Friday, March 28, 2014

International Ocean Roundup IX

Americas:

Far-flung fleet of tuna boats less than safe
U.S. – 21 March 2014 – Star Advertiser
The U.S. Coast Guard is raising new safety concerns for crews that harvest tuna from some of the most remote waters in the Pacific following a spate of accidents in the past eight years that have left 19 crew members dead aboard commercial tuna vessels flying U.S. flags.

Lack of English Contributed to Sinking of Dongwon Seiner
U.S. – 27 March 2014 – atuna.com (subscription based)
A lack of understanding the English language among engineering officers contributed to the sinking of the Dongwon-owned US flagged purse seiner, “Majestic Blue.”
See also: US Coast Guard confirms deaths on Majestic Blue, allegedly a Dongwon vessel and Coast Guard Releases Its Investigation of "Majestic Blue" Sinking

PoS workshop focuses on Port State Measures
Trinidad – 26 March 2014 – Guardian Media
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC), an FAO regional fisheries body, is hosting a regional workshop to build capacity for implementation of the 2009 FAO Agreement on Port States Measures among the Caribbean Small-Island Developing States (SIDS). The workshop is being held in Port-of-Spain this week and is being attended by more than 80 officials from 25 countries.

Illegal fishing harms more than Texas
U.S. – 26 March 2014 – The Daily News – Galveston Country
The Texas Gulf Coast supplies seafood for the American public and supports the hospitality industry, tourism-related businesses and our vibrant recreational fishing trade.

New Report Reveals U.S. Fisheries Killing Thousands of Protected and Endangered Species
U.S. – 23 March 2014 – Daily Beast
A new report by Oceana exposes nine U.S. fisheries that throw away half of what they catch, and kill dolphins, sea turtles, whales, and more in the process.

Deepwater Horizon oil left tuna, other species with heart defects likely to prove fatal
U.S. – 24 March 2014 – Washington Post
The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill struck at the very heart of fish, a new study says. Exposed to millions of gallons of crude, young tuna and amberjack, some of the speediest predators in the ocean, developed heart defects that are likely to limit their ability to catch food.

Costa Rican Coast Guard arrests boat captain for alleged shark finning
Costa Rica – 14 Mach 2014 – Tico Times
On Sunday, coast guard officers detained a fishing boat in Quepos, Puntarenas, on the Pacific coast, and found 21 shark fins on board weighing four kilograms, which likely came from four sharks, according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry.

California shark fin ban upheld by federal judge
U.S. – 25 March 2014 – SF Gate
A federal judge on Tuesday upheld California's ban on possession or sale of shark fins, rejecting claims that the law discriminates against the Chinese community - where shark fin soup is a traditional delicacy - or interferes with federal management of ocean fishing.

Defense witnesses in shark finning trial choose not to testify
Costa Rica – 25 March 2014 – Pertoma.org
Defense witnesses of Kathy Tseng, a business woman accused of shark finning by the Puntarenas’ Court, chose not to testify during a hearing this past March 21. Tseng is accused of landing shark fins attached to backbones, an act identified by experts of the Judicial Investigation Bureau (OIJ in spanish) and INTERPOL as finning.

NATIONS HAVE CARVED UP THE OCEAN. NOW WHAT?
U.S. – 14 March 2014 – Conservation Magazine
The U.S. has laid claim to 2.5 billion acres of coastal seas, but that vast area produces very little seafood for Americans. Therein lies a dilemma: should the U.S. cultivate giant offshore fish farms in its piece of the sea or keep taking most of the fish we eat from foreign waters?

Asia-Pacific:

Rai Balang maritime sweep nets illegal fishers in North Pacific
North Pacific – 24 March 2014 – FFA
The annual Rai Balang maritime surveillance sweep focussed in the North Pacific had some record results as it wound down its ten-day operation for 2014 late Friday. The administrative seizure and torching of fishing tenders and gear, citations for six fishing vessels, and boardings by inspectors of 69 fishing vessels across the Micronesian region has sent a clear message to vessels in Pacific waters fishing in breach of their license agreements, or without a licence: you will be caught.

S. Korea to begin real-time vessel tracking against illegal fishing
South Korea – 27 March 2014 – Yonhap News Agency
South Korea is set to begin monitoring all its fishing boats operating in international or foreign waters to prevent illegal fishing or any other unwarranted activities, the government said Thursday.

Vanuatu Fisheries Minister on mission to clear Eu fisheries yellow card
Vanuatu – 24 March 2014 – Islands Business
Vanuatu's Fisheries Minister David Tosul and his delegation is in Brussels, Belgium on the final leg of negotiations with the European Union (EU) to uplift the yellow card served on Vanuatu in November 2012 over Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

PFF slams issuing licences to deep-sea trawlers
Pakistan – 24 March 2014 – Daily Times
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) on Sunday criticised the governments Marine Fisheries Department, which has invited deep sea trawler companies of the country to issue licenses of fishing.

Gadani – A paradise lost to pollution
Pakistan – 24 March 2014 – The International News
The Gadani beach — one of the few coastal areas of Pakistan with sparking blue water and a unique range of marine habitat — is in danger of losing its lustre. Toxic wastes from the ship-breaking industry, coupled with illegal nets and the government’s plan to set up a coal-based energy corridor in the area, threatens this breezy coastal edge of the Arabian Sea.

Otter fishing tradition faces extinction
Bangladesh – 22 March 2014 – Gulf-times.com
Swimming in circles alongside a fishing boat, the excited cries of two short-haired otters ring out across a river in southern Bangladesh that feeds into the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest.

The fishermen lower a net into the water close to the banks of the river, and one by one, tails up, the animals dive under the water with a splash. It is a rare technique that relies on co-ordination between man and trained otters, a centuries-old fishing partnership that has already long died out in other parts of Asia.

Myanmar's marine 'Lost World' braces for tourism
Myanmar – 21 March 2014 – YDR.com
The Mergui archipelago has been called the “Lost World,” but outsiders have found it — first fishermen, poachers and loggers, and now developers and high-end tourists. The people losing this world are the Moken, who have lived off the land and the sea for centuries.

Europe –MENA

Panama, Fiji, Vanuatu, two others given until spring 2014 to up IUU fight
E.U. – 24 March 2014 – Undercurrentnews.com
As the European Union’s executive arm confirmed trade sanctions against Belize, Guinea Conakry and Cambodia, the European commission said another five countries have until the spring 2014 to demonstrate their efforts against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, or also face sanctions.

