Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Iceland resumes commercial whaling

Iceland's whaling season has begun in defiance of protests from animal rights groups that have called for an end to the practice and after international calls for Iceland to reduce whaling quotas.

Whalers on board the Johanna AR vessel have stated that they hope to catch the first Minke today. The first whales are usually killed in a bay just outside of Reykjavik as whaling is banned close to the harbour. Ironically, the restrictions are to protect the whale watching businesses, which are popular with tourists.

Managers of the minke whaler association said 50 to 60 per cent of the meat would be sold domestically, while the rest is sold to Japan.

However, the Japanese public is not really buying. While the Japanese Fisheries Agency claims that up to 5000 tonnes of whale meat are consumed every year in this country, estimates suggest that at least 3000 tonnes are now sitting unwanted in cold storage in Japan.

Despite falling market prices, and regular government efforts to "educate" the population by way of academic lectures, food festivals, and compulsory school lunches, whale meat remains a dish that few modern Japanese have eaten more than twice. Not because it is scarce, they just don't like it.

Iceland and Norway are the only two countries in the world that authorise commercial whaling. Japan officially hunts whales for scientific purposes, which are contested by opponents, and the whale meat is sold for consumption.

On January 27th, immediately before Iceland's coalition government was dissolved, Einar K. Guðfinnsson, the outgoing Minister of Fisheries and a leading member of the conservative Independence Party, issued a regulation permitting the massive whaling of minke and fin whales.

In March, the Minister of Fisheries, Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, leader of the Left-Green Party, announced that he would not repeal his deposed predecessor's last-minute order to resume commercial whaling of 150 endangered fin whales and 100 threatened Minke Whales from May to late September until 2013. Sigfússon stated that Guðfinnsson’s decision could not be repealed for "legal" reasons.

Prior to Sigfússon's announcement, Iceland, which pulled out of an international whaling moratorium in 2006 after 16 years, had a quota of just nine fin whales and 40 minke whales per year.

National elections were held in Iceland in April and a new coalition government, of the Social Democrat Alliance and the Left-Green Movement formed the Icelandic parliament, Althingi.

The two party leaders, Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir and Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, set out goals to rebalance the state budget by 2013 while at the same time implementing an ambitious plan of job creation.

At the same time, they emphasised their joint intent for the Althingi to decide whether Iceland will commence accession negotiations with the EU and for an overall revision of the Act on Fisheries Management to be carried out, in accordance with the coalition parties’ platforms.

It is abundantly clear that the resumption of commercial whaling is a ‘quick-fix’ for the economy and a short-term employment solution. However, with a surfeit of whale meat in storage in Japan and falling prices, this solution is doomed to failure and will only provoke calls for an International boycott of Icelandic goods and services.

Would it not be better and more sustainable to promote a tourism based and whale watching industry? Consider also that falling fish stocks and tighter quotas will place even larger economic and employment pressure on the country. Surely, more justification exists for an economy based on wildlife observation than wildlife destruction?

Iceland is kidding itself that a boycott would be ineffectual. Bauger, a company owned by Icelandic Banks owns 100% of the following retail UK chains: Karen Millen, French Connection, Iceland Frozen Seafoods, Hamleys and The House of Fraser. A boycott in the UK alone would have disastrous implications for the Icelandic economy.

Europe should be asking whether it wants another whaling nation and another IWC puppet in the union and not Iceland asking itself whether it wants to join.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

SOS for the PO

In the next few hours the unelected House of Lords will vote on the Government's Royal Mail privatisation proposal, and the Bill will then be sent to MPs in the Commons.

Recently the Communications Workers Union (CWU) commissioned the independent polling firm ICM to ask voters how they felt about the Royal Mail. They found that three quarters of the British people do not want our post to be sold and that voters think the sale would break a key Labour election manifesto promise.

The House of Lords should read the ICM poll very carefully - 27% of those polled say they are less likely to vote for their current MP if they back the proposal to sell a 30% stake in the business. This figure rises to 36% for Labour supporters.

