2001 Pg. 1

Prawn farming plan released’

Northern Territory News ABSTRACT: A plan for a black tiger prawn farm in Darwin Harbour has been displayed for public comment. An environmental impact assessment of the aquaculture project was released by the Northern Territory Department of Lands Planning & the Environment on 6 April 2001. The Phelps-Panizza Group wants to establish the venture near the entrance to the Blackmore River on Middle Arm. A previous proposal for a similar farm at Shoal Bay was vigorously opposed by the fishing lobby and environmental groups LOAD-DATE: April 8, 2001 [Entered April 9, 2001]

Mike Hagler, Oceans & Fisheries Campaigner, Greenpeace
[email protected]

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Papua New Guinea

WWF Eco-Forestry Project Operating Without Approval

By Bob Burton

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea, April 4, 2001 (ENS) – The Papua New Guinea
Forest Authority has revealed that an eco-forestry project run by the U.S. based World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as a model of well managed forestry, is logging mangrove forests without permission. Mangrove forests are excluded from logging under the PNG Code of Logging Practice.The controversy over the WWF-US project erupted when an internal WWF report detailing the dire financial situation of the WWF established logging company, Kikori Pacific Limited (KPL), was leaked to UK TV station, Channel 4.

The report noted that the company that supplied logs to the KPL sawmill “sources its logs from mangroves.” It is illegal to log mangroves in Papua New Guinea without permission from the PNG National Forest Authority.

Director of the WWF-US Global Forest Program, Bruce Cabarle, rejects the WWF internal report. “All of these activities are conducted with the full knowledge of the PNG Forest Authority and none are illegal – notwithstanding the existence of a WWF internal report – whose author incorrectly assumed that they were.”

The PNG National Forest Authority disagrees. “Currently there is no approval of any sort issued to WWF to log on any mangrove swamps or mangrove timber,” said PNG National Forest Authority spokesperson, Mr. Nen.

The KPL project was established in 1996 as a part of a partnership worth $US1 million annually between WWF-US and Chevron, which developed a major oil and gas project in the Kikori rainforests. KPL was established as a profit making eco-forestry company to offer landowners an economic return from selective logging operations that would
gain accreditation as sustainable timber with the Forest Stewardship Council, the forestry certification system initiated by WWF.

In the absence of such an option, WWF-US feared landowners would sign contracts with logging companies that would clearfell the rainforests. While the concept for KPL was simple, WWF-US found the on the ground implementation much harder. Many landowner groups already receiving payments from the oil company, were disinterested in the eco-forestry project. Others had already signed contracts with major logging companies.

WWF-US gained additional funding from the US based MacArthur Foundation, the US State Department, and a $250,000 ten-year low interest loan from the World Bank affiliated International Finance Corporation. With the influx of funds KPL established a mill at Kikori and began buying logs from a landowner company, Iviri Timbers. KPL marketed the wood initially as mangrove cedar and more recently as Papuan mahogany, or mahogany cedar….

…In March 2000, the PNG Code of Logging Practice was amended to provide for villages to cut timber for their own local use and exclude logging operations of less than 500 cubic metres. A spokesperson for WWF-PNG said that the revised code of practice
made it possible to log mangroves in certain circumstances….

…However, a joint WWF World Bank report on PNG Eco-forestry released early last year noted “New Guinea mangrove forests are recognized as the most extensive in the world with many unusual species.”

The report noted that the WWF Kikori project was logging mangroves, which it referred as “fragile forests.” Following the controversy, KPL has announced that the company will
phase out the mangrove logging.

From: Dana Stolzman

LATIN AMERICA
Ecuador

Shell collectors denounce illegal acts in mangrove concessions

On the 21st of March, the shell collectors of the place Chacal, region of
Barbones in the El Oro province obstructed orders to dislodge them by
Governor Felix Romero. The people made a human barrier to defend 80
hectares of illegal mangrove concession given to a shrimp farmer of the
zone. 30 hectares among those 80 hectares are already part of a community
concession.