Thai Union aims to re-flag MW Brands vessels in light of EU IUU sanctions
E.U. – 26 March 2014 – Undercurrent News
Thai Union Frozen Products said MW Brands will seek to reflag its Belize-flagged vessels to another country as a result of the EU sanctions on vessels flagged to Belize, Guinea and Cambodia, the company told Undercurrent News.

Britain urged to sign up to shipwreck treaty to protect underwater heritage
U.K. – 22 March 2014 – The Guardian
Britain’s rich maritime legacy is under threat from commercial treasure hunters who are accused by experts of plundering and destroying the nation’s underwater heritage.

Dolphins illegally in the EU? Dolphinarium owners refusing DNA analyses
E.U. – 23 March 2014 – DI-Ve.com
The animal protection organization ProWal and the Whale-and Dolphinprotection-Forum (WDSF) are looking for evidence in the dolphinarium in Constanta, town in the EU country Rumania, of their illegal import of dolphins from Taiji/Japan.

EU Restricts Seafood Trade from Illegal Fishing Nations
E.U. – 24 March 2014 – The Fish Site
Four leading environmental groups – Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Oceana, The Pew Charitable Trusts and WWF have welcomed a decision by the EU Fisheries Council to place trade restrictions on Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea for failing to cooperate in fighting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Africa:

Somalia: Fishermen in Puntland quit Job due to ‘threats’ from Foreign Vessels
Somalia – 23 March 2014 – Horseed Media
Fishermen in Puntland region, Somalia have announced that they have stopped their work after facing ‘’dangerous threats’’ from illegal foreign fishing vessels, who are illegally plundering the semi-autonomous region’s resources.

Two fishing vessels impounded
Ghana – 24 March 2014 – Ghana Web
Personnel of the Marine Police Unit have impounded two fishing vessels on suspicion that they have been used for illegal fishing at Nungua and Chorkor in Accra.

Cote d'Ivoire: Parties to the Abidjan Convention Agree to Boost Cooperation On Marine Challenges
Africa – 26 March 2014 – All Africa
Parties to the Abidjan Convention - which governs issues ranging from marine pollution to overfishing across much of the African continent - have agreed to accelerate the Convention's implementation through increased financial and technical support

Global:

Fishing More, Catching Less
Global – 26 March 2014 – The New York Times
Op-Ed by Daniel Pauly of The University of British Columbia.

Nations around the world jostle to carve up Antarctic resources
Antarctica – 27 March 2014 – Nikkei Asian Review
As summer sea ice levels continue to drop year by year, interest in developing undersea natural resources and opening new shipping routes through the Arctic region has been growing. While in Antarctica, at the other side of the world, some forward-looking nations have already started expanding their presence, hoping to get access to natural resources on the frozen continent.

Planet Labs Set To Launch Largest Satellite Fleet In History
Global – 19 March 2014 – Space Daily
Planet Labs has announced that it has confirmed launches for more than 100 satellites over the next 12 months. The satellites will launch on rockets from the USA and Russia.

Animal Migration Routes Maintained by Knowledge of Informed Elders
Global – 20 March 2014 – Nature World News
A new model of animal migration patterns suggests that an entire migratory route can be changed if just a few so-called "informed individuals" are removed from the larger group.

REPORT: CLIMATE CHANGE STUNTING FISH
Global – 19 March 2014 – Al Jazeera
Climate change may be stunting fish growth, a new study has said. Fish sizes in the North Sea have shrunk dramatically, and scientists believe warmer ocean temperatures and less oxygenated water could be the causes.

Robot Eyes Protecting From Above: Drones and Ocean Conservation
Global – 19 March 2014 – National Geographic
A robust and healthy ocean is the lifeblood for our planet, sustaining life through interconnected ecosystems worldwide. Unfortunately, as a result of global industrial overfishing pressure, many of these ecosystems have shown signs of rapid deterioration.

Anti-whaling pressure said to continue
Antarctica – 23 March 2014 – 3 News New Zealand
The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd is vowing to keep the pressure on Japan's whaling fleet, as the Antarctic summer draws to a close.

Close the High Seas to Fishing?
25 March 2014 – PLOS Biology

Stand With Guam and Protect Sharks

Guest Blog
by Carlotta Leon Guerrero

Earlier this week, a federal judge in California issued a ruling that is terrific news for sharks. Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a lawsuit filed by shark fin dealers challenging a 2011 state law that prohibited the trade of shark fins in California. Among other allegations, the shark fin traders had claimed that the state law was preempted by the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the federal law that manages American fisheries.

Fortunately for sharks, the judge agreed with the defendants that federal law and state law don’t conflict and this decision means that California’s ban on the shark fin trade can stay in place. Judge Orrick wrote, “Nothing in the MSA requires a state to allow the possession or trading of shark fin—even shark fin lawfully landed—so prohibiting the possession or sale of shark fin in California is not an obstacle to Congress’ intent in enacting the MSA.” This could pave the way for further shark protections in California.

Judge Orrick’s decision could also have important implications for other states and territories. While the decision does not set a legal precedent for other jurisdictions, it sets the political tone.

Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands have also passed laws protecting sharks that are now faced with meddling from federal U.S. bureaucracy. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is currently trying to undo protections that states and territories have put in place for sharks under the claim that federal law preempts state law. This is the same allegation made by the shark fin traders in the California case, and the judge rightfully dismissed it.

NOAA should respect the state and territorial laws and cease trying to reverse these broadly-supported state-level protections. They’ve already backpedalled from their original position and exempted California, Maryland, and Washington from the federal preemption. They should do the same for all 11 states and territories that have taken additional steps to protect sharks within their own jurisdiction.

There are a myriad of instances where states have chosen to go further than federal law (minimum wage, health care, gun control laws, to name a few), and in this court decision the judge rightfully points out that there is no conflict between the state and federal law because they share the goal of conservation of the species. The judge’s decision that federal law doesn’t preempt state law is excellent news and will hopefully prompt NOAA to back off further, so the existing shark protections can stay in place.


If you'd like to show your support, please call on @NOAA to protect sharks and tag your Twitter and Facebook posts with #StandWithGuam.

Carlotta Leon Guerrero is the executive director of the Ayuda Foundation and a former member of the Guam Senate.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

If You Watch Just One Ocean Video Today...


In a world saturated with ocean videos, few stand out. On the big screen it's Sharkwater, The Cover, and Blackfish. On the smartphone screen, there's just about everything One World One Ocean makes. Underwater Fireworks, in particular, stands out.

Friday, March 21, 2014

International Ocean Roundup VIII

Americas:

Vessel owner fined for illegally manning U.S. flagged vessels with foreign officers
Guam - 18 March 2014 – USCG News
Coast Guard Sector Guam has levied fines against the South Pacific Tuna Corporation for eight separate violations of Title 46 United States Code, Section 8304 for using unlicensed foreign personnel to illegally fill the roles of chief mate and chief engineer on U.S. flagged vessels.

