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Jun 20, 2014 WWF urges new measures as protected areas fail high seas wildlife
Gland, Switzerland/Cascais, Portugal – Parties to the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic should take measures to control human impacts in marine protected areas. Action is being urged in advance of the upcoming OSPAR meeting in Cascais, Portugal, beginning June 23. The 15 OSPAR Convention countries and the European Union adopted the world's first network of high seas marine protected areas around the Mid-Atlantic ridge in 2010. Despite this recognition, there are currently no measures to control harmful activity in the areas except a temporary closure to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems on the seafloor from bottom fishing. Even this measure is thwarted in some locations. Fishing of deep water and pelagic stocks remains unrestricted, as do maritime transport and potential extraction of minerals from the seabed. The lack of protection puts a wealth of wildlife at risk, including deep-water sharks and rays, peculiar squids and octopuses, sponge aggregations and cold-water coral reefs. "WWF expects OSPAR and its contracting parties to scale up their efforts to draw up the necessary conservation measures," says Stephan Lutter, WWF's International Marine Policy Officer and observer to OSPAR. "Parties need to agree on a roadmap and have it in place by 2016 at the latest." WWF recognized the creation of the Mid-Atlantic protected areas in 2010 by awarding the organization's highest conservation honor, the Gift to the Earth. The protected area network comprises seven sites covering over 480,000 square kilometers of ocean. In addition to the diversity of resident species, plankton-rich currents serve as feeding grounds for migratory seabirds, cetaceans and turtles. "Swift collective action to secure this outstanding Gift to the Earth is sadly needed," says Lutter. "So far, it has been hampered by national vanities, lack of commitment in regulatory bodies and the absence of a global instrument to protect biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction." In addition to the lack of protective measures, harmful bottom trawling continues in the high seas of the Josephine Seamount Marine Protected Area, which covers 20,000 square kilometers on Portugal's outer continental shelf. "Activities around the Josephine Seamount run contrary to the conservation objectives of OSPAR and contravene UN resolutions on sustainable fishing. This high seas protected area is still a mere 'paper park'," says Lutter. The upcoming OSPAR meeting will take place near Sintra, Portugal, where environment ministers adopted the first legally binding provisions to protect biological diversity and ecosystems in 1998. Progress has been made since that time to identify species and habitats under threat and decline. While further conservation measures are required, a network of marine protected areas covering over 5 per cent of the North-East Atlantic has been established.
Jun 06, 2014 Countries tread water on Indian Ocean fisheries rules
Colombo, Sri Lanka. After five days of deliberations, member states of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) have deferred most of the proposed conservation and management measures for tuna and sharks in the Indian Ocean. Some member states went so far as to refuse support for a non-binding recommendation to end shark finning, agreeing only to a suggestion the issue could receive serious attention at next year's IOTC meeting. Also deferred to next year's meeting were proposals to ban wasteful discards in favour of full utilisation of catches, for enhancement of the IOTC observer programme, to study Vessel Monitoring Systems and to establish a working party on compliance with IOTC rules. "Efforts to conserve sharks faced the largest setbacks. Proposals to protect vulnerable hammerhead and silky sharks met stiff opposition, as well as proposals to prohibit the removal of shark fins for all other species", said Dr Wetjens Dimmlich, WWF's Indian Ocean Tuna Programme Manager. Another key measure deferred were proposed controls on the use of Fish Aggregating Devices, increasingly sophisticated floating platforms to attract schools of tuna, which greatly enhance the harvesting capability of purse-seine fleets. "A number of member states currently seeking sustainability recognition for their fisheries are failing to recognise that appropriate management of FADs is a requirement for a fishery to meet any credible sustainability standards," said Dr Dimmlich. "It is likely these countries will face increasing pressure from sectors of their fishing industries to take appropriate action." Some positive outcomes were recorded. In an important step toward combating illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, from 2016 all eligible vessels will be required to obtain unique identification numbers. Another significant commitment will be a three year program to improve the dialogue between managers and scientists, which should greatly help managers in understanding the advice and recommendations from the IOTC Science Committee and accelerate progress in managing tuna stocks. Although disappointed that a number of opportunities for progress were missed, Dr Dimmlich remains optimistic, "Many key states have expressed great interest in working with WWF to improve their fisheries and their capacity to meet their obligations as members of the IOTC. We look forward to supporting and recognising their efforts to ensure the future of their tuna fisheries. We also welcome Bangladesh, Djibouti, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the IOTC family."