The mangrove conflict in the place Chacal evidences the permanent damages
against nature and the ancestral users of the mangrove ecosystem. The
organization of shellfishers “Unidos Venceremos” (Together for the
Victory) denounced the irregularities in the concession process. They
demonstrated that officers of the Agricultural Development Institute (INDA)
adjudicated to shrimp farmer Enrique Martinez Gonzalez, 80 hectares made up
basically of mangrove forest. The Minister of Environment has also a big
part in this conflict since his authorities admitted the accusation made
by the shrimp farmer, urging to revoke the concession given to the local
communities.

These actions violate the law in decree 918 of November, 1963. This law
urges to make the delimitation of the land in cases of dislodging when the
land is bounded by zones of beaches and bays. These actions also violate
all the legislation that protects the mangrove ecosystem. This illegality
has been controlled in part by the action of the General Direction of the
Merchant Marine (DIGMER), since its officers confirmed after an inspection
that this land involves 24-36 ha. of beaches and bays, and therefore makes
ineffective the adjudication.

The communities ask for urgent legal decisions from the competent
authorities in order to solve this conflict and continue with their normal
life without the threats of this unscrupulous shrimp farmer.

From COORDINADORA NACIONAL PARA LA DEFENSA DEL MANGLAR E-mail:
[email protected]
———————————————————

***ACTION ALERT!!!***

As we have informed you, in the place Chacal, Jubones river, El Oro province, 31 members of the fisherworkers association “Unidos Venceremos” are defending 80 hectares of mangroves. 30.20 has. among those, are part of a concession that they received from the Ministry of Environment on the 16th August, 2000 for a 10 year term.

The shrimp farmer, Enrique Martinez, pretends to build in this zone a shrimp pond, supported on the adjudication of the land by the National Institute of Agricultural Development (INDA), and therefore he asked the Ministry to revoke the community concession based on a supposed lack of application of the Management Plan for this area.

The governor of the province, Ing. Felix Romero Jimenez, ordered the dislodging of the zone; however, Captain Edmundo Lertera Araujo, stopped this dislodging and ratified that the mangrove area was given in concession to the fisherworkers association “Unidos Venceremos”. To stop the dislodging, 90 families of shellfishers and fisherworkers, with its children and elders, made a “human shield” in front of the armed policemen on the 21st. of March.

We ask you to send letters, e-mails and faxes to the following authorities (you will find a model letter at the bottom):

Minister of Environment of Ecuador
Arch. Rodolfo Rendón
[email protected]
Fax: +593 2 565809
Address: Av. Amazonas y Eloy Alfaro. Edificio MAG. 7mo. piso.

Minister of Agriculture of Ecuador
Ing. Galo PLaza Pallares
[email protected]
Fax: +593 2 500 873
Address: Av. Amazonas y Eloy Alfaro. Edificio MAG. 10mo. piso

National Director of the National Institute of Agricultural Development (INDA)
Ing. Francisco Canepa
Fax: +593 2 236950
Dirección: Carrión 956 y León Vivar

Governor of El Oro province
Ing. F?lix Romero Jim?nez
Fax. +593 7 930401 / +593 7 930096
======-=========SAMPLE LETTER==================

Dear Minister,
With great concern we write to you in the knowledge that in Chacal,
Jubones river, El Oro province, there has been an attempt to give 80 ha.
of mangroves to a shrimp farmer.

It is a duty of the Ministry of Environment and of its Forestry Provincial
Officers to watch for the integrity of the Ecuadorian natural patrimony
and its grassroot communities, since you have signed promises of community
concessions of those mangroves with the local communities.

Since the Ecuadorian mangroves are a forestry patrimony and according to
Executive Decree 1102, from the July the 28th, 1999 this can be given in
concession to the fisherworkers and shellfishworkers of this ecosystem ,
we appeal to you to reaffirm the concession of 30.20 has. given to the
association “Unidos Venceremos”, as well as give the remaining 49.80 has.
that are in danger because of the pretended construction of new
shrimpfarming infrastructure.