Illegal fishing continues unabated in Costa Rica’s treasured Isla del Coco National Park
Costa Rica – 15 March 2014 – The Tico Times
A recent report filed by park guards at Isla del Coco National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 365 miles off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, accuses 33 fishing vessels with Costa Rican licenses of frequently poaching within the 12 nautical miles of Pacific waters off the island, an area protected by law.

Canada’s stake in the high seas
Canada – 17 March 2014 – The Globe and Mail
Hurtling toward the moon in December, 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 took one of the most iconic snapshots of all time, of a beautifully illuminated, overwhelmingly blue, planet Earth. The colours reflected not earth but water, not land but oceans. On the spot, crew members nicknamed this image The Blue Marble.

Mexican fisherman accused of biggest poaching case in history at Costa Rica's Isla del Coco still a fugitive
Mexico – 19 March 2014 – The Tico Times
A Mexican fishing boat captain busted in 2008 with 12 tons of tuna well within the protected boundary waters of Costa Rica’s Isla del Coco National Park fled the country before his trial and has never faced justice

Florida Dive Boat Operators Face Charges Of Illegally Feeding Sharks In State Waters; 'A Public Safety Issue'
U.S. – 20 March 2014 – Underwatertimes.com
Investigators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have filed charges against four men linked to the illegal feeding of sharks and fish within state waters.

Could a shark-finning trial restore loophole in Costa Rica law?
Costa Rica – 21 March 2014 – The Tico Times
A Puntarenas court will reconvene Friday for a shark finning trial that could re-establish a gruesome loophole in the law that bans finning in Costa Rican waters.

Asia-Pacific:

Royal Australian Navy Apprehends Foreign Fishing Vessels
Australia – 18 March 2014 – NavalToday.com
The Royal Australian Navy, working closely the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) under the coordination of Border Protection Command (BPC), has apprehended four foreign fishing vessels with a total of 58 crew approximately 180 nautical miles North West of Darwin.

PNA discusses need to keep control of tuna supply
Pacific – 14 March 2014 – PNAtuna.com
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) closed its annual officials meeting today after discussing ways to control tuna supply and therefore increase economic returns to Pacific countries.

Hong Kong can help curb illegal fishing on the high seas
Hong Kong – 20 March 2014 – South China Morning Post
Wilson Lau calls on Hong Kong to join an international effort to curb illegal fishing on the high seas, to help protect fast-declining fish stocks.

This island nation just banned all commercial fishing
Palau – 20 March 2014 – Grist
The Micronesian country of Palau, which encompasses 250 islands in an area the size of France, just became a marine sanctuary. At a recent U.N. oceans conference, President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. declared commercial fishing illegal in an attempt to protect the vibrant sea life that makes Palau a magnet for Asian vacationers. “I always say the economy is our environment and the environment is our economy,” he said.

Sea Slavery on Thai Fishing Boats Remains Widespread Issue [Video]
Thailand – 19 March 2014 – Liberty Voice
Thailand is the world’s third-largest seafood exporter, and it is America’s second-largest seafood supplier. In the U.S., there is a good chance that one’s shrimp, tuna, sardines, or squid came from Thailand. There is also a good chance that the Thai fishing boat that caught those items was involved in sea slavery.

Europe –MENA
Member states to ban illegal fishing from Belize, Cambodia and Guinea
E.U. – 20 March 2014 – European Voice
Fisheries ministers from the European Union's member states will adopt trade measures against Belize, Cambodia and Guinea next week. Fish caught in these countries will be banned from import into the European Union.

EU Commissioner: Address Overfishing Globally
Greece – 17 March 2014 – Environmental Protection Online
Maria Damanaki, the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, praised the EU's progress on sustainable fishing and said fishing overcapacity must be addressed globally, in her March 13 speech at the Conference on Fishing Capacity in Thessaloniki, Greece.

EU adopts strategy on the Gulf of Guinea
E.U. – 18 March 2014 – African Brains
The Council today adopted an EU strategy on the Gulf of Guinea to support the efforts of the region and its coastal states to address the many challenges of maritime insecurity and organised crime.

EP committee approves three fishing protocols in the Indian Ocean
E.U. – 20 March 2014 – Fis.com
The Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament (EP) Tuesday approved three new fisheries protocol with Seychelles, Comoros and Madagascar, which will benefit the Community tuna fleet, mainly from Spain, Portugal and France.

Africa:

Kenya: KPA Denies Illegal Ship Docked in
Kenya – 21 March 2014 – All Africa
THE Kenya Ports Authority has dismissed claims that two ships wanted by Interpol for alleged illegal fishing and human trafficking called at the Mombasa port. This follows reports that Mv Samdera Pacific and Berkat Menjala arrived at the Kilindini harbour on February 4, and docked at the Mbaraki wharf for provisions.

Interpol orders the capture of two ships for illegal fishing and human trafficking in Somalia
Somalia – 17 March 2014 – Suna Times
The warrant of the arrest against the two ships was issued in January 21st this year, according to the Kenyan Daily Nation Newspaper. The two ships wanted by Interpol for alleged illegal fishing and human trafficking called at the Mombasa port in February, investigations by the Nation have revealed. The vessels are believed to have been behind illegal fishing in Kenya and Somali waters using fake documentation.

New fisheries monitoring system unveiled
Namibia – 17 March 2014 – New Era
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernard Esau has urged all fishing companies that have not yet installed the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) of the ministry, that is supposed to monitor activities of fishing vessels at sea, to do so urgently.

Invest In Africa? How It Looks To Senegal's Fishermen
Senegal – 15 March 2014 – World Crunch
On the beach here in Joal, a large fishing harbor south of Senegal’s capital of Dakar, a group of women watch as fishermen unload their catch from their motor boats. It wasn’t such a good day. But empty nets are not the only disappointment here. A Russian factory that will transform fresh fish into meal is scheduled to open soon along the shore, disrupting the locals’ salting and drying activities.

Offshore oil, gas industry needs to be safer
Africa – 18 March 2014 – Business Day Live
AFRICA’s western seaboard, from Mauritania to South Africa, contains among the most productive and fastest-growing offshore oil fields in the world. The region’s oil-and gas-producing countries drill more than 4.5-million barrels a day, and have about 48.77-billion barrels in reserve.

Japan gives one million dollar boost to Gulf of Guinea fund
Africa – 17 March 2014 – IMO.org
The Government of Japan has made a contribution of US$1.0 million to the IMO West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund, established by IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu to implement maritime security projects in the Gulf of Guinea, including the prevention and suppression of piracy and armed robbery against ships and other illicit maritime activity.