May 22, 2014 Maui's dolphin faces extinction unless action is taken now
The world's rarest marine dolphin faces imminent extinction unless urgent action is taken to protect them, says WWF. WWF is urging the New Zealand government to heed the advice of the world's leading scientists and ensure the survival of the critically endangered Maui's dolphin through the full protection of the coastline they inhabit. "We are down to the last 55 dolphins, so we are calling on our political leaders to let them know it's time to take action to save these precious animals," said New Zealand Executive Director Chris Howe. "At the rate we are going the only place future generations will be able to see Maui's is in museums." Maui's dolphins are only found in New Zealand. With time running out to save the species, both the survival of Maui's dolphin and New Zealand's international reputation are on the line. "Right now the International Whaling Commission (IWC) scientific committee is considering papers that show that the limited protections announced last year by government don't do enough and will not stop Maui's from going extinct," said Howe. A WWF paper submitted to the committee, Addressing gaps in management approach and protection of the world's rarest marine dolphin, highlights that the government has extended protection on the basis of some sightings but has left areas unprotected where there have been equally credible sightings. The paper is being considered at the committee's 65th meeting which runs in Slovenia until May 24. The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission will prepare a report to be formally submitted to the IWC Commission at its next meeting in September. The IWC Scientific Committee acknowledged in its 2013 report that the human-caused death of even one dolphin in such a small population would increase the extinction risk and that Maui's need to be fully protected from gillnetting and trawling. This followed a similar call from the IWC in 2012. The government announced interim protection measures in June 2012, but dangerous fishing activity is still allowed to continue in parts of the Maui's environment off New Zealand's west coast, and within its harbours. WWF is calling for the New Zealand government to extend the ban on net and trawl fishing to cover the Maui's entire territory and to work with fishing communities to save the Maui's. "Support should also be provided to fishers to help them transition to dolphin-friendly practices. Fishing communities should not have to bear the cost of saving this precious dolphin alone," he says. The last count by the New Zealand Department of Conservation in 2012 estimated there to be about 55 Maui's adult dolphins in New Zealand waters and that we can only afford to lose one dolphin every 10 to 23 years without impacting the population's ability to recover. Scientists' estimate that over 95% of unnatural Maui's deaths are caused by entanglement and drowning in gillnet or trawl fishing. WWF launched the Last 55 campaign this week in support of the species. The campaign is calling on all New Zealand's political leaders to make a commitment to save the last 55 critically endangered Maui's dolphins.