The polling is really clear. The public wants the Government listen to voters and reconsider their plans.

Last week the Royal Mail announced a £321 million profit. So Royal Mail is a profitable going concern - and everything must be done to avoid the job cuts and service cuts that TNT or a private equity owner would bring.

The ICM poll showed that people rightly thought that services could suffer whilst prices rise under a Royal Mail controlled by a private company like TNT.

The Green Party is against privitisation of the Post office and all Public Services. We would scrap the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and fund public services properly.

Please support the CWU’s campaign against Post Office privitisation by signing their petition at:

http://post.cwu.org/nosale

Friday, 15 May 2009

Shark-Repellent Metal Alloys Available For Sale; 'Able To Reduce Shark Bycatch'

KEY WEST, Florida -- SharkDefense Technologies and HEFA Rare Earth Canada, Co. Ltd. announced today that shark-repellent metal alloys are available for sale. The metal alloys are proven to reduce the accidental capture of sharks and are anticipated to benefit many commercial fishing operations.

The shark-repellent metal alloys work by generating a small voltage in seawater, which affects a shark's electric sense. Bony fish, such as tuna, do not have the organ responsible for the electric sense and are unaffected by the metals. While conducting experiments with magnets in 2006, SharkDefense discovered the shark-repelling effects of the metal alloys. The alloys induced repellent responses on sharks which were similar to those effects induced by the magnets.

Craig O'Connell, a partner with SharkDefense who has participated in the repellent trials pointed out that "through extensive testing on a variety of species of sharks, it is evident that these metals induce repellent responses which will allow fisherman to focus their effort on target species."

Application of the metal alloy repellent simply requires a small piece of metal to be secured near the bait at each hook. Continuously submerged in salt water, the metals last for up to 48 hours.

Dr. Patrick Rice, Director of Marine Science at Florida Keys Community College, carefully monitors the development of shark repellent technologies and advises that a number of recent "repellent tests performed by marine fisheries scientists and independent scientists confirm that these metals are able to reduce shark bycatch."

Remove the Nets

Remove the Nets: Join the Shark Angels' Campaign against Shark Nets!

shark in netIt is difficult to believe in this day in age, with all that we know about sharks' plummeting populations, their critical role in ocean ecosystems, and the minimal risk they pose to humans, that the archaic and destructive practice of installing shark nets for "bather protection" still exists. But in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa, a province ironically known around the world as one of the few places left where sharks and the ecosystems they keep healthy still thrive, untold numbers of harmless sharks, turtles, dolphins, and rays meet an untimely and senseless death each year by entanglement in the approximately 28 km of nets that are installed just off the beaches.

What are shark nets? Shark nets are essentially gill nets: long rectangular nylon mesh nets, 200-300 meters in length, that are positioned near the surface of the water and kept afloat with buoys. Sharks swim into these nets and are caught by their gills. The squares of mesh are designed to be just large enough for sharks to become entangled, but not escape. The more a shark or any other animal struggles in these nets, the more hopeless their situation becomes, and the more impossible their chances of escape and survival. The vast majority of these animals die an agonizing death by suffocation. Gill nets are widely considered to be one of the greatest threats to the survival of many species of marine animals.

In South Africa, the shark nets are installed in tiered patterns by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board (KZNSB). Just beneath the surface, they do not fully extend to either the top or the bottom and do not even come close to fully enclosing the beach areas. The result is that sharks can easily swim around or under the nets and into the shallow waters in which humans swim and surf. In fact, the KZNSB acknowledges on its own website that at least 33% of the sharks killed in these nets were actually on their way OUT from the beaches, rather than on their way in, and other sources estimate that this number is closer to 70%.

You see, the goal is not to provide a physical barrier to keep sharks away from the beaches, but rather to control shark populations by culling them. In many cases, the KZNSB places baited drumlines just outside the shark nets, which are designed to attract sharks in towards the beaches and kill them, either by biting the baited hooks on the drumlines or by entanglement in the nearby gill nets.