European Union pledges €1.2 million to support maritime administrations in Western and Central Africa
Africa – 18 March 2014 – IMO.org
The European Union is funding a €1.2 million grant contract, signed between IMO and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) to support training and capacity-building activities aimed at enhancing flag State implementation and port State control in Western and Central Africa, with a view to upgrading the region’s maritime administrations and preparing its States for the mandatory IMO audit scheme.

Chinese nationals held in Nigeria for illegal fishing
Nigeria – 18 March 2014 – Global Post
The Nigerian navy said on Tuesday that it had arrested 22 Chinese nationals for fishing in its territorial waters without permits and travel passports. Four foreign vessels and their crew were held in the operation, Commodore Godwin Ochai told reporters in Onne, outside the southern oil city of Port Harcourt.

Global:

Amid Hunt for Malaysian Plane, Ocean Swims With Missing Vessels
Global – 19 March 2014 – National Geographic
Ships lost at sea often elude current technology. As satellites and search teams scour the Indian Ocean for signs of the missing Malaysian airliner and its 239 passengers and crew, somewhere in the vast expanses of the North Atlantic an empty Russian cruise ship has been lost for more than a year.

Multinational agreement to promote more sustainable fishing
E.U. – 17 March 2014 – Europolitics
The European Union, the United States, Japan, the Philippines, Colombia and Indonesia agreed, on 14 March, to work to better control fleet overcapacity as a means of promoting sustainable management of fish stocks. In a joint declaration adopted in Thessaloniki, Greece, the five signatories express their intention to cooperate to "identify the measures needed to regulate fishing volumes in order to guarantee the sustainability of fish resources". The declaration was released upon conclusion of a two-day international conference sponsored by the Greek EU Council Presidency with the aim of extending globally the efforts made in recent years by the Union to reduce its fishing overcapacity.

New UN-led anti-trafficking campaign to help raise tourists’ awareness
Global – 5 March 2014 – United Nations
Encouraging travellers to help in the global fight against trafficking in illicit goods and services, three United Nations agencies have joined forces launching today a new campaign aiming to raise awareness among travellers and the tourism industry about making the right ethical choices and reducing demand for illegal products.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Guam Students Stand Up For Sharks. Again.

Photo credit: Linda Tatreau
Great job! Here's some media.  We'll post more photos and stories tomorrow.

Remember, Leo Stands With Guam


When Guam banned the sale, trade, and possession of sharks and rays, the world took notice, including Leonardo DiCaprio. As we've written many times before, NOAA is trying to overturn the law and is proposing a shark cull to "reduce shark biomass." We want the people of Guam to remember that we stand with them. We call on NOAA to respect Guam's close relationship to the ocean and protect sharks. Stop the cull in the Marianas before it starts.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

You Won't Believe What This Shark Does With Its Fins


Sharks don't just swim. Some walk. See what a walking shark looks like and watch the story of its surprise 2012 discovery in this new video short, the first in a new series by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Scientist Mark Erdmann was participating in a nighttime scuba dive off the coast of Halmahera, Indonesia when he stumbled on a new species of walking shark. The shark is one of nine walking species, six of which are found in Indonesian waters. It is about two to three feet long and uses its pectoral and pelvic fins to walk on ocean floor, looking for food.

Erdmann, a senior advisor at Conservation International and a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation said he experienced a "rush of adrenaline" in 2012 when he first saw the shark. But beyond excitement, his discovery uncovers new knowledge about our oceans, and moves the field of marine science forward.

Retweet and favorite this video to share this exciting discovery.

NOAA Plans Shark Cull in the Marianas

In 2011, the people of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands passed laws banning the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins.  Since May 2013, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been trying to overturn these laws and nine others like them to force the territories and states to allow shark fishing.  180,000 individuals including governors, senators, and congressmen wrote letters to oppose the federal preemption.  NOAA took notice.

In response, rather than simply preempting the laws, NOAA has undertaken a series of consultations with states and territories.  California, Washington, and Maryland were recently exempted from preemption because their laws do not interfere with the production of shark fins.  Fishermen are still allowed to catch sharks in those states.

Some are even speculating that the political influence of the three states may have played a role in their early exemption.  Now that the political firestorm is dying down, who will stand with the territories?

The first sustainable shark fishery has crashed apparently because it wasn't very sustainable.
The territories have the strongest laws in the country and ban the fishing of sharks, as well as the sale, trade, and possession.  NOAA wants to overturn those laws to force them to allow shark fishing.  And how have they done this?  By proposing a shark cull.  The report is available online.


NOAA wants to base policy on stories told by fishermen, not science.
The reason NOAA gives for proposing the shark cull is because "Mariana fishermen continue to experience high levels of catch depredation from sharks."  There is no science behind this statement.  No catch limits. No ecological risk assessments.  They are basing their reasoning on fish stories told them by fishermen.

NOAA continues on to suggest that "shark catches could reduce shark biomass."  That's clearly a shark cull disguised as a "sustainable shark fishery."  It is incredibly disrespectful that NOAA would suggest a shark cull when the people of the Marianas have so loudly pronounced to the world that they want to protect sharks.  Both governors joined other executives in the region to call for a Micronesia Regional Shark Sanctuary.  And both legislatures joined other lawmakers from across the Pacific to call for a Pacific-wide shark sanctuary.  If anything, NOAA should be coming to the islands with plans for more conservation, not less.

Endangered scalloped hammerheads have low vulnerability?
And what of science?  The IUCN Shark Specialist Group recently released a ground breaking study showing that more than half of all sharks and rays are predicted to be threatened or near threatened with extinction, and that large bodied, shallow water sharks, including all of the ones listed above, are the most vulnerable because of fishing.  It is confusing as to why is NOAA saying that some of these species have low to medium vulnerability.  What are they comparing them to when they determine productivity, whales?  Every single one of those species produces few young infrequently.


NOAA should stand with the American citizens living in the territories and respect their close relationship to the ocean and protect sharks.  Stop the cull in the Marianas before it starts.

Monday, March 17, 2014

International Ocean Updates VII

Americas:

Begich: No More Parlay for Pirates
U.S. – 13 March 2014 – Alaska Business
A strong opponent of “pirate” fishing, U.S. Senator Mark Begich applauded the approval today of four treaties that will help Alaska fishermen by cracking down on illegal fishing worldwide. Today’s vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to approve the treaties clears the way for ratification by a vote of the full Senate.