Feb 27, 2014 Blue whale conservation gets a boost
Valdivia, Chile: The approval by the government of Chile of the largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in continental Chile is a boost to conservation efforts for blue whales and dolphins. The Tic-Toc MPA on Chile's southern coast announced this week follows almost 15 years of work by a number of organizations including WWF to protect the waters against threats such as overfishing and aquaculture activities. "This marine park is a gift and a great inheritance for our children," said Dr. Francisco Viddi, Marine Conservation Program coordinator at WWF Chile. With an area of around 90,000 ha (equal to the urban area of Chile´s capital), Tic-Toc was established in one of the most biodiverse areas of Chilean coast. "Tic-Toc will finally be protected; its rich waters, innumerable species and fragile ecosystem will be conserved and the blue whales will continue to have a home here every summer," said Dr Viddi. In addition to blue whales, unique species of dolphins such as the Chilean dolphin and Peale's dolphin, as well as two endangered species of otter are found in this ecosystem. Located off the southern coast of Chile, the new MPA is an important feeding and nursing ground for the blue whale, the world's largest mammal. "This is the beginning of a path to achieve conservation of at least 10% of Chilean seascapes. Still there is much left to do, but we are convinced that the declaration of these new protected areas will be a significant contribution and will be managed seriously and efficiently," said Dr Viddi. This initiative originally promoted by the Melimoyu Foundatio was moved forward by the efforts of WWF-Chile, the Blue Whale Centre, and the Austral University of Chile. WWF-Chile worked in the area for almost one decade carrying out research on key marine species and has a number of ongoing projects including blue whale satellite tracking, dolphin habitat monitoring, promoting better practices in salmon farming and promoting sustainable ecotourism. Along with Tic-Toc, the government also approved the designation of a Marine Coastal Protected Area further south in Aysén. Both efforts will help to consolidate an important pole of conservation in the area. "Chile urgently needs a network of marine protected areas along the coast and the Tic-Toc Marine Park and the Aysén protected area opens the door, and we hope that they serve as a model to be replicated in the rest of the country," said Carlos Cuevas, Founder and Director of the Melimoyu Foundation. About WWF WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. for latest news and media resources Downloads: Video about Tic Toc MPA For more information, contact: Susan Diaz Herrera, Communications Coordinator tel: +56-63-244590,, WWF Chile Valdivia Ecoregional Office, Valdivia
Feb 27, 2014 WWF opens 2014 Smart Gear Competition to reduce fisheries bycatch
Washington DC: WWF is launching the 2014 International Smart Gear Competition, which seeks and supports innovative solutions to address fisheries bycatch, the unintentional catch of fish and other marine species. The competition begins Saturday and ends August 31, 2014. "The Smart Gear Competition aims to spur ideas for environmentally-friendly fishing gear that allows fishermen to fish smarter while helping to maintain ocean health," said Alfred Schumm, Leader of WWF's Global Smart Fishing Initiative. In addition to fishermen losing millions of dollars each year due to bycatch, many other species, including endangered marine life, are unintentionally and needlessly killed by antiquated fishing gear and it is jeopardizing their survival." The 2014 International Smart Gear Competition will offer its largest prize purse to date, totaling $65,000, including: •A grand prize of $30,000 and two $10,000 runner-up prizes, sponsored by Fondation Segré. •In partnership with John West Foods, a $7,500 special prize will be awarded to the idea that identifies a solution to reduce the amount of bycatch found in both purse seine and longline tuna fisheries in the waters of the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. •Finally, with the Marine Mammal Commission and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sponsorship, a $7,500 special prize that will be awarded to the entry judged to most effectively reduce the bycatch of marine mammals in gillnet fisheries. After the prizes are awarded, WWF works with each of the winners to bring their ideas to life and see them implemented in fisheries around the world. "Today, more than 40% of the winning ideas identified by the competition in previous years are being used regularly in different types of fisheries," Schumm said. Since its launch in 2004, the International Smart Gear Competition has demonstrated that conservation and industry can successfully work together to identify and eventually implement solutions to reduce bycatch. Past winners have included specially designed lights that reduce the bycatch of turtles in gillnets, and a device to reduce the bycatch of seabirds on tuna longlines. This year, the competition is being supported by Fondation Segré, Bumble Bee Foods, John West Foods, the Marine Mammal Commission, NOAA, and WWF. Full details and entry forms are available at For more information, official competition rules, and instructions on how to enter, visit The International Smart Gear Competition is open to entrants who are at least 18 years old at the time of entry. Employees, directors, agents, current contractors, and relatives of employees and directors of WWF, Marine Mammal Commission, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Bumble Bee Foods, Fondation Segré, and John West Foods are ineligible. Judges and relatives of judges are also ineligible. The competition is void where prohibited. Odds depend on number of entries received. No purchase is necessary. The competition begins March 1st, 2014 and ends on August 31st, 2014. About WWF WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. for latest news and media resources For further information: Monica Echeverria, Media and External Affairs, WWF-US; +1 202 495 4626, mobile +1 202 378 3396
