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Sunday Round Up – #9

May 23, 2011

“Sunday” for me comes a day late this week.  I was fortunate enough to attend the wedding of some amazing people and, well, I’m still moving slow after elbow surgery.  Of course, I could also tell you that I just didn’t expect there to be a Sunday.   So, here we go…

Top Stories

Resource management in the Arctic is heating up.  The Arctic Council signed a search and rescue agreement, but this only draws attention to their lack of measures to secure the safety of shipping, cruises, and other vessels that will pass through the area, not to mention the safety of oil operators as they move in.  At the same time, the likelihood of putting the environment first grows smaller.  Reports suggest that Greenland’s development will be fueled by drilling, and China is now jockeying for influence in the increasingly-independent and resource-rich Greenland.

There were a few interesting stories in Europe last week.  First, bluefin tuna caught by the Libyan fleet is getting closer to being considered ‘illegal’.  The European Commission has asked Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom to adopt national legislation to implement the new port state control regime to comply with European Union law.  Finally, the Commission is now scrutinizing Italy’s implementation of the driftnet ban, which many Italian vessels have possibly ignored.

Also some good news out of China.  Talks last week between the United States and China yielded an agreement to expand efforts to control illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as well as establish regular bilateral consultations on fisheries conservation and ocean management.  Among other things, the two countries will work towards preventing IUU fish and fish products from entering international markets; collecting data on species of concern in order to ensure their sustainable management and conservation; and preventing illegal or unintended take of sea turtles and other protected marine species.  Separately, China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) announced Thursday that the country has named its first seven national ocean parks to ensure sound ecological environment and sustainable development for coastal tourism.


Other Stories

Japan has exacted a small degree of revenge on Sea Shepherd for frustrating its whaling ambitions.  An agreement for Sea Shepherd to patrol Palau’s waters for shark poachers has been broken.  In return, Japan will provide Palau with a patrol vessel and financial assistance.

Oceana will soon launch a Seafood Fraud Campaign to fight for better labeling, ostensibly in the US only.  From Oceana:

A whopping 84 percent of the seafood eaten in the United States is imported, but only 2 percentis currently inspected and less than 0.001 percent specifically for seafood fraud.

Recent studies have found that seafood may be mislabeled as often as 25 to 70 percent of the time for fish like red snapper, wild salmon and Atlantic cod.

The final step in the process of creating global standards for salmon farming began last week when the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue started the last public comment period for the draft standards. Impacts addressed through the standards include water pollution, sourcing of feed ingredients, disease transmission between farmed and wild salmon and labour issues on farms.  I still probably won’t eat farmed salmon, though.

Industry leaders are calling for a sustainable shipping industry.  Is this just green washing?

A new study suggests that warmer temperatures and higher ocean CO2 concentrations will result in a mass die-off of ocean life.


Worth Reading/Watching

Nature magazine has an excellent piece examining the trend towards larger and larger marine reserves.   In general, conservationists are pleased with the larger reserves, but there are fears that they do not include the most vulnerable of habitats.

CFP Reform Watch has a very smart opinion piece on the quality of seafood labeling in Europe.

The Daily Show has a good interview with Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, and the legacy of the EPA.

The Nature Conservancy discusses why wasting food is bad for the environment.

An analytical method for estimating extinction rates has been called into question with a new paper.  The author’s still call for immediate attention to the ‘extinction crisis’.

Julia Whitty has an excellent piece cross-posted to Mother Jones and her blog covering the memoir of dolphin trainer, filmmaker, and activist Hardy Jones.


Fun Stuff

A seal falls in love with a girl.  Or, the “Jane Goodall” of seals?

Photos from the boat-made-of-trash that crossed the Pacific.

The Daily Show discovers that Asbestos is safe.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium confirms (with pictures) that a weedy sea dragon is now carrying eggs for a first time at the aquarium.

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