U.S. Senate Panel Advances Agreements to Fight Illegal Fishing
U.S. – 11 March 2014 – Pew Environment
With the world’s oceans losing up to $23.5 billion worth of fish to illegal fishing every year, the U.S. Senate on March 11 took a critical step to cut off market access for unlawfully caught fish and to drastically lower the potential profits.

The Foreign Relations Committee approved four fisheries agreements, including the Port State Measures Agreement, or PSMA, which would strengthen inspections and controls in ports worldwide


Coast Guard Crew Intercepts 110 Pounds of illegally Caught Fish
U.S. – 8 March 2014 – Kiiitv
A boat crew from Coast Guard Station South Padre Island intercepted a Mexican lancha carrying approximately 110 pounds of fish illegally caught in U.S. waters, Friday.

Save the sharks
Trinidad and Tobago – 9 March 2014 – Trinidad Express
A locally-spawned campaign to turn Trinidad and Tobago waters into a shark sanctuary has picked up international steam.

Three Arrested for Illegal Fishing Near Cocos Island
Costa Rica -
The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – The authorities in Costa Rica announced the arrest of three Nicaraguans for fishing in the protected area surrounding Cocos Island, which has been declared a Natural Heritage Site.

Asia-Pacific:

Search Underway After Fatal High Seas Hit-n-Run
Philippines – 13 March 2014 –Gcaptain.com
A search is underway in the Philippines for 10 missing crewmembers from a fishing vessel that sank Wednesday night after it was reportedly rammed by an unidentified cargo ship near the mouth of Manila Bay.

Japan to cut bluefin tuna catch in Northern Pacific by half
Japan – 8 March 2014 – Global Post
Japan plans to slash by half the amount of juvenile bluefin tuna taken from the Northern Pacific starting in 2015, compared to the 2002-2004 average, a Fisheries Agency source said Saturday.

Oceania comes together to implement shark protection agreement
Palau – 10 March 2014 – Marianas Variety
On Feb. 11 and 12, more than 60 people from nine countries met to develop a plan to implement the new Appendix II listings for sharks under CITES, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which will have ramifications for the future of the shark fin trade in the Pacific.

Australia Buys Giant Unmanned Triton Flying Drones for Indian Ocean Patrols
Australia – 13 March 2014 – International Business Times
The Australian government is to purchase a fleet of giant high-tech unmanned flying drones as part of a new defence plan to protect key maritime and energy assets in the Indian Ocean.

Europe –MENA

Nine Countries Sign to Conserve Migratory Sharks
MENA – 8 March 2014 – Maritime Executive
Efforts to conserve migratory sharks have been strengthened at an international workshop on shark conservation supported by the UN last month. Government representatives from nine countries have gathered in Dubai to lend more support to shark conservation in the region.

Danish fishermen demand EU ban on Norway imports as bilateral talks continue
Europe – 10 March 2014 – Undercurrent News
The Danish fishermen’s association have called on the European Union to ban all imports of fish products from Norway, as the EU-Norway bilateral talks extend into another week.

MEPs Call for Thailand to Address Forced Labour in its Fishing Industry
Europe – 13 March 2014 – thefishsite.com
The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has welcomed a decisive European Parliament vote recommending that Thailand be required to address human trafficking and forced labour in its fishing industry as part of ongoing trade negotiations between the EU and Thailand.

Africa:

Government committed to protect fisheries resources – MCE
Ghana – 7 March 2014 – Vibe Ghana
The Municipal Chief Executive for Nzema East, Mr James Atta Kakra Baidoe, says government is determined to protect fisheries resources and enforce the fisheries laws to sustain livelihoods of coastal communities.

SOMALIA: Puntland bans illegal fishing, warns foreign vessels
Somalia – 11 March 2014 – RBC Radio
In a statement released today, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources of Puntland said it has terminated all fishing licenses previously granted to the foreign vessels while the ministry also warned of any claims of holding legal license.

Saharan Express Building Collective Skills to Increase Maritime Security in Waters off West Africa
Africa – 11 March 2014 – iciLome.com
Today, March 10, a team of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Sailors had the great pleasure of joining with personnel from 13 partner nations to kick off the at-sea portion of Exercise Saharan Express 2014.

Japan extends 14bn/- to help boost fishing industry in Zanzibar
Tanzania – 13 March 2014 – IPP Media
The government of Japan has provided a grant worth 14bn/- that will be used for the development of Malindi fish landing and marketing facilities in Zanzibar. A statement issued in Tuesday by the Embassy of japan in Dar es Salaam said the project involves reconstructing of a landing quay to ensure safe landing for nearly 400 fishing boats, construction of a fish market and providing equipment for an efficient working environment and hygienic place for more than 6,000 users

Global:

Less is More: We Need a Global Strategy to End Fishing Overcapacity
12 March 2014 – Huffington Post
The global ocean, from the coast to the high seas, is facing multiple threats. We rely on the ocean for food, for transport, for the very air we breathe, but the current systems in place for governing and managing its resources are not fit for purpose. As a result, fish stocks are being depleted, rich biodiversity is at risk and illegal fishing vessels threaten the food security of whole nations. It is our economies that suffer -- depletion of fish stocks alone costs the global economy an estimated $50 billion per year.

Major fishing nations commit to fleet management
Global – 14 March 2013 – Intrafish.com
A joint statement committing to adopt measures to tackle global fleet overcapacity was signed Friday by the European Union and major fishing nations including the United States, Colombia, Japan, Philippines, and Indonesia.

UN group co-chairs outline priorities for sustainable development goal
The co-chairs of a UN group tasked with drafting a blueprint for sustainable development goals (SDGs) released a list of 19 focus areas on 21 February, following a year of discussions. The marine resources, oceans, and seas section, for example, suggests eliminating all harmful fisheries subsidies, as well as combatting unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

International Course on Fisheries Governance

‘Too much fish’ driving skipjack prices further down
11 March 2014 – Undercurrentnews.com
Prices for skipjack tuna are continuing to drop, with one source citing an overcapacity of purse seiners as the cause.

Want to feed the world? Save oceans first
10 March 2014 – Rappler
Imagine a world with empty oceans. Gone are the glittering shoals of sardines, delicious lobsters, and agile tuna. Hook after hook comes up empty, leaving millions of fishermen with no way to earn a living and millions more people without food. Our oceans aren’t empty quite yet, but overfishing is already decimating many ecosystems, leaving fishermen with empty nets and people with empty plates.