Jan 30, 2014 New report: government failures put Reef World Heritage Status "on the line"
A new report shows the Australian and Queensland Governments are failing to act on the World Heritage Committee's major concerns about the Great Barrier Reef. UNESCO'S World Heritage Committee has made a series of recommendations on improving management of the Reef and asked the Australian Government to report on progress by 1 February 2014. The Committee meets in Doha, Qatar this June and without substantial progress it could list the Great Barrier Reef as World Heritage in Danger. WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society today released the 72 page report, which assesses progress on the recommendations, and an accompanying scorecard which lists the government failures. Of the seven detailed recommendations from the World Heritage Committee the Australian and Queensland Governments have failed to make "good progress or completed" any of them. Some of the major concerns detailed in the report are: •Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt recently approved four major developments within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. This includes the dumping of dredge spoil in Reef waters in direct contravention of one of the World Heritage Committee's recommendations •The Federal Government is handing over environmental approval powers to the Queensland Government just as the Queensland Government is watering down state legislation in ways that "actively impede" protection of the Reef. •The health of the Reef continues to decline and "If pollution impacts are not properly addressed through greatly increased investment and on-ground action, it is highly unlikely that the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef will be conserved." •Halting and reversing the overall declining condition of the Reef won't be possible using current management approaches "We're going backwards on the Reef – that's the sad truth," said WWF Reef Campaign Director Richard Leck. "What we get from the Australian and Queensland governments is lots of talk but very little action. "The reality on the ground is that major destructive industrial projects that involve outdated practices like dumping dredge spoil in Reef waters continue to be approved. "Our World Heritage Status for the Reef is on the line. Do we really want to join the list of shame and have the Reef declared World Heritage in Danger? Imagine the impact that would have on our tourism industry?" he said. AMCS Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director, Felicity Wishart, said governments had dropped the ball. "It seems the Federal and Queensland governments either don't understand what's at stake or worse they're deliberately ignoring the World Heritage Committee," she said. "This is serious – our governments have botched or defied the World Heritage Committee's key recommendations about the Reef. "With plans by the Federal Government to hand over its environmental approvals to the Queensland Government, which is busy stripping away environmental protection, it is a recipe for disaster for the Reef."
Dec 04, 2013 WWF applauds country initiatives against harmful fisheries subsidies
Bali, Indonesia — Global environmental organisation WWF has applauded an initiative from more than a dozen countries to freeze subsidies that encourage overfishing, hoping it will spur action by other governments and help speed progress on the more than a decade of negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In a joint release at the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference, trade ministers for Argentina, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines and the United States committed their countries not to introduce any new subsidies that contribute to overfishing or the overcapacity of fishing fleets, and to refrain from extending any existing programs that might do so. The countries, known collectively as the "Friends of Fish", also jointly called for swift completion of talks to adopt new WTO rules banning harmful fisheries subsidies. "The statement issued today in Bali by the 'Friends of Fish' shows the continuing leadership of these governments in the fight to end subsidized overfishing," said John Tanzer, WWF Global Marine Programme director. "It is hard to understand why all governments do not take the same pledge. With so many fisheries already stretched past sustainable limits, and with a billion people depending on fish for their food security, subsidies that deplete fish stocks are a form of madness." In a parallel initiative, Indonesia, the host country for the WTO Ministerial, today also committed to complete new national Fisheries Subsidies Guidelines aiming to ensure government support programmes promote good fisheries management, responsible fishing practices, and optimal use of fishery resources. At a side event jointly convened by WWF and the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Gellwynn Jusuf, Director General of Capture Fisheries, said that public consultations on the guidelines text were launched last week. "Bad subsidies undermine good management, while good subsidies support management, sustainability and development," said Dr. Efransjah, CEO of WWF-Indonesia, speaking at the event. "The new Indonesian national guidelines are an important step in the right direction." WWF has worked for over a decade to end subsidies that are contrary to sustainable fisheries management. But experts estimate that fishing subsidies equivalent to tens of billions of dollars are still used annually in the fisheries sector without attention to their impacts on sustainability. The Friends of Fish have been instrumental in pushing for binding new WTO rules to prohibit the most dangerous fisheries subsidies and to subject the rest to strict environmental criteria. For further information:
Dec 02, 2013 WWF calls for an end to overfishing in the Western and Central Pacific
Cairns, Australia: Strongly concerned that the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) might fail again to implement effective measures to end overfishing of tuna at its annual meeting in Cairns, Australia next week, WWF calls for effective and decisive action. "The viability of the Western and Central Pacific tuna fishery should not be at risk because of short term economic interests. Without drastic measures, we could see the collapse of the bigeye tuna stock in the next few years, which will have direct impacts on other important tuna fisheries," said Alfred Cook, WWF´s Western Central Pacific Tuna Programme Officer. "WWF calls on the Commission to follow scientific recommendations to substantially reduce the bigeye tuna catch," said Cook. Over the last years, WWF has continuously been calling upon the WCPFC to adopt effective fisheries management measures including firm limits on the number of fishing vessels and reductions in the reliance on Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). Despite precipitous declines in the bigeye, yellowfin, and albacore tuna stocks, the measures implemented by WCPFC have been insufficient and too late. This is especially the case with bigeye tuna, a favoured sushi species, where the stock is overfished and experiencing continued overfishing. "It's really disappointing," said Cook. "Just a few years ago, there was a lot of hope that the WCPFC, as the newest and, arguably, most successful tuna regional fisheries management organisation (RFMO), would be able to overcome the myopic self-interest and politics that have hamstrung RFMOs in other regions." Too many vessels and in particular increasing distant water fleets fishing for too few fish constitutes one of the central problems contributing to overfishing in the region. Despite repeated calls to reduce the number of vessels fishing for tuna in the region, the number of vessels continues to increase, with at least 45 more purse seiners currently under construction in Asian shipyards and expected to join 297 fishing boats already operating in the region, setting an all-time high. This excess of fishing capacity will undoubtedly lead to additional sustainability problems in the region. The problem of overcapacity is not limited to the purse seine sector. Rapidly increasing capacity in the longline fishery from several distant water fishing nations is creating similar problems in the albacore tuna fishery. While the albacore stock is not in the same dire condition as the bigeye tuna stock, the albacore population has plummeted over the last decade, making it less economical to operate and throwing the domestic small island state fisheries into turmoil. Grahame Southwick, owner of the Fiji Fish Company, says the failure of the WCPFC to act has devastated the Pacific Island domestic long line fishery. "We've worked tirelessly and responsibly to ensure the sustainability of the albacore fishery in Fiji, even securing the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-certification, only to have our fishery decimated by an ever-expanding distant water fleet from Asia." said Southwick. "For years, we've been asking the WCPFC and the various national governments in the region to address the longline fleet overcapacity, but our requests seem to have fallen on deaf ears." Southwick and other albacore fishermen in the region continue to insist that something must urgently be done to address not only the excess fishing capacity from Asia, but also the subsidies provided from Asian states to their vessels that make it impossible for domestic fleets to compete economically. There is some positive momentum, however. WWF has engaged a large group of responsible buyers, harvesters, processors, and traders, in making a pledge to the WCFPC Commission to support well-planned and designed tuna fishery improvement and conservation initiatives to sustain livelihoods, minimise environmental impacts and supply the world with responsibly-managed, high quality tuna through certification according to the MSC standards. The world community, including the markets that purchase tuna from the region, are demanding the WCPFC take action. WWF and others are hoping that, despite the pessimism, the WCPFC will take decisive and effective measures to conserve the region's important tuna stocks this year. Note to editors: 1 The WCPFC is responsible for the conservation and management of tuna and other marine resources in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The members of the WCPFC are: Australia, Canada, China, Cook Islands, European Community, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, France, Japan, Kiribati, Korea, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Chinese Taipei, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States of America, Vanuatu 2 The annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) will take place in Cairns, Australia, on December 2-6. For more detailed information: •Alfred Cook, Western Central Pacific Ocean Tuna Programme Manager, WWF Smart Fishing Initiative, Email: Phone: +679 903 5008 About WWF WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with more than 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. for latest news and media resources
Nov 15, 2013 WWF welcomes first MSC-certified skipjack tuna products from the Pacific in Europe