It is understood that it is a completely illegal act from INDA to give a
property title in mangrove areas, and it is a real issue of concern that
these acts of corruption happen frequently in protecting forests, protected
areas and ecological reserves in Ecuador. Therefore we support the actions
done by the Harbor Captain from the El Oro province, Edmundo Lertera, in
favor of the communities and in defense of the mangroves, and we exhort
him to continue with the accomplishment of the laws that protect the
ecosystem.

Yours truly,

xxxxxx
******************
Note, please cc FUNDECOL your letters of response:
[email protected]
Fax: +593 2 443433

———————————————————-

Honduras

Is the World Bank/International Finance Corporation Responsible for the
Coastal Wetlands Destruction in the Tropics?

Definitely, the shrimp aquaculture expansion in the tropic will end when
the last remains of coastal wetlands disappear, taking with them a large
portion of marine biodiversity, and leaving contaminated waters colonized
by pathogen micro-organisms imported by other latitudes as inheritance.
This will make the recuperation of lost species something difficult to
achieve.

For those who today struggle to detain the disorganized, ambitious and
selfish shrimp aquaculture expansion, it is frustrating to see how
international financial bodies promote the destruction of mangroves,
lagoons, estuaries, and water contamination; it is painful to feel how in
the name of poverty relief, the destruction of natural resources vital for
survival and progress of the inhabitants of local communities is promoted.

It is surprising to see how a part of the loans that the aforementioned
international bodies granted are used for denigrating campaigns against
those that say support true sustainable development based on development
planning; it is sad to see how financial contributions from countries that
grant funds to these organizations seem to use them on the purchase of
full pages in the papers to ruin the prestige of everyone they consider
their opponents, and to buy the souls of some journalists and government
officials.

In Honduras, the recent seizure of the access road to a shrimp farm,
performed by neighboring communities, in protest for the expansion on
coastal wetlands, and with evident negative impacts on the economy and
safety of the fishermen, as well as against the environment…has made
evident the World Bank’s protagonism through the International Financial
Corporation (WB/IFC) as one of the economic promoters for shrimp farm
expansion, forgetting about its so-called socio-environmental policy that
it says it includes in all its projects, and that has made clear that the
costly campaign to ruin the reputations of protestors and NGO leaders
gathered under (CODDEFFAGOLF), has probably been financed by the WB/IFC.

Other financial bodies that have participated in this cannot be excluded
from their share of responsibility. Apparently among them are the Central
American Economic Integration Bank and others… Well, at least the WB/IFC
have sent a commission to investigate what has happened in Honduras…
what worries us is that they have sent the same persons that approved the
loan… despite this, we must trust them!

From: “coddeffagolf”
Translation: Soraya Hern?ndez

STORIES/ISSUES

15 March 2001

Pollution Runoff A Problem for Coastal Ecosystems

A new report of the Pew Oceans Commission (released Feb. 27 2001) finds that polluted runoff from farms and cities – often far inland – went largely unabated or actually increased over the past 30 years, in many cases negating gains made in controlling direct sources of pollution. Scientists from the University of Maryland and University of
Rhode Island point to increases in plant nutrients as the most pervasive pollution risk for estuaries, coral reefs, seagrass beds, and other coastal ecosystems….

From: “Bill Mott” , SeaWEb

———————————————————–

GRIM FUTURE FORECAST FOR WORLD’S COASTAL AREAS

WASHINGTON, DC, April 17, 2001 (ENS) – Human modification and destruction of the planet’s coastal zone is endangering marshes, estuaries, coral reefs and mangrove forests that provide a host of ecosystem services to humans, warns a new study released today. These services are vital – flood protection, water filtration, nursery habitat for fish and other species…..

“Unless things change very quickly, the world’s coastal areas face a grim future. Many important coastal habitats like lagoons, wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs are disappearing,” said Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute, which released the report, “Pilot Analysis of Global Ecosystems (PAGE): Coastal Ecosystems.”