The process is entirely unselective, with nets installed all along the coast, including in Marine Protected Areas! The sole purpose of these nets is to kill all sharks in the area, including highly endangered species that would otherwise enjoy stringent legal protection, such as whale sharks and the great white shark. According to the KZNSB's own website, "The Marine Living Resources Act (Act 18 of 1998) controls the exploitation of marine plants and animals in South African waters. . . . The great white shark is totally protected; in 1991 South Africa being the first country in the world to do so." And yet, the KZNSB, which is governed by the KZN Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism, is exempted from these important conservation regulations in the interest of making tourists feel safe.

Sea Shepherd's Director of Shark Conservation, Kim McCoy, a founding member of the Shark Angels alliance, was outraged to witness first-hand the carnage caused by South African shark nets. "Sharks and other animals don't stand a chance against these nets," said McCoy. "They are brutal, indiscriminate killers designed to systematically cull a species for no other reason than to boost tourism by giving beachgoers a false sense of security against a severely sensationalized threat."

Shark Angels co-founder, Julie Andersen, who frequently leads groups of people on diving trips with the tiger sharks of Aliwal Shoal, clearly illustrates the irony of using shark nets to increase tourism, noting the number of tourists who come to South Africa each year specifically to dive with sharks. "Sharks in South Africa contribute a significant amount of revenue to the South African economy and provide countless jobs," said Andersen. "Live sharks mean tourists, jobs, and money. And that is recurring income-not the one-time income generated when a shark is killed."

sea turtleOver the last three decades, more than 33,000 sharks have been killed in the KZNSB shark nets. And if that's not alarming enough, consider the 2,000+ turtles, 8,000+ rays, and 2,000+ dolphins who were also ensnared and killed.

In addition to the countless deaths of sharks and other species caused directly by the shark nets, their impact on our collective psyches is damaging to shark conservation efforts worldwide. The very existence of shark nets perpetuates the myth that sharks are bloodthirsty man-eaters, and that humans require some form of protection from them. The installation of shark nets reinforces our misguided and often irrational fears of sharks by legitimizing these concerns as valid. This in turn fuels the biggest issue faced in shark conservation: the public's apathy, or even loathing, towards sharks.

It could be said there was once a time and a place for shark nets. Perhaps decades ago, when the public knew little about sharks, the fear of shark attacks was running high, and shark populations were far healthier than they are today. The practice of installing shark nets in South Africa began in 1952, when little was known about sharks, and humans had yet to spend the next 50+ years ravaging our oceans, causing irreparable damage and the collapse of species after species. The public wanted "protection" from sharks, and shark nets served this purpose.

But since then, shark fishing has skyrocketed, eliminating a large percentage of the world's shark populations, and the public has been exposed to much information about the importance of biodiversity conservation and the true nature of shark behavior towards humans. In recent years, it has been proven that a variety of non-lethal shark deterrents, such as the Shark Spotters program funded by private donations and the City of Cape Town, can be equally effective, and that animals need not be killed to allow for peaceful coexistence in their domain. The need for shark conservation is now a well-established fact, as is the fact these animals are significantly misunderstood, with the actual risk of an unpleasant shark encounter infinitesimal.

Shark nets are an unnecessary and outdated practice designed to address an issue that could easily be tackled in a non-lethal way, and they blemish South Africa's image as a world leader in conservation. It is time for a change. It is time to get these shark nets out of the water, once and for all.

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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The suicidal tendencies of the Turkish tuna fishery

Karaburun, Turkey — The Turkish government has set its own catch limit for the endangered Mediterranean bluefin tuna - in total disregard for internationally agreed quotas and scientific advice.

The existing management plan for bluefin tuna is bad enough. By pressuring politicians to ignore the warnings of scientists, the Mediterranean tuna industry has created a suicide pact, not a management plan. Now Turkey, by objecting to even those inadequate restrictions, is telling its legal fleet to fish for everything it can before it's all gone. And to add insult to absurdity, there's still the illegal catch to consider -- and Turkey just got caught red-handed with an illegal landing of between 5 and 10 tonnes of juvenile bluefin tuna in the Turkish port of Karaburun. And this year's bluefin tuna fishing season is only just getting started!