Gland, Switzerland: Today marks the first ever delivery of certified, sustainably-managed tuna from the Pacific islands to the European marketplace. SPAR Austria is the first retailer to offer canned skipjack tuna from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, the largest skipjack tuna fishery in the world that is also certified according to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard in Austrian supermarkets. The MSC label guarantees consumers that the fish caught is from a sustainably managed fishery, handled under a rigid chain of custody from the net to the retailer, and harvested with minimal impacts on other marine species including sharks, turtles, and marine mammals. It also shows that the tuna stock is maintained in healthy condition, and that the fishery has little adverse impacts on marine habitats. SPAR Austria has received the tuna from a fishery that is managed by the sub-regional organization known as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), which is comprised of eight developing nations in the South Pacific Region that control around 50% of the world's skipjack tuna supply including the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. The PNA has consistently demonstrated leadership in the region by taking management measures for their free-school purse seine fishery that include restrictions on the use of Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs)*, tuna catch retention, mesh regulations, portside transhipment and prohibitions on setting nets on whale sharks. Additionally, every fishing trip is fully monitored and documented by independent, 3rd party observers, who verify catch and bycatch. WWF has been a strong supporter of the PNA's commitment to applying the ecosystem approach, a strategy for integrated management that promotes conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment. "WWF applauds the PNA, its co-brand partner Pacifical, and SPAR in their partnership in making delivery of sustainably sourced, FAD-free MSC skipjack tuna to the Austrian market." said Alfred Schumm, WWF's Smart Fishing Initiative Leader. "It is a remarkable success for these developing nations to have banded together in an effort to secure their own economies through sustainable management of their natural resources. We hope that more markets in Europe and the rest of the world will recognize this effort and will offer these certified tuna products." Schumm added. The PNA also underwent a vigorous and lengthy review of its chain of custody procedures to ensure that the skipjack tuna they deliver meets the standard of the MSC, considered the most comprehensive and robust seafood ecolabel in existence with bycatch and chain of custody standards that exceed any other ecolabel. This provides not just the world's best traceability, but also the ability for the consumer to track the can back to the Pacific and its people. "We are thrilled to be delivering PNA MSC-certified skipjack tuna to SPAR and into the European market," said Maurice Brownjohn, the commercial advisor to the PNA. "It means a lot to our developing nations to finally achieve delivery of canned skipjack tuna into the market and see benefits of sustainability." For more detailed information: •Axel Hein – WWF AUSTRIA tel. +43 1 488 17 - 230 •Alfred Schumm – Smart Fishing Initiative tel. +49.40.530.200.330 •Alfred Cook – WWF-Smart Fishing Initiative, tel. +679 903 5008 •Bill Fox – WWF US tel. +1 202 495 4397 Note to editors: A Fish Aggregation Device (FAD) is a floating object that attracts fish. Fishing beside/under FADs takes advantage of the fact that tuna and other pelagic fish naturally congregate around floating objects in the open ocean and can be substantially more efficient than placing purse seine nets around free-swimming schools. Using FADs also increases the bycatch of some 'non target' species like sharks and other bony fishes. Dolphins do not aggregate with skipjack tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean the same way they do with yellowfin tuna, a separate species, in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). Specifically, dolphins only associate in large aggregations with yellowfin tuna schools in the EPO. About WWF WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. More information:
Nov 01, 2013 Protection of Antarctica's seas put on ice
Hobart, Australia: International talks have once again poured cold water on attempts to protect the conservation values of Antarctica's oceans and its marine wildlife, WWF said today. The latest meeting of the Commission for the Conservation on Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) closed today in Hobart, and again failed to agree on how to protect the Ross Sea and the seas off East Antarctica. The frustrating outcome came just months after talks broke down in Germany, following many years of research and the Commission's 2009 commitment to establish a representative system of marine protected areas (MPAs) around Antarctica. WWF spokesperson Bob Zuur is frustrated at this backward step. "Antarctica's oceans are under ever-increasing pressure, from fishing, shipping and a changing climate," Mr Zuur said. "I sailed through the Ross Sea last year and saw dozens of whales, hundreds of seals and albatrosses, and thousands of penguins. The Ross Sea and East Antarctica are two of the Earth's truly special places, largely untouched by humans. "Lasting protection for these conservation values should be obvious. Yet the focus was on protecting fishing interests. The conservation principles enshrined in the CCAMLR convention will be questioned following this failure to reach agreement." The two proposals on which CCAMLR failed to agree were a joint US-New Zealand proposal to designate a Ross Sea MPA of 1.34 million km2, including a fully protected area of 1.25 million km2; and a proposal from Australia, France and the European Union that would designate a cluster of seven marine protected areas in East Antarctica, covering about 1.63 million km2. Mr Zuur said the Southern Ocean is critical for scientific research, both for studying how intact marine ecosystems function and for determining the impacts of global climate change. "Action is needed urgently, and we expect the next meeting in 2014 to deliver on commitments to protect, in a ecologically meaningful way, one of the most vulnerable oceans on Earth," Mr Zuur said.