The One Use of Drones Everyone Can Agree on, Except for Poachers
13 March 2014 – Smithsonian Magazine
Conservationists are looking to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for help in keeping an eye on endangered species

Fish, fisheries and fisheries management in the Arctic Ocean
Arctic – 11 March 2014 – Barents Observer
Global warming has brought warmer waters and reduced ice cover in the Arctic, facilitating the northwards extension of fish stocks such as capelin and cod. This has brought speculations that commercial fisheries might develop in the Central Arctic Ocean.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Six Months to Go

STOP
A year ago today, Leah and Onon were in Bangkok with our partners from the Pew Charitable Trusts, WildAid, Shark Savers, and Humane Society International celebrating the listing of manta rays, oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, and hammerhead sharks on CITES Appendix II. If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know about the global Shark Stanley campaign that led up to CITES, and how 10,000 of you from 135 countries allowed us to take your voice to the CITES Conference to call on countries to protect sharks.

The listings take effect six months from today on September 14, 2014. Training is taking place around the world to help governments implement the new listings, most recently in Fiji will all of Oceania. Other workshops are planned for Latin American and Southeast Asia.  We will keep you updated as the date draws nearer and will let you know how you can get involved.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Of Shark and Man

"Of Shark and Man" - Teaser Trailer 1 from Scarlet View Media on Vimeo.

The shark bloggers are all in agreement that we can't wait to see David Diley's film Of Shark and Man. Come on, David! Hurry up and give me a reason to visit the UK!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cook Islands Shark News


Late last month, a Chinese fishing vessel was apprehended in the Cook Islands carrying shark fins:
Shark fins were recently discovered by Cook Islands maritime police during the inspection of a Chinese-flagged longline fishing vessel.

The find occurred during a maritime surveillance operation by Cook Islands Police patrol boat Te Kukupa, which was dispatched from Rarotonga on February 13 to patrol the northern section of the nation’s exclusive economic zone – which is comprised of over two million square kilometres of ocean.

A boarding party dispatched to conduct an inspection found “an estimated eight kilograms of wet shark fin separated from its carcass” aboard one of the vessels, according to the report.

The chain of command remains unclear, however, after receiving instructions from officials in Rarotonga, maritime police were advised to allow the vessel to continue its voyage.

MMR secretary Ben Ponia said the two vessels were not licensed to fish in Cook Islands waters and did not fish in the nation’s EEZ.

Under Cook Islands law – as outlined in Section 5 of shark conservation regulations - no person may “catch, capture, target, or otherwise engage in fishing for any shark”, and “no person may possess, receive, transfer, store, have on board, or trans ship any shark, or any part of a shark”.

Under the regulations, fines can range from $100,000 to $250,000, with each shark constituting a separate offense.

No charges were laid on the vessel or its captain by local law enforcement authorities.
The vessel was carrying an estimated eight kilograms of wet sharks fin and no shark carcasses, but was released without facing charges. This has created a controversy in the islands:
Democratic Party leader Wilkie Rasmussen has blasted the response of officials after shark fins were recently discovered by police during the inspection of a foreign fishing vessel.

Despite strict shark conservation regulations under Cook Islands law – which prohibits the possession, transfer, or storing of any shark or shark part – no charges were laid by maritime police, who were instructed by officials in Rarotonga to allow the boat to proceed to its destination.

The chain of command that led to that decision has not been officially disclosed by MMR.

“I can see no reason why no action was taken,” said Rasmussen. “Those who were involved in not laying charges are complicit in the betrayal of the country.”
The conservation community is also up in arms:
A key individual behind the creation of the Cook Islands Shark Sanctuary says regulations meant to protect sharks should be enforced, not applied arbitrarily by government officials at their own discretion.

Director Stephen Lyon of the Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative (PICI) – who led efforts to establish the 1.9 million square kilometre shark sanctuary along with fellow conservationists – was reacting to a recent incident where shark fins were discovered by maritime police during the inspection of a Chinese-flagged longlining fishing vessel.

Several other undisclosed violations were reported by police, who didn’t lay any charges after receiving instructions from officials in Rarotonga to allow the boat to proceed to its destination.

Under Cook Islands regulations, violations can face fines ranging from $100,000 to $250,000, with each shark constituting a separate offense.
Shark Defenders will continue to monitor the issue and will post updates as they occur.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One Year Ago Today!

Shark Stanley in Bangkok in front of all his global supporters
It has been one year since the shark and manta ray proposals passed in committee at CITES in Bangkok, Thailand. They would pass in plenary three days later, making the protections final. 10,000 of you from 135 countries helped Shark Stanley in this effort, photographing yourself to represent the people around the world who want to see sharks protected. Thank you again to all of you who participated, especially Shawn and Mary from WildAid Shark Savers and Guy and Andrea from Manta Trust.

Keep an eye on Shark Stanley.com because he will be launching a new campaign to protect sharks in the coming months and he will need your help again!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Oceania Comes Together to Implement CITES Shark Protections

Photo Credit: Angelo O'Connor Villagomez
Regional workshop identifies action points

On Feb. 11 and 12, more than 60 people from nine countries met to develop a plan to implement the new Appendix II listings for sharks under CITES, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which will have ramifications for the future of the shark fin trade in the Pacific. The workshop was hosted by the Fiji Department of Environment, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Coral Reef Alliance.

All eight CITES parties in Oceania—Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, plus one non-party, Kiribati—attended the meeting. Additionally, the workshop brought together regional and international experts with decades of experience in CITES, fisheries management, environmental advocacy, and shark conservation to provide advice to the governments.

Three species of hammerhead sharks, porbeagle sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, and both species of manta rays were added to CITES Appendix II in March 2013.

At the workshop, participants discussed the obligations countries must meet in order to successfully implement Appendix II listings and ensure sustainable trade in these species. This requires the development of non-detriment findings, which are scientific assessments that determine if continued trade in a species is sustainable or if it will threaten the species with extinction. If so, trade must stop. The countries also discussed how to issue permits when trade has been shown to be sustainable.

The countries agreed that non-detriment findings are unlikely for oceanic whitetip sharks (Carcharhinus longimanus)and both species of manta rays (Manta birostris) due to their current vulnerability and existing measures, such as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission retention ban for oceanic whitetip sharks and the Appendix I listing by the Convention on Migratory Species for giant oceanic mantas. When the Appendix II listings go into effect on Sept. 14, 2014, trade in these two species will be prohibited in 19.2 million square kilometers of ocean, an area the size of China and the United States combined.

Workshop participants made it a priority to establish better data for hammerheads—preferably on a regional level, and regional funding is needed to implement these listings as soon as possible. The Australian and New Zealand governments, as Oceania representatives on the CITES Standing and Animals Committees respectively, will request funding for research and capacity building from the CITES Secretariat.

