Friday, February 28, 2014

International Ocean Roundup V


Seafaring Drug Smugglers Challenging Coast Guard
U.S. – 24 February 2014 – ABC News
While security has tightened at the U.S. border, drug smugglers are increasingly turning to the high seas. The area where boats were seized off California and the northwest coast of Mexico tripled to a size comparable to the state of Montana during the 2013 fiscal year, which ended in September. Off South America, traffickers over the years have been traversing territory so big the continental United States could be dropped inside of it.

Gulf of Mexico fish farms move another step closer to reality
U.S. – 18 February 2014 –
The possibility of Gulf of Mexico aquaculture moved another step closer to reality this month. But the small step forward – mainly adding a few rules for the proposed fish farming – caused fishers and environmentalists to once again speak out against an idea they fear will unfairly compete against local fishers and pollute local waters.

Cape Cod fishermen hoping for a lifeline as the region faces ongoing cod shortages
U.S. – 24 February 2014 – The Independent
The fishermen of Cape Cod have been forced to approach the American government for a bailout to save the region’s fishing community. Falling catches, caused by a combination of overfishing and a predatory seal population, are driving many fishermen out of business, The Telegraph reported.

John Kerry calls for ‘far more robust’ international dialogue to protect world’s oceans
U.S. – 26 February 2014 –
US secretary of state John Kerry urged international community to engage in a “far more robust” dialogue about the health of the oceans this week, offering a grim view of the current state of the oceans.

Seven New Tuna Seiners For Mexican Fleet
Mexico – 27 February 2014 –
Seven new tuna purse seine vessels are being added to the Mexican fishing fleet and will contrite to increasing food production and economic development of the country.

NOAA Urged Not to Walk Awa From Bigeye Commitment
U.S. – 25 February 2014 –
NOAA is being urged by environmental group, Pew Charitable Trusts, not to walk away on its commitment to reduce the catch of bigeye tuna in order to prevent further overfishing of the species.

Saving sharks one sandwich at a time: conservationists target 'shark bake'
Trinidad and Tobago – 28 February 2014 – Monga Bay
Thousands of Carnival revelers in Trinidad wouldn't think of missing the chance to go to Maracas Beach, the most famous strip of sand on the small Caribbean island off the northeast coast of Venezuela. Beachgoers might not think twice about eating a favorite food called "shark bake" either – at least, until now

USS Rentz returns from 7-month deployment
United States – 28 February 2014 – Fox 5 San Diego
The guided-missile frigate USS Rentz is scheduled to return Friday morning to San Diego from a seven-month deployment, according to the Navy. The Navy said the crew found 963 kilograms of cocaine in the hold of a fishing boat on Aug. 10, 260 miles north of the Galapagos Islands. On Nov. 30, the sailors teamed up with the Coast Guard cutter Rush to seize 460 kilograms in a Costa Rican fishing boat off Panama. More than 300 kilograms were found Dec. 17 aboard a fleeing Ecuadorian vessel northeast of the Galapagos Islands, according to the Navy. The Navy said the final seizure was made Jan. 20, when 243 kilograms was taken from a boat that had been spotted by an aircraft.

Texas Boats Combat Drug Cartels on the Rio Grande
United States – 28 February 2014 –
According to the Texas DPS, Mexican cartels are the state’s biggest, organized crime threat. Six out of eight major Mexican cartels have command-and-control networks in Texas, and they use the Lone Star State as a transshipment center for marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and people to the rest of the United States. The cartels also transport cash, weapons and stolen vehicles through Texas back to Mexico. Texas has 27 ports of entry, 1,254 miles of border with Mexico and 367 miles of coastline, making it hard to watch smugglers


New Zealand Tackles Illegal Fishing
New Zealand – 25 February 2014 – World Fishing
New Zealand has ratified an international fisheries agreement that aims to fight illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

NZ Ratification of Global Fisheries Agreement a Positive Step
New Zealand – 27 February 2014 – The Fish Site
The Maritime Union of New Zealand says the ratification of a new global fisheries agreement by the New Zealand Government is positive news. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Port State Measures Agreement is designed to fight illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

Foreign fleets pushing Pacific tuna fishing industry to the brink of collapse
Australia – 27 February 2014 – Australia
Tuna fishing nations in the Pacific say their industry is close to collapse because they can no longer compete with the growing number of foreign fleets fishing in their waters. The Western and Central Pacific has the world's largest tuna fishery, worth an estimated $7 billion a year.