Coastal ecosystems, found along continental margins, are regions of remarkable biological productivity. Also highly accessible to human travelers, the world’s coasts have been centers of human activity for millennia. Coastal ecosystems provide a wide array of goods and services, producing most of the fish, shellfish and seawood that humans and animals consume. These ecosystems are a major source of fertilizer,
pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, household products and construction materials. Shoreline ecosystems store and cycle nutrients, filter pollutants from inland freshwater systems, and help to protect shorelines from erosion and storms. People gravitate to coastal regions to live, work and play.

Almost 30 percent of the land area in the world’s coastal ecosystems has already been extensively altered or destroyed by growing demands for housing, industry and recreation, the report finds. An estimated four out of every ten people live within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of a coast. “Coastal populations are exploding, and as they
increase, pressures on coastal ecosystems will follow,” said Lash. World Resources Institute (WRI) scientists looked at coastal zones around the globe, including the intertidal and subtidal areas on and above the continental shelf, to a depth of 200 meters (650 feet), and adjacent lands. The team analyzed the condition of coastal areas, defined as the current and future capacity of these ecosystems to provide
the full range of goods and services needed or valued by humans. Many of the abundance and quality of these goods and services are already severely degraded, the World Resources Institute researchers found…..

Nearly two-thirds of all the fish harvested in the world depend on coastal wetlands, mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs. About 95 percent of the world’s marine fish
harvest come from coastal waters. But many fish populations are declining, leading fishers to catch more low value fish and spend more hours seeking dwindling schools of valuable fish like cod, hake and tuna which are declining. Overall, 75 percent of fish populations are depleted or being fished at their biological limit.

Besides the food production value of coastal areas, the World Resources Institute also looked at these ecosystems’ contributions to shoreline stabilization, water quality, biodiversity, and tourism and recreation. The report says that beach erosion is a growing problem and affects tourism revenue, particularly in island nations. In the Caribbean, as much as 70 percent of beaches studied over a 10 year period were eroded. The long term success of tourism in this region is dependent on excellent
beaches, a pristine marine environment, and warm weather, the WRI report notes. Studies by the world’s climate scientists indicate that an increase in ocean temperatures
could result in a sea level rise of as much as 95 centimeters (3.1 feet) at the end of this century.

“The resulting storm surges could intensify erosion, habitat loss, increased salinity of freshwater aquifers and extreme coastal flooding,” said Yumiko Kura, a lead author of the WRI report. The protection of shorelines, especially in small countries and countries with limited fertile land, has become particularly important. In Japan, the government
estimates that 46 percent of its shorelines need protection and has spent more than $40 billion on this effort. The report also warns that the outright destruction of coral reefs by destructive fishing practices and mining is a serious problem. Coral bleaching – which results from rising ocean temperatures caused by climate change – is also increasing and further threatens this valuable resource.

The Coastal Ecosystems report also reveals:
? In the last 50 years, as much as 85 percent of the mangroves have been lost in Thailand, the Philippines, Pakistan, Panama and Mexico. Globally, about 50 percent of mangrove forests have been lost.
? In recent decades, the increase in pollution from inland sources and the loss of coastal habitats that filter pollution have led to the expansion of dead zones, such as those in the Gulf of Mexico. These oxygen depleted areas are deadly to fish and other marine species.
? The incidence of harmful algal blooms along the United States coastlines increased from 200 in the 1970s to 700 in the 1990s. Since 1991, these algal blooms have caused almost $300 million damage in terms of fish kills, public health problems and lost tourism revenue.
? More invasive or alien species are being found in coastal areas, often disrupting the food chain and eliminating native species. Scientists estimate that on any given day, as many as 3,000 different species are carried in the ballasts of the world’s ocean fleet. Scientists have identified 480 invasive species in the Mediterranean, 89 in the Baltic Sea, and 124 in Australian waters.