“It was very exciting to see all of the countries across Oceania cooperating on the implementation of these listings,” said Imogen Zethoven, director of Pew’s global shark conservation program. “The Pacific Islands continue to be leaders on global shark conservation.”

Countries are also coordinating with Pew and Dr. Demian Chapman to schedule training assistance for shark fin identification, so that the new protection measures can be easily enforced.

Friday, March 7, 2014

International Ocean Roundup VI

Americas:

Senate guts shark-fin crack-down
Florida – 6 March 2014 – Orlando Sentinel
Florida may beef up penalties for poachers who harvest shark fins in state waters, but a Senate panel on Thursday gutted a broader effort to restrict the trafficking in fins for the dwindling population. Florida may beef up penalties for poachers who harvest shark fins in state waters, but a Senate panel on Thursday gutted a broader effort to restrict the trafficking in fins for the dwindling population.

Fishing Federation in Costa Rica Criticizes Tuna Restrictions
Costa Rica – 4 March 2014 – Costa Rica Star
The recent Executive decree signed by President Laura Chinchilla approving new restrictions on commercial longline fishing operations is a positive, yet not altogether effective, step towards stopping the overfishing and depletion of marine resources of Costa Rica.

Shark Lovers Try to Save Jaws From Trinidad's Bite
Trinidad – 5 March 2014 – ABC News
Conservationists said Wednesday they have launched a shark-saving campaign in the Caribbean country of Trinidad & Tobago, trying to stop locals and tourists from eating a popular delicacy: deep-fried shark sandwiches.

Electronic Seafood Traceability in a World of Risk and Uncertainty: The Gulf Seafood Trace Experience
U.S. – 4 March 2014 – Food Safety Magazine
Seafood is the most traded food in the world, and such distinction brings both challenge and opportunity, as recently witnessed in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

US Says Eastern Caribbean Leaders Fail To Address Official Corruption
Caribbean – 5 March 2014 – Bernama
Political leaders in the Eastern Caribbean (EC) have "largely failed" to address concerns of official corruption, according to a report released by the United States State Department. " Local and international law enforcement believe traffickers increasingly make use of yachts for drug transit, though "go-fast" boats, fishing trawlers, and cargo ships continue to be used. Drug transshipment through the Eastern Caribbean increased in 2013," said the document titled "2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report".

Kyatchi me if you can
U.S. – 6 March 2014 – Minnesota Daily
Minneapolis’ newest sushi restaurant raises the question, “How sustainable is our seafood?”

Can bluefin tuna be saved from extinction?; making New York-style bagels at home: Table Talk
U.S. – 6 March 2014 – Oregon Live
Can bluefin tuna be saved?: Bluefin tuna are among the most-hunted animals on Earth because its tender pink and red flesh has a flavor that's prized by sushi lovers. A medium specimen normally fetches $10,000 to $20,000 at auction, and last year, a single bluefin tuna sold in Tokyo for $1.76 million. Because of that demand, the fish are among the most poorly protected in the ocean, and face the possibility of extinction.

Asia-Pacific:

Rights Group: Thai Fishing Sector Abuses Migrants
Thailand – 4 March 2014 – ABC News
An environmental and human rights group has charged that Thailand is not adequately addressing severe abuse against Myanmar migrant workers in the Thai fishing industry.
See also: Slaves at Sea: Report into Thai fishing industry finds abuse of migrant workers , CNN.com

The choice is ours
Pacific – 3 March 2014 – The Fiji Times Online
THE Small Island Developing States (SIDS), or "Big Ocean Sovereignty States (BOSS)" as I like to call them, have a choice before them. They can either increasingly reap the rewards of a sustainable ocean ecosystem for the long-term benefit of their communities, or they can continue to sell out their fisheries resources on the short term to the Distant Water Fishing Nations (DWFN) like China and Taiwan.

PNA meet in Solomons to maximise conservation and dollars
Solomon Islands – 6 March 2014 – Radio New Zealand International
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement are meeting in Solomon Islands this week to look at conservation measures while optimising the economic opportunities for the islands from tuna fishing.

PNA countries in Solomons this week to agree on vessel days for US
Solomon Islands – 3 March 2014 – Radio New Zealand International
The member countries of the Nauru Agreement are in Solomon Islands this week to decide how to handle funding for their fisheries. Last year's negotiations with the United States and its tuna industry brought $93 million US dollars to distribute amongst them.

36 illegal fishers from oil spill-hit towns seized
Philippines – 5 March 2014 – Sun Star
A TOTAL of 36 fishermen from oil spill-hit towns of Batad and Estancia in Iloilo province were seized for illegal fishing.

Illegal fishing rampant on waters off southern coast of West Java
Indonesia – 5 March 2014 – The Jakarta Post
Marine Resources and Fishery Control director general Syahrin Abdurrahman says waters of the southern coast of West Java are an illegal fishing haven for foreign vessels.

Sri Lankan navy detains 32 Indian fishermen accused of poaching
Sri Lanka – 4 March 2014 – The Montreal Gazette
Sri Lanka's navy said Tuesday it has detained 32 Indian fishermen who were fishing illegally in Sri Lankan territorial waters less than two months after the two countries agreed to work together to combat poaching.

41 cases registered against mechanised boat fishermen
India – 4 March 2014 – The Hindu
The Fisheries Department has registered 41 cases against mechanised boat fishermen for using pair trawling nets even as country boat fishermen offered to surrender their nets and boat Registration Certificates (RC), demanding stern against them.

High seas pocket fishing rules released
Philippines – 3 March 2014 – Business World Online
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) issued the regulations on group tuna purse seine operations in High Seas Pocket 1 (HSP-1), in Fisheries Administrative Order No. 245-2, Series of 2014, published in a newspaper yesterday.

Government enforces ban on FADs to conserve tuna stock
Philippines – 4 March 2014 – Business Mirror
A three-month ban on the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) will be implemented by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources as part of its commitment to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s tuna conservation initiative, the BFAR said.

Preparation Implementation of Port State Measures aggreement in Indonesia
Indonesia – 28 February 2014 – Pusat Informasia Pelabuhan Perikanan
By decision of the Director General of Capture Fisheries No. 18/DJ-PT/2009, the Indonesian government has appointed and set 5 (five ) fishing port location can be a place of PSMA implementation, namely: a. Ocean Fishing Piers Nizam Zahman Jakarta b. Ocean Fishing Piers Bungus c. Fishing port of Bitung Ocean d. Fishing harbor of Ambon archipelago e. Nusantara Fishery Port Palabuhanratu

Indonesian Fisherman Rescued in After Tuna Boat Fire
Pacific – 3 March 2014 – The Jakarta Globe
An Indonesian fisherman was rescued Monday floating in the Pacific, 24 hours after his tuna fishing boat was seen engulfed by fire. The man, identifying himself as Simon, was rescued by another fishing boat helping in the search for the Japanese-registered No. 8 Kaisei-maru, which was found in flames on Sunday, about 410 kilometers south of Kochi prefecture in western Japan, the coastguard said.

