#NovaScotia; #Halifax; #BelugaWhales; #U.S.BasedConservationGroup
Halifax (Nova Scotia), Dec 7 (Canadian-Media): Two prospective sites in rural Nova Scotia for an ocean retirement home for, beluga whales raised in captivity, have been selected by U.S.-based conservation group after their long search for three years, media reports said.
“We are focusing on Nova Scotia for the site for (our) first sanctuary for captive beluga whales,” said Lori Marino, president Whale Sanctuary Project, non-profit group. “There are a couple of sites in Nova Scotia that we have our eye on.”
It was confirmed by the Whale Sanctuary Project Friday that is negotiating with the residents and government officials in the Sheet Harbour and Sherbrooke areas along the province’s rugged and sparsely populated Eastern Shore.
The submission of the final proposal to the regulators or local residents would only be done, after more research and securing community support.
“This is not something you can come in ... and impose on a community,” she said in an interview. “That’s why it’s taken a little bit longer than we anticipated.”
Whales raised in captivity can’t be released into the wild because they don’t have the skills to fend for themselves, said Marine biologist Hal Whitehead, a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
#Belize; #Africa; #OceanEconomy; #TradeStrategy; #MarineFinfishSpecies; #SeafoodManufacturing
UNCTAD, Dec 6 (Canadian-Media): During the presentation of a draft strategy and an action plan, by the National Focal Points, UNCTAD and DOALOS at the Second National Stakeholders Workshop in December 2019, the related value chains of marine finfish species (not shellfish) and seafood manufacturing were highlighted, UNCTAD reports said.
The objective of the strategy was reaching internal, regional and international markets. The contents of the draft strategy and plan of action were developed based on inputs obtained during the First National Stakeholder Workshop in 2018.
The overall proposed goal of the “Evidence-based and policy coherent oceans economy and trade strategies” project (OETS) report and derived action plan in Belize was to promote the competitiveness and sustainability of the fishing sector, specifically in the sectors related to marine finfish species and seafood manufacturing, while improving the quality of life of people engaged in fishing, and ensuring the sustainability of resources in the long term.
The discussion, review and validation of the OETS report and plan of action was to support, with cooperation of UNCTAD and DOALOS and Commonwealth Secretariat, Belize in the implementation of 1-2 selected priority actions within their areas of competence. All the lessons learned in Belize and in the other beneficiary countries (Costa Rica and Barbados), will be presented in a regional event in 2020, probably during the UNCTAD 15 Conference, to be held in Barbados.
#ASpermWhaleDead; #100KilogramsPlasticTrash; #World'sOceans
Scotland (U.K.), Dec 2 (Canadian-Media): A ball of trash, consisting of nets, bundles of rope, plastic cups, bags, gloves, packing straps and tubing totalled about 100 kilograms heavier than most human beings, was found in the stomach of a dead whale on a beach in Scotland, the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme reported on its Facebook page Sunday, media reports said.
A sperm whale found dead with 220 pounds of trash in its stomach/Twitter
The animal was too big to be moved, so it was buried on-site.
This is just the latest of several recent reports of whales being found with huge amounts of plastic waste in their stomachs.
This amount of plastic in the stomach demonstrates the hazards that marine litter or discarded fishing gear can cause to marine life.
United Nations Environment Programme reported that the world's oceans now contain an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic, about 80 to 90 percent of it from land-based sources.
A deal had been reached in May of this year between 180 countries around the world with an aim to reduce the amount of plastic that gets washed into the world's oceans.
#FisheriesAndOceans; #MarinePollutionBulletin; #microplasticsFoundInBelugs
British Columbia, Nov 22 (Canadian-Media): Microplastics were found in the gastrointestinal tracts of all seven beluga tested, a study conducted in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Simon Fraser University, and published last week in Marine Pollution Bulletin confirmed, media reports said.
Researchers from Ocean Wise collected samples from whales they harvested between 2017 and 2018 and found found an average of nearly 10 microplastics, or particles less than five millimetres in size, in the gastrointestinal tracts of each beluga.
Ocean Wise, Canada’s Greenest Employers, says it is the first study of microplastics in a marine mammal in Canada.
and recognized for our commitment to sustainability
This phenomenon demonstrated how far microplastics can travel and how they can penetrate even the most remote environments, Lead author Rhiannon Moore says.
Of the nine different types of plastic polymers identified, polyester was the most common.
Moore's belief that these belugas most likely ate fish that had already ingested the plastic and they would have passed through the whales' digestive tracts without any immediate consequences, the potential long-term health effects of prolonged exposure cannot be ruled out.
Tuktoyaktuk, a community of about 900 people on the shores of the Eastern Beaufort Sea north of the Arctic Circle, was a key partner in the project, said Moore and the researchers had the advantage of studying healthy specimens, compared with studies in other parts of the world that have looked at microplastics in whales found dead.