“These indicators show that the world’s coastal ecosystems are going down the drain fast. The challenge before us is to find ways to meet the needs of human development while protecting the ecosystems that are the foundation of all life,” said WRI president Lash. WRI recommends that more financial resources be devoted to monitoring coastal ecosystems, studying their species and the services they provide, and protecting their health. The World Resources Institute is an environmental think tank that provides research and recommendations on practical ways to protect the Earth…

This report, along with similar studies on agricultural lands, forests, freshwater and grasslands, comprise the first comprehensive analysis of the world’s ecosystems. For full text and graphics visit:
ens-news.com
[Entered April 18, 2001]

From Mike Hagler, Oceans & Fisheries Campaigner, Greenpeace
[email protected]
————————————————————-

New human pathogenic bacteria resulting from GE plants.

Transfer of genes from transgenic plants to soil bacteria and soil fungi has been reported. They warn that the vector genes may be transferred to soil bacteria and soil fungi and considerably contribute to increased horizontal transfer. They suggest that this may have contributed to the emergence of new human pathogenic bacteria.

The complete 32k article at: flora.org

From: Bob Olsen

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Note: The following is an excerpt:

WFFP calls for International Fisheires Strike on Nov 21 WFD

Sat, 10 Mar 2001 WORLD FORUM OF FISHER PEOPLES (WFFP)

Velankanny Junction, Valiathura, Trivandrum – 695 008, India
WEB : www.wffp.org (CO-ORDINATION COMMITTEE)

INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES STRIKE AND ANTI- WTO ACTION ANNOUNCED

The World Forum of Fisherpeoples (WFFP) Co-ordination Committee met in Mumbai from March 6-10,2001 decided to go for an INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES STRIKE ON NOV 21ST 2001. It also decided to support the Anti WTO action in Quatar from Nov 5-13, 2001. The world forum of fisher peoples (traditional-artisanal/ customary) are those who fish and earn an income to meet the basic needs of life, they work as a community. sometimes they may employ workers and operate as a collective/cooperative/group they participate in the distribution of fish and different activities of fishers that take care of processing ,management and conservation of fish resources.

The Coordination Committee of WFFP decided to reject any kind of Factory fishing and also Joint Ventures in the name of technology transfer. It also decided to reject industrial mono aquaculture and genetic manipulation. WFFP will not tolerate any dumping of atomic waste in the oceans and the industrial waste into the water bodies.
WFFP accepts tourism only to the extend that it is decided upon together with the local fishing community and only when it is in consonance with the needs and livelihood of the local fishing community.

From Pauline Tangiora, (Co-ordinator) ,[email protected]
Harekrishna Debnath (General Secretary), [email protected]

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS

Workshop on Problems and Prospects for Developing Artisanal Fish Trade in
West Africa

In collaboration with the Collectif National des Pecheurs Artisanaux du Senegal (CNPS) and the Centre de Recherches pour le Developpement des Technologies Intermediaires de Peche (CREDETIP), is organizing: (i) a Workshop on Problems and Prospects for Developing Artisanal Fish Trade in West Africa and (ii) a West African Fair for Artisanally Processed Fish in Dakar, Senegal from 30 May to 3 June 2001.

We hope you have already received the brochure sent out. In any case, do also visit the website of the fair (icsf.net) and send us your comments. The ICSF website also has a new look and do send us your views on that.

International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.icsf.net
———————————————————

Shrimp 2001 Chennai–Fourth World Conference on the Shrimp Industry and Trade

27-29 September, 2001 – Chennai, India

Organized by INFOFISH, FAO, MPEDA, and SEAI

“…An international panel of experts, industry leaders and policy malers
will review the critical issues involved in the growth and expansion of the
(shrimp) industry…”

www.infofish.org

From INFOFISh [email protected]

——————————————————

WTO/ GLOBALIZATION UPDATE

Jim Hightower, an invaluable public citizen working in the US, once
suggested that politicians be forced to wear the corporate logos of
their biggest donors in the fashion of NASCAR race drivers so we’d know who
they’d sold out to!

——————————————————

Leaked World Bank Memo Says Oil, Gas, and Mining Investments Pose clear and Present Danger

Document fuels urgency for Bank to reassess polluting projects

*** Documents and further background available on www.seen.org

Washington, DC — The $2 billion dollars per year the World Bank Group has invested in oil, gas, and mining projects in poor and developing countries presents a “clear and present danger” to the global environment, according to an internal Bank memo obtained by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and released today.

