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Sunday Round Up – #10

May 29, 2011

This was another big week for ocean news.   A bit of a doozy to get through it all, but I did manage.  This week the topics are broken up a bit differently, which will continue depending on the weekly news content.

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European Fisheries

The European Commission published its report on progress achieved in the CFP over the last few years.   Although there was improvement, EU fisheries are still in terrible shape.  The proportion of stocks known to be overfished in the Atlantic fell from 94% to 63%. In the Mediterranean, 82% of known stocks are overfished.  Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki emphasized that she intends to introduce a new, precautionary approach when proposing fishing possibilities: for fish stocks where scientific evidence exists, the Commission’s proposals will follow this closely. When insufficient scientific data is available, the Commission will propose to systematically reduce catches. This approach would phase out overfishing and encourage better data collection and reporting by Member States.  The Commission is also working towards achieving maximum sustainable yields in EU fisheries by 2015.

Damanaki has also said she will support the launch of the European Fish Fight campaign to end fish discards.  This campaign achieved some extraordinary success in the UK earlier this year.  It now has 677 thousand online supporters.

A new study found that paying fishermen subisidies in the North Sea results in overfishing.  Subsidizing fishermen means they continue fishing even after stocks begin to plummet.  Eventually, most of the fishermen’s income can come from the subsidy rather than from profits on fishing.  Richard Black at BBC provides good analysis.

The fourth EU bluefin tuna control campaign has begun. The Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA) is coordinating the Joint Deployment Plan (JDP) for the Blue Fin Tuna fishery in the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Atlantic waters for 2011.  Under this JDP, Member States pool their control and inspection means, both material and human, in order to carry out jointly control, inspection and surveillance of fishery activities both at sea and ashore.  Inspection and surveillance at sea is carried both in EU waters and international waters and applies to EU and non-EU vessels.

An undercover mission by Brussels inspectors has revealed widespread use of banned driftnets by fishing vessels based in the Italian islands of Sicily and Ponza.  The inspectors sometimes posed as tourists, and local authorities allegedly turned a blind eye.  Italy’s small but powerful fishing lobby has received €97m since 1998 for converting from driftnets. In theory the authorities can suspend fishing licenses of vessels caught fishing illegally, but this has not happened despite actions by the coastguard, which has seized more than 3,000 km of illegal nets since 2002.

US Fisheries

A decision has been made by the US government to not list the Atlantic bluefin tuna as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Over the past 50 years, the adult population of eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna has declined 74 percent. In the western Atlantic, there has been an 82 percent drop in 40 years.

NOAA is standing by its declaration that the Gulf of Mexico seafood is safe to eat, but for the first time it’s warning anglers that some fish are sick and may pose health problems if handled or eaten raw. Fishermen and scientists have recently reported and documented lesions on fish they are catching in federal waters off Alabama.

In a move to end the shark fin trade within California, the state assembly passed AB376, on a 62-8 vote Monday afternoon, as TreeHugger Stephen Messenger reported. The bill still has to pass the Senate in order to ban shark fins from stores and restaurants.

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Worth Reading/Watching

As I mentioned above, Richard Black provided some great analysis on the problem of fishing subisidies this past week.  The article is well worth reading.

Lee Crockett explains why ending overfishing pays in the long-run over at NatGeo NewsWatch.

Thanks to Oceana’s new Seafood Fraud campaign, the issue is getting a lot of needed attention these days.  Here’s a great article from Scientific American

Elly Pepper at the NRDC Switchboard explores the variety of bills now floating around to weaken the Endangered Species Act.

What’s wrong with environmental education?  Marine conservationist Charles Saylan will tell you at Yale e360.   My favorite take-away idea: the term “environmentalism” should be abandoned in favor of the better fitting term “responsible citizenship”

Julia Whitty helps us celebrate the 104th anniversary of Rachel Caron’s birth.

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Fun Stuff

In my opinion, the photo above is the best photoshop work of the decade.    This is of course a great play on the very real cult of personality surrounding Vladimir Putin. (Tip of the hat to Shark Divers)

An Asian carp hunting, water-skiing ninja in Peoria, IL. So dumb it hurts.  You’ll get the main idea if you watch for a little bit at at 1:01 and 4:38. (A big tip o’ the hat to blogfish for posting this.)

Why you shouldn’t eat farmed fish. Very good, though the idea that global fisheries may collapse in the next 50 years has since been proven wrong.

After more than 20mins holding his breath underwater, 26 year old Brazilian Ricardo da Gama Bahia, enters into Guinness World Records for the “longest time holding the breath underwater”.  Very much cheating in my book, but interesting none-the-less.

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