Fish-dumping trawler likely to be seized
New Zealand – 7 March 2014 – Stuff.co.nz
New Zealand could end up owning a controversial South Korean fishing boat after a court judgment. At stake is the Oyang 75, a 68-metre stern trawler worth about $9 million that was involved in fisheries and environmental offences.

Europe –MENA

Barnstaple Tesco stores come under fire for selling 'dirty tuna'
U.K. – 3 March 2014 – North Devon Journal
Tesco stores in Barnstaple have come under fire for selling “dirty tuna” which allegedly uses fishing methods that can kill sharks, rays and turtles.

Fishing authorities say super trawler banned from Australia can fish in Irish waters
Ireland – 7 March 2014 – The Irish Examiner
Fishing authorities have moved to ease fears over the presence of the world’s second largest trawler in Irish waters — the same vessel which has been banned by Australia from fishing in its waters.

Seventeen Hundred Fishing Boats in Iceland
Iceland – 3 March 2014 – Iceland Review
Iceland is a fishing nation. Statistics Iceland has published new data related to the Icelandic fishing fleet compiled at the end of 2013. The total number of fishing vessels registered at the Icelandic Maritime Administration is 1,696.

Africa:
Namibia: 200 Illegal Fishermen in Court
Namibia – 5 March 2014 – All Africa
Two hundred illegal foreign fishermen arrested in recent seek-and-arrest operations have been arraigned before the Katima Mulilo Magistrate's Court and charged with illegal fishing.

Somalia: Puntland Forces Seize Illegal Fishing Vessel
Somalia – 4 March 2014 – Horseed Media
Puntland Maritime Police forces have seized an illegal foreign fishing vessel together with several fishermen for illegally fishing in its waters, an official has confirmed.

Exercise Saharan Express 2014 begins
Africa – 7 March 2014 – Defence Web
Naval forces from the United States along with African and European maritime partners on Thursday commenced the fourth annual multinational exercise Saharan Express 2014. The exercise, being held in waters off West Africa, is an at-sea maritime exercise designed to improve cooperation, tactical expertise and information sharing practices among participating nations in order to increase maritime safety and security in the region.

LETTER FROM CAPE TOWN: Relief for traditional fishermen still far off
South Africa – 4 March 2014 – Business Day Live
IT IS unclear whether Department of Fisheries acting deputy director-general Desmond Stevens jumped or was pushed. But it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that his sudden departure is a direct consequence of the botched fishing rights allocation process, which is causing immense unhappiness in traditional fishing communities in the Cape.

Navy Evolves New Strategy to Combat Oil Theft
Nigeria – 6 March 2014 – This Day Live
The Nigerian Navy yesterday said it had changed its strategy and tactics in the fight against oil theft, piracy and illegal fishing, noting that the new approach would boost revenue that would accrue to the Federation Account.

Sierra Leone News: Pres. Koroma re-opens Fisheries Institute
Sierra Leone – 4 March 2014 – Awoko
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and the Russian Federation on Tuesday March 4, 2014 officially opened the Fisheries and Marine Training Institute at the Kissy Dock Yard Grounds in Freetown.

Global:

The Cape Town Agreement on Fishing Vessel Safety should be ratified
Global – 5 March 2014 – WWF Blogs
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has adopted as its theme for the 2014 Maritime Day: “IMO conventions: effective implementation”. One of the measures of particular importance to the fishing industry is the Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel Safety.

Over-fishing and illegal dumping: "Nobody’s responsibility at the moment"
Global – 5 March 2014 – Voice of Russia UK
The Global Oceans Commission has proposed that the UN considers setting up a global maritime police force to ensure over-fishing and illegal dumping are controlled. VoR's Tim Ecott asked one of the three Global Commissioners, South African Minister of State Trevor Manuel, why he thought an international force would be useful.

Global fisheries enforcement professionals meet in Costa Rica
Costa Rica – 5 March 2014 – CCAMLR
Two hundred monitoring, control and surveillance professionals from around the world, as well as experts from related fields, met in February for the Fourth Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop (GFETW). CCAMLR's Fishery Monitoring and Compliance Manager, Sarah Lenel, travelled to San Jose, Costa Rica, to attend the meeting.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ridicule, Not Revenge

David Shiffman has a new article in Scientific American where he quotes Mike Neumann and Chris Neff on the threats the shark diving industry would face if sharks were to respond to the harassing touches of certain operators who have taken to "riding, prodding, grabbing, excessively handling and otherwise harassing sharks."
“These close interactions with large predators are always dangerous,” Neumann says. “Highly experienced people may possibly limit those risks through adequate behavior and safety protocols, but the increasing number of inexperienced copycats makes me fear that somebody will end up having a bad accident.”

[snip]

Neff expressed concerns that media coverage of an accident resulting from risky diver behavior would likely be inflammatory. Such coverage could be damaging to the scuba industry by scaring potential customers away, and harmful to public perception of sharks by perpetuating false stereotypes of them as seeking out humans to eat.
I do not agree. Sharks are already biting back and the video has already played on Shark Week. Stupid people being stupid results in ridicule, not revenge.

A few years ago Erich Ritter was filming a show for Discovery Channel Shark Week, expounding on how sharks don't want to attack humans. While standing in waist deep water in the Bahamas, he explained to the host, "All you have to do is remain calm and......arghh!" As if scripted by a Hollywood producer, a large bull shark chomped down on his calf.


There was no call to cull the bull sharks in The Bahamas. Rather, they went ahead and created a shark sanctuary protecting all sharks in their exclusive economic zone.

And then there is Dave Marcel down in Florida who made it a habit on his dives to give nurse sharks a big kiss to impress the tourists. That is, until a shark bit him on the face.


Read the comments below both Youtube videos and you will see that the general response is, "what idiots!".

So no, when the shark molesters get bitten, and they will, it will not negatively impact shark conservation. Those morons, however, will be ridiculed for the rest of their lives. I only hope they bring a camera so the rest of us can watch them remove themselves from the gene pool.

Monday, March 3, 2014

World Wildlife Day


Tweet or share this on Facebook. Healthy sharks mean healthy oceans. Trade protections for several species go into effect this September. Read and share The Pew Charitable Trusts' dispatch from Fiji to learn how they’re working to help countries enforce these important new rules.
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