Moore says she suspects marine mammals closer to populated areas are likely to ingest even more microplastics than the Arctic belugas.
" That's a question that keeps me up at night a little bit," said Moore
#Fisheries&AquacultureForFood; #FAO; #InternationalFisheriesSustainability
New York, Nov 18 (Canadian-Media): More people than ever rely on fisheries and aquaculture for food, and income, but the seafood industry is facing a “dangerous” sustainability divide when comparing trends in the developed world versus those in poorer regions, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revealed on Monday.
“Fisheries are facing an important crossroad and the world needs a new vision in the 21st century”, the UN agency lead with in a press statement, echoing the main message by it’s Director General, Qu Dongyu, at the opening of a major conference on the matter, which opened Monday.
By 2050, humans will be nearly 10 billion in number, and “land alone will not feed us”, Mr. Donguy explained, thus, the world will need to increasingly rely on aquatic species to eat.
The International Symposium on Fisheries Sustainability, taking place from 18 to 21 November at FAO’s Rome headquarters, convenes researchers, business people and members of various other sectors to identify how to maximize food from the world’s rivers and oceans, without compromising the health of aquatic ecosystems.
Noting a “dangerous trend” in the fishing industry, the FAO chief said that while fisheries in developed regions are increasingly sustainable, meaning fished populations are being replenished, and conditions for industry workers are improving, developing regions lagging behind.
The great provider of life
Achieving global sustainability in the seafood sector looks murky. With the concerning state of the world’s oceans and increasing demand for freshwater species keeping best practices at bay, FAO noted.
Plastic pollution, the effects of climate change, habitat degradation, and overfishing are draining marine fish stocks, with one in every three stocks overfished, compared to one in ten 40 years ago. In addition, inland fisheries (in rivers or fish farms), are feeling the pressure of a growing demand on freshwater species.
Worldwide, one billion people rely on fish as their main source of animal protein, according to the UN N World Health Organization (WHO), and in some small island states, people meet their protein needs exclusively from seafood.
A person derives, on average, 20.3 kilograms of top-quality protein and essential micronutrients from fish every year, with a rise in 3 percent of global fish consumption since the 1960’s, according to FAO.
As far as economies go, around the world, one in ten people depend on fishing for their livelihoods and are often the poorest in society.
From the mid-1970’s, developing countries have increased their net trade benefits from fish from almost zero to over 40 billion dollars each year, FAO’s Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Manuel Barange, pointed out at the Conference.
Some 95 per cent of people hinging on seafood for their livelihoods live in Africa and Asia, many struggling to make ends meet despite the degree of danger involved in the work. Commercial fishing was rated the second deadliest profession on earth in 2019.
The FAO Director-General put forward three solutions to guide fisheries toward sustainability, including re-investing in marine and freshwater sustainability programmes, investing in ocean growth, and ensuring protection measures are met with effective management.
“Treat the ocean with the respect it deserves, and it will forgive our foolish ways, and it will replenish itself and do what it has done in the past - be the great provider of life on planet earth”, Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Oceans, urged at the Sympsonium’s opening.
2020: ‘A new deal with nature
’Four of the ten targets under the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to protect oceans, will mature come 2020, including illegal fishing, which the UN’s Special Envoy said begs cooperation from countries who haven’t signed FAO’s Agreement to stamp out the problem.
Moreover, the coming year will be one “in which we create a new deal with nature” he highlighted, as a host of environmental protection events will take place: The UN Ocean Conference to scale up ocean action, the UN Biodiversity Conference , the IUCN World Conservation Congress, and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).
By the Sympsonium’s end, participants are expected to present a technical document that synthesized the information and debate in each of the event’s sessions, to be table at the 34th session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, set for July 2020.
The document will form the platform for a high-level policy statement on the role, value and sustainability status of global and regional fisheries.
“If we focus on our science, our innovation spirit, our technologies, we will secure and protect one of the oldest and most undervalued food industries,” the FAO chief said, urging for delegates to “aim big” and take “concrete” steps toward change.
Berlin, Aug 12 (Canadian-Media): Rivers and lakes cover just about one percent of Earth's surface, but are home to one third of all vertebrate species worldwide, phys.org news said.
The European sturgeon (Acipenser sturio) has suffered the largest loss – its distribution range diminished by 99 percent. Credit: Solvin Zankl
At the same time, freshwater life is highly threatened. Scientists from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and international colleagues have now quantified the global decline of big freshwater animals: From 1970 to 2012, global populations of freshwater megafauna declined by 88 percent—twice the loss of vertebrate populations on land or in the ocean.
Large fish species are particularly affected. And yet there remain large gaps in monitoring and conservation actions for freshwater megafauna, particularly in areas with high levels of biodiversity.