Oct 26, 2013 WWF Commentary: MPAs important for livelihoods and food security
John Tanzer, Director, Global Marine Programme, WWF-International In October 2013 we have assisted to the Ministerial Conference on Ocean Conservation, in Ajaccio, Corsica. Following on from the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3) that took place last week in Marseille, France, this high-level summit brought governments, donor institutions and civil society around the many different facets of marine protected areas. WWF was at the table to reemphasize the important role of marine protected areas for people, their food security, employment and livelihoods. IMPAC3 engaged 1,500 participants from 87 nations, with a broad range of expertise including marine protected areas managers, scientists, policy-makers and representatives of local communities. Over 40 WWF experts participated in the congress, presenting on a wide range of topics including establishment of marine protected areas, best management practices, identification of the benefits, fisheries, private sector engagement, sustainable financing and regional approaches. I was extremely pleased to see the constructive role WWF was able to play in making this congress rich and worthwhile for participants. Of course we also took the opportunity to learn from others, especially our partners with whom we work closely in many places around the world. It was an important outcome to see a clear endorsement of the role well-designed and managed networks of marine protected areas must play if we are to turn around the decline in the world's oceans with greater urgency and at scale. Marine protected areas not only restore but also sustain local economies through providing fish, food, income, jobs in the longer term. Both at the Congress itself and the High Level Summit there was substantial interest and support for development and implementation of regional and sub-regional initiatives. WWF used the opportunity to profile our work in the Mediterranean Sea and the Northern Mozambique Channel, as well as other priority places such as the Coral Triangle and South America. These places are critical for the livelihoods of millions of people and are under increasing threats and pressure. Strengthened collaboration of all actors is needed to ensure biodiversity protection and development objectives are integrated. Regarding the high seas, WWF and experts called for member states of the UN Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to strongly support efforts to implement an agreement for the protection of biodiversity on the high seas as a matter of urgency.
Oct 24, 2013 Last chance for Ross Sea and East Antarctica protection
Hobart, Australia: WWF, as part of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA), is calling on the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to step up to its conservation commitments and agree to lasting and significant Southern Ocean protection. At a meeting in Hobart, Australia the commission will be discussing the designation of marine protected areas in the Ross Sea and East Antarctic. A joint United States-New Zealand government proposal to protect over two million km 2 of the Ross Sea was put forward last year but did not gain full support. The AOA originally recommended full protection of 3.6 million km 2 in the Ross Sea, often referred to as "The Last Ocean" as it is one of the most pristine oceans left on earth. But a new proposal was announced prior to the Hobart meeting with a reduction in size bringing it down to 1.32 million km 2 . A second proposal from the Australian government, France and the European Union for East Antarctic protection is also on the table to protect 1.6 million km 2 designated as multiple use, in which future fishing activities would have to be approved by consensus. "CCAMLR prides itself on a comprehensive approach to its conservation of marine life in the Southern Ocean," said Bob Zuur, manager of WWF's Antarctic program. "This meeting provides CCAMLR an opportunity to deliver on its promise of a system of marine protected areas and show that the Convention is not just about managing fishing." The Southern Ocean is home to more than 10,000 unique species including most of the world's penguins, whales, seabirds, colossal squid and the commercially targeted Antarctic toothfish. The region is critical for scientific research, both for studying how intact marine ecosystems function and for determining the impacts of global climate change. The Antarctic Ocean Alliance partners are attending the meeting in Hobart, working to ensure delegates step up to the challenge and designate the Ross Sea and East Antarctic proposals.
