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Weekly Marine Policy Round Up – #17

July 17, 2011

This was an exceptional week for marine policy news.  Among other things, the European Commission released its long-awaited proposal for reforming the CFP, tuna fishing nations met in the third meeting in the ‘Kobe process’, and the IWC held its annual meeting.

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Top Stories

The annual meeting of the IWC ended in disarray on Thursday.  Pro-whaling countries did not want to see the creation of  a whale sanctuary in the Southern Atlantic, so they walked out.  The vote could still have been held, but it would have risked collapsing the entire management regime.   On the bright side, reforms were approved to reduce opportunities for corruption.

The European Commission released its proposal to reform the EU’s disastrous Common Fisheries Policy. The proposal requires that stocks be managed according to MSY and discards will be phased out. Many in the fishing industry claimed there were too many environmental protections and not enough job protections. NGOs were unhappy with the proposal, saying that it could potentially end overfishing in EU waters, but that other issues need to be addressed to succeed. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall remarked that we should ‘applaud Damanaki’.

Tuna fishing nations met in La Jolla for the third meeting in the Kobe process.   Though recommendations are non-binding, they carry weight in the tuna RFMOs.  A big focus this year is on illegal fishing.

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Other Stories

NOAA reported that 40 fish populations are being overfished in U.S. waters, in an annual report.  This is up by two over previous years, and is in strange contrast to comments from NOAA’s top guy in January.

Pirate attacks are up 63% this year, but fewer ships are being taken.  (hat tip gCaptain)

If genetically modified Atlantic salmon were to escape from captivity they could succeed in breeding and passing their genes into the wild, Canadian researchers have found.

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) are one step closer to gaining the globally recognized MSC eco-label for sustainable harvested tuna, after the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accepted and published the very detailed consultation and assessment report recommending MSC certification of PNA free school skipjack tuna.

A research team concluded that “the loss of apex consumers is arguably humankind’s most pervasive influence on the natural world.”

Suppliers to several big clothing brands are polluting two of China’s main rivers with hazardous chemicals, according to Greenpeace. The new report by the environmental group raises questions about the companies Adidas, Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M and others do business with.

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Worth Reading/Watching

The Guardian has a great analysis of how the Netherlands turned around its fisheries.  Nonprofits and the MSC label were key.

Julia Whitty and Phillip Longman discuss over-population, the last taboo issue for public policy.

Richard Black paints a picture of the turmoil at IWC. “The issue here is that votes in the IWC used to be ritualised, meaningless, ridiculous, an exercise in grandstanding – because neither bloc was ever going to come near to gaining the three-quarters majority needed to make major changes.”

New York Magazine explores the problem of bycatch and discards in U.S. fisheries.

Michael Conathan at CAP discusses proposed cuts to NOAA’s budget for fisheries management.

The CEO of the Nature Conservancy explains why cutting conservation cannot fix the U.S. deficit.

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Good Stuff

This video is amazing.  A trapped humpback whale, people to the rescue, and  a show of joy from all.  (8 mins; hat tip Huffington Post).

The Art of Manliness gives us the essential manly lessons from The Old Man and the Sea.

TreeHugger profiles seven leading conservation photographers

Making wet look “normal” (the secrets of a commercial UW photographer.  These shots are beautiful.

An Italian couple sets a new record for the longest underwater kiss

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