Juvenile bluefin tuna below the minimum
landing size,stored on theunauthorised fishing
vessel Yasar Reis II, Turkey.


Turkey currently operates the largest Mediterranean fleet fishing for bluefin tuna, an economically and ecologically valuable species facing imminent collapse as direct result of overfishing. Northern bluefin tuna have long been an important part of the Mediterranean economy and way of life. In ancient Rome, tuna fishing and salting were two of the empire’s most stable industries. Today, virtually all bluefin tuna from the Mediterranean is exported to Japan creating vast profits over the last decade, which have fuelled an industry with no concern for the future of a species that has been reduced to critical levels, threatening its own future and those of hundreds of fishermen.

An international disgrace
Management of bluefin tuna is entrusted to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), an intergovernmental organisation in which the European Union is an active and influential member. In September 2008, an independent performance review of ICCAT noted that the management of the bluefin tuna fishery in the Mediterranean was “widely seen as an international disgrace.” The Turkish government objected to the bluefin tuna quota that was agreed upon at the ICCAT meeting last November.

The last goodbye
Alongside ICCAT quotas, a minimum legal landing size is set at 30 kg to allow for at least one reproduction cycle before any catch. But catches below this limit have recently been reported by both Turkish and Italian media. Ignoring international quota limits means that Turkey will bring an end to the bluefin tuna business even faster through the commercial extinction of the species.

Since 2006, scientists have been sounding the alarm on the dire state of the bluefin tuna stock. They have advised not to fish above a maximum of 15,000 tonnes, and to protect the species’ spawning grounds during the crucial months of May and June. But the spawning grounds are ravaged by industrial fleets every year and the actual haul has been estimated at a shocking 61,100 tonnes in 2007, twice the legal catch for that year, and more than four times the scientifically recommended level. This year, a so called ‘recovery plan’ for bluefin tuna will legally allow fishing that is 47 percent above the maximum sustainable limit.
No fish, no future

Turkey, and all other fishing nations including European countries, should close the bluefin fishery immediately until management is in strict compliance with the scientific advice, fishing has decreased to sustainable levels and marine reserves are established to protect the bluefin breeding grounds.

Many conservation organization have documented at sea, and compiled numerous cases of illegal fishing in the Mediterranean, including fishing during closed seasons, catches of undersized tuna, illegal reflagging of fishing vessels, illegal use of spotter planes, unlicensed fishing vessels and tuna farms, unregulated transhipments, illegal landings and false declarations, substantial unreported over-catches and further increase of fishing fleet capacity. Since the fishing industry is now completely out of control and leading the bluefin tuna to near-extinction.

Conservationists are advocating the creation of a network of no-take marine reserves, protecting 40 percent of the world’s oceans, as the long term solution to the overfishing of tuna and other species, and the recovery of our overexploited blue planet.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

THE END OF THE LINE

The End of the Line, the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans. Filmed over two years, we see firsthand the effects of our global love affair with fish as food. The film examines the imminent extinction of bluefin tuna, brought on by increasing western demand for sushi; the impact on marine life resulting in huge overpopulation of jellyfish; and the profound implications of a future world with no fish that would bring certain mass starvation.

The Film

The world’s first major documentary about the devastating effect of overfishing premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Tickets for preview screenings at UK cinemas on World Oceans Day – Monday 8 June, now available from www.endoftheline.com/things_to_do/screenings

Imagine an ocean without fish. Imagine your meals without seafood. Imagine the global consequences. This is the future if we do not stop, think and act.

A pile of dead fish

The End of the Line, the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans, had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. Sundance took place in Park City, Utah, January 15-25, 2009.

In the film we see firsthand the effects of our global love affair with fish as food.

It examines the imminent extinction of bluefin tuna, brought on by increasing western demand for sushi; the impact on marine life resulting in huge overpopulation of jellyfish; and the profound implications of a future world with no fish that would bring certain mass starvation.