New foreign fishing boats “plundering” the Pacific
Samoa – 24 February 26, 2014 – Samoa Observer
Apia Export Fish Packers Managing Director John Luff is calling on government to take action at a regional level to stop foreign vessels “plundering” Pacific fish stocks. Like the rest of the region, Samoa fish stocks are collapsing because of the introduction of “hundreds” of new fishing vessels to the region, said Mr. Luff.

India, more than 900 sea turtles killed by illegal fishing
India – 27 February 2014 – Asia News
The animals become entangled in trawling fishing nets. The discovery was made on a beach in Andhra Pradesh. The olive ridley turtle lives in the Indian Ocean and reaches the coast to spawn

Stoush brews over Russian fishing vessel
South Pacific – 24 February 2014 – Stuff New Zealand
A high seas political stoush is brewing over a Russian-flagged ship that claims to be the world's largest fishing vessel. New Zealand and others suspect the ship cannot fish at all and is instead creating fake data that will enable it to be allocated a legal quota in coming years.

Patrol boats handed to coastal towns
Philippines – 25 February 2014 – Business Week Mindanao
The provincial government recently turned over patrol boats to the province’s coastal towns to be used in patrolling the seashores against timber poachers and illegal fishing activities.

Foreign fleets scuppering Pacific tuna industry
Australia – 25 February 2014 – Australia Network News
Tuna fishing nations of the Pacific say their industry is close to collapse due to competition from the growing number of foreign fleets fishing in their waters.

Thai fisheries under pressure
Thailand – 27 February 2014 – Worldfishing
David Hayes reports on the challenges that Thai fisheries are currently facing.

Pole and Line Nation Deveopling Longline to Battle IUU
Maldives – 25 February 2014 –
Primarily known as a pole and line tuna fishing nation, the Fisheries Ministry of the Maldives has launched a program to teach longline fishing to young people in the country, a scheme in collaboration with the Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO).

Task force against illegal trawlers in Muar
Malaysia – 28 February 2014 – New Straits Times
Local fishermen here have set up a task force to monitor illegal trawling boats intruding into Muar waters. Muar-Batu Pahat Fishermen's Association president Ser Boon Huat said the task force comprised 20 fishing boats and 60 fishermen from fishing villages along the Muar-Bagan coast.

SIDS Becoming the BOSS of Tuna
Fiji – 26 February 2014 –
“The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) or ‘Big Ocean Sovereignty States (BOSS)’ as I like to call them, have a choice before them.” This is the perspective from Already “Bubba” Cook, WWF’s Western and Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager, working from Fiji.

Europe –MENA

Norway calls for global catch certificate to fight IUU
Norway – 26 February 2014 – Undercurrent News
Norway has received support from the United Organizations for its proposal to develop a global, common catch certificate for fish, which will help in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, said Norway’s fisheries minister Elisabeth Aspaker.

High seas need international police force, says former UK foreign secretary
U.S. – 25 February 2014 – The Guardian
The former UK foreign secretary and president of the New York-based International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, is urging the creation of a seagoing police force to bring order to the "wild west" free-for-all on the high seas that is damaging the health of the world's oceans.

EU promising more aid to the Pacific
European Union – 27 February 2014 – Radio New Zealand
The European Union says it is planning to significantly increase aid support with Pacific countries over the next 6 years.
Representatives of the island countries and EU representatives are meeting in Suva for discussions on the 11th EDF regional envelope for the Pacific region through to 2020.