The World Bank memo comes amid growing criticisms that Bank-financed oil, gas, and mining projects are harming the environment and causing a host of social problems in poor nations. The complaints from affected communities and environmental and human rights advocates around the world prompted the Bank to announce recently it will launch a full review of its extractive resource investments.

The internal memo, which was prepared for staff of the World Bank’s private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), ranked oil, gas, mining, and non-renewable power projects at the top of a list of risky projects.

From Daphne Wysham, Institute for Policy Studies

AQUACULTURE CORNER

Fish or Foul? Coming soon to a dinner table near you: DNA filet!!!

(Thanks to Lynn Hunter)

by Jon R. Luoma March/April 2001
motherjones.com

Critics warn that the “supersalmon” technology amounts to introducing a
“trojan gene” into nature.

The furor over potential risks to health and the environment from genetically engineered (GE) corn, soybeans, and other crops may be years away from dying down. But now, the biotech industry seems set to begin serving up an entire new menu of GE foodstuffs, this time with mobility, instincts, circulatory systems, and, just maybe, the ability to breed of their own volition: genetically engineered food animals.

Sometime this year, federal regulators could approve a proposal by a Waltham, Massachusetts-based company called Aqua Bounty Farms to begin marketing millions of glistening orange salmon eggs laced with DNA from the ocean pout, another fish species. The company promises fish farmers that the bit of new genetic code will trigger salmon hatchlings to produce growth hormones throughout their first year, rather than just during the warm months, as they naturally do. The result: salmon that reach market size in 18 months, rather than the usual 36. If federal regulators give the
green light, GE salmon filets could begin showing up on supermarket shelves in time for the 2002 holiday season.

The Aqua Bounty request promises to be one of the first in an eventual cascade of petitions for approvals of other GE animals. The company is working on fast-growing tilapia and trout. Others have begun research on developing pigs with leaner meat, disease-resistant chickens and turkeys, and even honeybees inured to pesticides. But it is the prospect of genetically engineered fish that particularly alarms some critics, who
point out that the world has already had abundant experience with genetically foreign species introduced to ecosystems. Across the United States, kudzu and purple loosestrife are crowding out native plants; zebra mussels are gorging on the native plankton food supply of the Great Lakes; and the Asian long-horned beetle is devouring trees in New York and Chicago. In 1999, scientists at Purdue University reported that GE salmon could turn into a similar ecological nightmare if they escaped from pens and bred with wild Atlantic salmon stocks.

But despite the ecological concerns, none of the U.S. government’s environmental agencies — the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, or the National Marine Fisheries Service — has taken the lead role in deciding whether GE fish should be approved. Instead, responsibility for regulating Aqua Bounty’s innovative salmon, as well as a similar project in Alabama involving genetically engineered catfish, has been put in the hands of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for
Veterinary Medicine. The agency reasons that the growth-promoting gene inserted into the salmon is analogous to a drug and should be regulated as such.

In the past, critics have blasted the FDA for its apparently cozy relationship with the biotech food industry (“Pandora’s Pantry,” January/February 2000). Now there’s another problem, says Rebecca Goldburg, a senior scientist at Environmental Defense (formerly the Environmental Defense Fund): The agency lacks scientific credibility on matters of
wildlife and ecosystems. “Having the FDA assess environmental risks,” Goldburg argues, “would be like having the Fish and Wildlife Service assessing food safety.”

A key problem, according to Goldburg and other skeptics, is that the notion of genetically altering a wild, native animal and raising it on farms is so novel that neither Congress nor the regulatory agencies have devoted much attention to it. Indeed, last year Edwin Rhodes, aquaculture coordinator at the National Marine Fisheries Service, expressed surprise when a reporter told him that the GE salmon was being evaluated exclusively by the FDA. (Last May, the Clinton administration initiated a review of federal laws covering transgenic organisms; a draft was slated for completion early this
year.)