Filmed over two years, The End of the Line follows the investigative reporter Charles Clover as he confronts politicians and celebrity restaurateurs, who exhibit little regard for the damage they are doing to the oceans.

One of his allies is the former tuna farmer turned whistleblower Roberto Mielgo – on the trail of those destroying the world's magnificent bluefin tuna population.

Filmed across the world – from the Straits of Gibraltar to the coasts of Senegal and Alaska to the Tokyo fish market – featuring top scientists, indigenous fishermen and fisheries enforcement officials, The End of the Line is a wake-up call to the world.

The end of seafood by 2048

Scientists predict that if we continue fishing as we are now, we will see the end of most seafood by 2048.

The End of the Line chronicles how demand for cod off the coast of Newfoundland in the early 1990s led to the decimation of the most abundant cod population in the world, how hi-tech fishing vessels leave no escape routes for fish populations and how farmed fish as a solution is a myth.

The film lays the responsibility squarely on consumers who innocently buy endangered fish, politicians who ignore the advice and pleas of scientists, fishermen who break quotas and fish illegally, and the global fishing industry that is slow to react to an impending disaster.

The End of the Line points to solutions that are simple and doable, but political will and activism are crucial to solve this international problem.

We need to control fishing by reducing the number of fishing boats across the world, protect large areas of the ocean through a network of marine reserves off limits to fishing, and educate consumers that they have a choice by purchasing fish from independently certified sustainable fisheries.

The Science

Overfishing in 2009, by Charles Clover

Overfishing was recognised as one of the world's greatest and most immediate environmental problems in 2002, when it was first demonstrated that global catches of wild fish had peaked around 1989 and have since been in decline.

62131231890181fish-skeleton-550.jpg

Globally, some 75 per cent of wild marine fish are now said to be either fully-exploited or overfished, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO). That means these species require conservation and management in order to survive in their present numbers - which they rarely receive.

The number of fish stocks recorded as fully or overfished worldwide is expected to increase significantly this year when the latest figures are published by the UN FAO.

The fish species in the worst shape are highly migratory oceanic sharks; fish that are exploited fully or partially on the high seas, such as the larger tunas; and shared stocks, such as the Patagonian toothfish or Chilean sea bass.

Aquaculture, or fish farming, now provides almost half of all the fish consumed by humans. In the West – but not in Asia - it is mostly carnivorous fish that are farmed. The growth of aquaculture has slowed as stocks of small fish used to feed larger fish are themselves overfished.

The North East Atlantic, which includes EU waters, is one of the worst areas in the world for overfishing – along with the western Indian Ocean and the North West Pacific, according to the UN FAO.

In European waters, some 80 per cent of stocks are recorded as overfished, according to the European Commission.

In UK waters, stocks of palatable fish, such as cod, have been reduced to less than 10 per cent of what they were 100 years ago. This compares with a global average of 25 per cent of stocks actively overfished.

The nation with the least overfishing problem is New Zealand, where only 15 percent of stocks are recorded as overfished. The problem is that in Europe some 50 per cent of the quotas set by politicians are higher than scientists say are sustainable.

The EU was instrumental in arguing for a quota of 22,000 tons of valuable bluefin tuna for next year at a meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas in Marrakech in November, even though scientists recommended a quota of only 15,000 tons to avert stock collapse.

The United States had called for a total ban on catching bluefin in the Mediterranean to allow stocks to recover from rampant overfishing, both illegal and legal.

The bleak future predicted for the sea by some scientists already exists in British waters, where in places overfishing has resulted in a simplified ecosystem vulnerable to total collapse.

In the Firth of Clyde, near Glasgow, the cod, haddock, saithe, brill and whiting have all been overfished. All there remains for fishermen to catch is Norway lobster, also known as

langoustine or scampi.

In the absence of cod, which eat diseased Norway lobsters, some 70 per cent of Norway lobsters are now afflicted by the parasite-borne ailment known as smoking crab disease.

Prospects for the Clyde fishermen are not good.

The Campaign

The End of the Line is not against fishing. It is not against eating fish. But it is for a responsible attitude towards the oceans.