Better management needed for EU seas
European Union – 27 February 2014 – Worldfishing & Aquaculture
Europe’s marine species, habitats and ecosystems continue to be threatened by human impact, and with maritime economic activities forecasted to increase in coming years, better management is needed, says the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Spanish Fisherman Fined for Illegal Fishing Activity
Ireland – 28 February 2014 – Afloat
Following a conviction at Cork Circuit Court, today, Friday 28th February, the Master of a Spanish fishing vessel was fined a total of €2,500 and forfeited €80,000, being the assessed value of his catch and a further €12,500 for the fishing gear onboard.


Senegal's firebrand fisheries minister turns his ire on foreign factory ships
Senegal - 26 February 2014 – The Guardian
Donor countries are acting at cross purposes by tolerating, and in some cases registering, giant trawlers whose fishing techniques undermine west African food security, according to Senegal's fisheries minister.

Africa’s plan to police violent seas is more hope than strategy
Africa – 21 February 2014 – The Conversation
Maritime security is fundamental to economic development all over the world, from local to regional up to international levels. The sea-based trading system, developed mostly by states with maritime borders, offers access to and distribution of energy resources, raw materials and all kind of products around the world.

Kenya to Step Up Surveillance on Its Tuna Resources
Kenya - 24 February 2014 –
The Kenyan Government has made plans to step-up the surveillance of its waters.


Technology for Fisheries Monitoring and Surveillance
Global – 27 February 2014 –
Monitoring and surveillance of fisheries is a complex and challenging problem. Traditionally, ships and aircraft have been the mainstay of surveillance efforts, however, the use of satellites and other technologies by fisheries enforcement officials has increased in recent years.

Humans are damaging the high seas. Now the oceans are doing harm back
Global – 22 February 2014 – The Economist
ABOUT 3 billion people live within 100 miles (160km) of the sea, a number that could double in the next decade as humans flock to coastal cities like gulls. The oceans produce $3 trillion of goods and services each year and untold value for the Earth’s ecology. Life could not exist without these vast water reserves—and, if anything, they are becoming even more important to humans than before.

Unmasking illegal fishing activities
Global – 26 February 2014 – World Fishing and Aquaculture
At the fourth Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop in Costa Rica delegates were told that analysis of fisheries trade data provides a cost effective and helpful method for tackling illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The tragedy of the high seas
Global – 20 February 2014 – The Economist
IN 1968 an American ecologist, Garrett Hardin, published an article entitled “The Tragedy of the Commons”.

Can World Leaders Tame the Wild West of the High Seas?
Global – 26 February 2014 – National Geographic
Earlier this month, Indonesia announced the world’s largest sanctuary for manta rays. At the World Ocean Summit Tuesday, Peter Seligmann, the CEO of Conservation International, said the sanctuary “was not done out of good will, it was done out of enlightened self interest.”

Manta Rays - Big pond for a big fish
Global – 25 February 2014 – The Economist
MARINE conservationists are hailing it as a significant step towards preserving a species that has been fished almost to extinction in some parts of the world.

Chile aids stranded Korean ship in Antarctica
Antarctica – 24 February 2014 – The Associated Press
A Korean-flagged fishing ship is stranded in Antarctica with 90 passengers aboard.
Chile's Navy said Monday that the Kwang Ja Ho struck the ocean floor about 1,500 feet (450 meters) from the coast while cruising through Antarctic waters.

Authorities Planning to Put Hold on High-Seas Fishing in the Arctic Ocean
Arctic – 24 February 2014 – New Tonight Africa
A three-day meeting is held by U. S. officials in Greenland to encourage Arctic authorities to put hold on high-seas fishing in the Arctic Ocean. An agreement has been proposed by U. S. that will halt international commercial fishing in the Arctic Ocean.

Numbers back high seas fishing ban
High Seas – 26 February 2014 – Global Post
Fishing the high seas is a losing investment, an economist told political leaders, corporate kings and environmental warriors Wednesday, backing calls for protecting the open seas.
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