Now, Rhodes says, FDA ecologists will be consulting with his agency and other environmental regulators to determine “how exactly to divide responsibilities and collaborate.” But that, maintains Jane Rissler, a biotech foods expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists, still leaves the matter in the hands of an agency that is “ill prepared” for the task. “The FDA focuses on health risks,” she concludes. “They simply do not have expertise in this area

——————————————————–

U.K. gov’t funds secret GM fish research


More than ?2.6 million funds international research, green groups upset

By WorldCatch News Network

April 2 – WorldCatch News Network – The British government is financing the
development of genetically modified fish, including carp and tilapia, for
the dinner table, The Independent on Sunday revealed yesterday. Three
government ministries have already spent ?2.6 million on unpublicized
British research to create fast-growing fish for human consumption despite
warnings from official advisers that these will inevitably interbreed with
wild species, the report said.

A further ?457,000 has also reportedly been spent by the European
Commission in Britain. The research focuses on fish such as carp and
tilapia, a common fish food in Asia, and now becoming increasingly popular
in Britain. However, the report said that the GM techniques would soon be
applied to species such as salmon and cod. Britain’s Department for
International Development has provided at least ?2
million for at least six projects to develop GM carp and tilapia in India,
Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and Africa, the report said.

From: “Bill Mott”
Aquaculture News and Information April 11, 2001

——————————————————–

UK questions use of fish farm dye–Chemical linked to mutations in rats

By The Independent – London

March. 26 – WorldCatch News Network – Strict controls are to be imposed on
trout and salmon farmers who use an unlicensed chemical linked to mutations
in rats and mice. The UK’s Food Standards Agency admits it has concerns
about the potential health risks posed by the chemical malachite green, a
cheap dye routinely used as a fungicide and disinfectant on trout and
salmon eggs.

Fears that the dye could cause mutations rose after scientific tests in the
United States showed the chemical and a by-product called leucomalachite
green can cause “severe effects” in the cells and organs of rats and mice.
The crackdown follows a rash of fish-farming controversies amid concerns
about the cocktail of chemicals and additives the industry uses.

In a separate case, Scottish prosecutors have been urged by the Veterinary
Medicines Directorate and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency to
charge four salmon farmers who illegally used the insecticide ivermectin
last year. The directorate passed a dossier to the Crown Office saying four
samples of farmed salmon showed contamination by ivermectin, which is
licensed for use only on pigs.

From: “Bill Mott”
Aquaculture News and Information April 11, 2001

———————————————————

Email: [email protected]

April 5, 2001

Fish Endangerment Rather Than Protection

OTTAWA–“Fisheries continues to have no clear and unequivocal commitment to
the protection of fish and fish habitat from the effects of fish farm operations,” said John Cummins, M.P. (Delta-South Richmond). Senior DFO bureaucrats responsible for aquaculture were before the Fisheries Committee today to respond to the Auditor General’s recent finding that the department was failing to meet its legislative obligations to enforce the Fisheries Act with respect to salmon farming operations.

Unfortunately their evidence confirmed what the Auditor General had found,
the department does not have the protection of wild fish as a priority in
spite of the fact that this is their mandate. The aquaculture agenda of the department has led to the advancement of aquaculture in a manner that recklessly endangers wild fish rather than protects them. This misdirected emphasis is, in creating an aquaculture friendly regulatory environment rather than a fish friendly regulatory environment, and has undermined the protector of wild stocks…..

….Cummins revealed that one of the department’s own internal reports,
“Impact of Freshwater and Marine Aquaculture on the Environment”, found
that fish caught near fish farms contained toxins and drug residue above
levels safe for human consumption….

…”The department’s failure to enact rigorous science-based fish friendly regulations to govern aquaculture practices jeopardizes the development of an industry with great economic potential.”

“DFO has whittled away at the provisions of the Fisheries Act which prohibit the destruction of fish and fish habitat, all the while greasing the skids for fish farm expansion without first doing the necessary environmental assessments. Nowhere did they give specifics on what is being done to advance their responsibility to promote and protect fish and fish habitat,”said Cummins.

Contact: John Cummins, M.P. (613) 992-2957 or cell (604) 970-0937

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