Freshwater megafauna include all freshwater animals that weigh 30 kilograms or more, such as species of river dolphins, beavers, crocodiles, giant turtles and sturgeons. The scientists compiled available time series data for 126 freshwater megafauna species worldwide, as well as the historical and contemporary geographic distribution data of 44 species in Europe and the USA.
"The results are alarming and confirm the fears of scientists involved in studying and protecting freshwater biodiversity," says Sonja Jähnig, senior author of the study and expert for global change effects on river ecosystems at IGB. From 1970 to 2012, global populations of freshwater megafauna declined by 88 percent, most notably in the Indomalaya (by 99 percent) and Palearctic (by 97 percent) realms—the former covering South and Southeast Asia and southern China, and the latter covering Europe, North Africa and most of Asia. Large fish species such as sturgeons, salmonids and giant catfishes are particularly threatened: with a 94 percent decline, followed by reptiles with 72 percent.
Two main threats: overexploitation and loss of free-flowing rivers
Overexploitation is the primary threat to freshwater megafauna as they are often targeted for meat, skin and eggs. "Furthermore, the decline of large fish species is also attributed to the loss of free-flowing rivers as access to spawning and feeding grounds are often blocked by dams. Although the world's large rivers have already been highly fragmented, another 3700 large dams are planned or under construction—this will exacerbate the river fragmentation even further. More than 800 of these planned dams are located in diversity hotspots of freshwater megafauna, including Amazon, Congo, Mekong and Ganges river basins," says Fengzhi He, first author of the study and expert for diversity patterns and conservation of freshwater megafauna at IGB.
Successful conservation: sturgeons, beavers and the Irrawaddy river dolphin
Thanks to targeted conservation actions, populations of 13 megafauna species including the green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) and the American beaver (Castor canadensis) have been stable or even increasing in the USA. In Asia, the population of the Irrawaddy river dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) in the Mekong basin has increased for the first time in twenty years. In Europe, efficient and large-scale conservation strategies seem to be more difficult to implement, arguably due to politic boarders and differences in environmental awareness among countries. Nevertheless, the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber), for example, has now been reintroduced to many regions where it was extirpated. In Germany, IGB is working with international partners to reintroduce the two formerly native sturgeon species European sturgeon (Acipenser sturio) and Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) to European waters.
Room for improvement: monitoring and conservation of freshwater biodiversity
Despite the fact that freshwater megafauna are highly threatened, current conservation actions are inadequate for many species. "According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, over half of all assessed freshwater megafauna species are considered as threatened with extinction. Nonetheless, they receive less research and conservation attention than megafauna in terrestrial or marine ecosystems," reminds Jähnig. The now quantified global decline of freshwater megafauna highlights the urgent need for conservation actions for freshwater biodiversity. It is important to improve the monitoring of population trends and distributions of freshwater species in regions such as Southeast Asia, Africa and South America. After all, changes in abundance and distribution are better indicators of the condition of ecosystems and their living organisms than the extinction of species.
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, Aug 12 (Canadian-Media): Following Labrador’s important contribution to the ocean-based economy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is increasing its presence in Labrador to better serve its residents, media reports said.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada/Facebook
The existing DFO office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has been reprofiled into an Area office and establishing a new Area Director position and other new positions, to increase its service capacity to the Big Land and its people.
With the creation of this new Area, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has three administrative Areas in Newfoundland and Labrador: Eastern and Central Newfoundland; Southern and Western Newfoundland; and Labrador.
Commercial fishing is a key economic contributor in Labrador.
“Labrador is an important economic centre within the province. With emerging oil and gas exploration and new and evolving fishing activities...we are at a critical juncture to invest and position Labrador for a prosperous future. Our investment today demonstrates that we are listening to Labradorians and our government understands that the timing for enhanced service delivery in Labrador is now, ” member of Parliament for Labrador, Yvonne Jones.
There are 12 small craft harbours operated by 10 harbour authorities to provide important infrastructure for commercial fisheries and coastal Labrador communities.
DFO is also committed to advancing reconciliation and a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples of Labrador, one of the largest Indigenous populations in Atlantic Canada, on innovative approaches to program and service delivery.
The Government of Canada is also investing in Labrador through the new Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has invested, since 2017, more than $24 million in Labrador through Indigenous partnerships and infrastructure programs. Over $4.5 million is in direct partnership investments with Indigenous organizations while $20 million is being invested in Small Craft Harbours’ improvements in Indigenous communities.
“Our investments in Labrador reflect our government’s commitment to a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples...in supporting real economic growth opportunities and are reflective of how fisheries are an important driver of economic development in Labrador,” Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard said.
The Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative launched on May 24, 2019, provides funding and support to Indigenous groups for the development of Indigenous-owned communal commercial fishing enterprises and aquaculture operations.