The film has three messages for consumers, citizens and companies:

Ask before you buy:

only eat sustainable seafood.

Tell politicians:

respect the science, cut the fishing fleet

Join the campaign

for marine protected areas and responsible fishing

We hope that when people buy fish in a shop or in restaurant, they will ask where it comes from; whether it is from a sustainable source, whether it is an endangered or over-exploited species.

There are useful guides to what fish you can buy with a (fairly) clear conscience. In the UK one is produced by the Marine Conservation Society. You can find the guide on their website.

And the Marine Stewardship Council runs a certification scheme for fish produced according to principles of sustainability, which you can find out about on the MSC website

But we also want people to put pressure on politicians to listen to the scientists and act upon their recommendations. Write to your representative. Sign up to the Pledges.

And, finally, join the campaign to make more of the oceans protected areas, where industrial

fishing is not allowed and where fish stocks can replenish themselves.

At the moment only 3 per cent of the world's oceans are marine protected areas.

You can learn more about why they should be increased and those who are campaigning for them, on the websites on the Organizations page.

World Leaders and Organizations Speak Out on Overfishing

"Once considered inexhaustible, our oceans are now in a state of global crisis as more and more people compete for fewer and fewer fish. Overfishing threatens coastal communities and the food security of the millions who rely on marine fish as an important source of protein. Yet the solutions are in our hands, because what we buy for dinner tonight can determine whether tomorrow's generations will continue to enjoy the oceans' riches. Or not." WWF, the global conservation organization

"The vibrant beauty of the oceans is a blessing to our country. And it’s a blessing to the world. The oceans contain countless treasures. They carry much of our trade; they provide food and recreation for billions of people. We have a responsibility, a solemn responsibility, to be good stewards of the oceans and the creatures who inhabit them." President George W. Bush

"We know that when we protect our oceans, we’re protecting our future." President Bill Clinton

Prince Charles, who is president of the MCS, said it was a "wake-up call" that British seas were in need of urgent help. "There is simply nowhere in Britain's seas where marine life is effectively protected from human impacts," he said. "Never has it been so important to take immediate action to protect marine life." HRH Prince Charles, President, Marine Conservation Society

"The need for nations to agree on urgent action has never been more acute. Measures introduced over the next few years will determine what the future will hold in terms of food security, species survival and the ocean’s ability to withstand climate change, and those measures have to include a robust network of marine protected areas, in national and international waters." Carl Gustaf Lundin, Head of the IUCN Global Marine Programme, United Nations General Assembly, World Conservation Union

"After climate change, commercial fishing represents the greatest threat to life in our oceans. As well as ruthlessly fishing out stock after stock, the way we fish has disastrous consequences for other species and entire ecosystems – but the damage being done is out at sea, out of sight, and out of mind for most people. We need to take drastic action to repair the damage we’ve done to our oceans before it’s too late." Willie Mackenzie, Oceans Campaign, Greenpeace United Kingdom

"Overfishing cannot continue." Nitin Desai, Secretary General of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development

''We've acted as if the supply of fish was limitless and it's not." Steve Trent, Executive Director, Environmental Justice Foundation

''As Europe has sought to manage its fisheries and to limit its fishing, what we've done is to export the overfishing problem elsewhere, particularly to Africa." Steve Trent, Executive Director, Evironmental Justice Foundation

''The sea is being emptied." Moctar Ba, Scientific Consultant, Mauritania and West Africa

"Can the sea really let us eat sushi in these numbers?" Caroline Bennett, Founder, Moshi Moshi sushi chain

"This project allows us to finally start to see the big picture of how humans are affecting the oceans. Our results show that when these and other individual impacts are summed up, the big picture looks much worse than I imagine most people expected. It was certainly a surprise to me." Ben Halpern, U.S. National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)

"It is true that fishermen feel an almost desperate need to catch as many fish as they can when they're allowed to. That sense of desperation ... can't be an excuse for the policymakers of the world and this country to allow that to cause the universal collapse of fisheries." James Greenwood, former U.S. Congressman

"Never before have Mediterranean countries had more reason or opportunity to safeguard the region's beleaguered sharks and rays. Officials should heed the dire warnings of this report and act to protect threatened sharks and rays through regional fisheries agreements, international wildlife conventions, and national legislation. Such action is necessary to change the current course toward extinction of these remarkable animals." Sonja Fordham, deputy chairman of the SSG and policy director for the Shark Alliance

"An estimated 40 percent of cod caught in the Baltic Sea are illegal." Mireille Thom, spokeswoman for Joe Borg, European Union Commissioner of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs

Fish Facts

One billion people rely on fish as an important source of protein. - WWF

An international group of ecologists and economists warned that the world will run out of seafood by 2048 - Washington Post

The looming collapse of fisheries threatens the most important source of food for 250 million people. - The Earth's Carrying Capacity - Bruce Sundquist

According to the UNFAO, about 70 per cent of our global fisheries are now being fished close to, already at, or beyond their capacity. - The Earth's Carrying Capacity - Bruce Sundquist

As many as 90 per cent of all the ocean's large fish have been fished out. - WWF

one per cent of the world's Industrial fishing fleets account for 50 per cent of the world's catches. - CNN

Government subsidies of over $15 billion a year play a major role in creating the worlds fishing fleets.- WWF

The global fishing fleets are 250 per cent larger than the oceans can sustainably support.- WWF

Only 0.6 per cent of the world’s oceans are designated as protected.- WWF

A Greenpeace report states that 40 per cent of the world’s oceans should be placed in nature reserves. - MSNBC

In 2004, 13,000 new marine species were discovered, according to the Census of Marine Life. - Census of Marine Life

Japan has caught $6 billion worth of illegal Southern Bluefin tuna over the past 20 years. - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Over the past 50 years World consumption of tuna has increased tenfold, from 0.4 million to over 4 million tonnes. - Environmental Justice Foundation

In 2000 tuna long liners set 1.2 billion hooks catching untold number of turtles, seabirds and sharks. - WWF

Fifteen species of sharks have seen their numbers drop by 50 per cent in the last 20 years. - National Geographic

Illegal fishing is worth up to $9 billion a year. - Illegal Fishing.info

Fifty two per cent of fish stocks are fully exploited. - Marine Stewardship Council


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Friday, 1 May 2009

Jean Lambert Backs Refugee Green Project Scheme

Jean Lambert, Green Party MEP for London, gave her backing last night to a new scheme which will support refugee groups launch green projects.

The Evelyn Oldfield Unit, which supports community work by refugee organisations across London, will offer training courses to groups thinking of setting up environmental projects - from recycling to horticulture or neighbourhood renewal schemes.

Jean has worked extensively on asylum and migration issues in Europe, and has strong connections with refugee communities across London. She said: "I am very pleased to be supporting this important scheme which will boost the involvement and representation of refugee communities within the environmental sector. Encouraging people to take pride in the environments in which they live is an excellent way of developing a sense of belonging for those who have moved to London. I wish the Evelyn Oldfield Unit, and all the groups they support, every success with this."

The Evelyn Oldfield Unit's work with refugee and migrant community organisations has highlighted the under-representation of these groups in the environmental sector.

Tzeggai Yohannes Deres, CEO of the Evelyn Oldfield Unit, said:

"Refugees tend to come from countries with higher levels of rurality and therefore tend to be more mindful of local environmental concerns. The environment is also one of the major causes of refugees globally. For those now living in the UK, this is an opportunity to increase their connection with their locality, to be able to play a contributory role to the community and to improve the quality of their local area. There are also significant health benefits to be explored. For existing refugee and migrant community organisations, it is also the chance to diversify in to a new sector where there are many opportunities. The connections between local and global, migration and settlement and community-led solutions are core to this work."

The Evelyn Oldfield Unit, the leading organisation in this sector, is collaborating with the London Community Recycling Network to launch this event and to set up a support programme for interested groups, both those from refugee communities and those who wish to work with refugees more effectively.

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