Oct 23, 2013 Fish stock recovery given a fighting chance by European parliament
Strasbourg, France: Earlier today the European parliament plenary voted on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and decided against the reintroduction of subsidies for the building of new boats. Parliamentarians also included a package on jobs for young fishermen and training for sustainable fishing practices that is essential for fishing communities. The vote also resulted in a doubling of investment in data collection, control and regulation enforcement. This means that fisheries authorities have a real chance of winning the fight against illegal fishing.  More funding for data collection will give experts a complete picture of fish stocks and allow them to advise which stocks need more time to recover and which can be safely exploited.  WWF applauds this decision as it will give decimated fish stocks a real chance of recovery. We are however concerned with the continuation of funds for engine replacement which will give small vessels, of under 12 metre, the capacity to stay out at sea longer and increase their operational range. Quote from Tony Long, Director, WWF European Policy Office: "Today's decision gives European fish stocks a real fighting chance. Funding for fleet renewal ended in 2002 and a reintroduction of these subsidies would have dangerously increased the capacity of the fleet, given boats a longer range and resulted in the destruction of the few remaining healthy fish stocks." "Today we have dodged a bullet as the proposal on the table would have made fish stock recovery measures agreed in the summer pointless." "This is good news for conservation of fish stocks and fishing communities who can look to a more secure future. Importantly, MEPs also decided to invest in data collection, control and enforcement of fisheries, by increasing the budget available. This will give authorities the ability to really fight against illegal fishing in European waters which accounts for up to 40 per cent of landings* and allows us to gain an accurate insight into the recovery rate of the most vulnerable stocks." *For figures on illegal landings please go to the New Economics Foundation Report, Unknown Waters 2013
Oct 16, 2013 Indispensable Ocean - Blue Ribbon Panel Report
Washington, USA: A unique panel of business, government, conservation and academic leaders has agreed a global strategy for aligning ocean health and human well-being. The Blue Ribbon Panel, which includes 21 global experts from 16 countries, emphasizes that without action to turn around the declining health of the ocean, the consequences for economies, communities and ecosystems will be irreversible.   Recent science from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Programme on the State of the Ocean has intensified the focus on declining ocean health. "Ocean change is climate change and vice versa," said panel chair and ocean adviser to the IPCC Ove Hoegh-Guldberg. "With looming threats of rising sea levels, warmer waters and a growing human population we need healthy oceans and coasts to mitigate climate change, feed billions and protect coastal communities." But there is good news: solutions exist that benefit both oceans and economies, according to the panel's report. Convened by the World Bank to advise the Global Partnership for Oceans, the panel includes high-level players ranging from CEOs of some of the largest seafood companies in the world - including Thai Union Frozen Products, Bumble Bee Foods and High Liner Foods - to government officials and prominent marine conservationists. According to the panel, fragmented approaches that fail to consider social, political, economic and ecological relationships will fail to meet the complex challenges facing ocean health. The report calls for an integrated approach to ocean investment and emphasizes the essential role of public-private partnerships.   The panel agreed that the Global Partnership for Oceans is a platform that brings together the multi-stakeholder support, technical expertise and finance needed to change the course on oceans. "Getting to healthy oceans is a global challenge that needs the concentrated effort of big and small business, government, science and the people," said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg. "Though they brought very different world views, everyone on this panel agreed that we can't keep going with business-as-usual and all parts of society must be part of the solution." The panel agreed there is no silver bullet to resolving urgent ocean challenges. It proposes these five principles to ensure effective GPO investments: sustainable livelihoods, social equity and food security a healthy ocean effective governance systems long-term viability capacity building and innovation The Panel's principle-based strategy provides an approach to prioritize where, when and how the GPO can take action with high impact. The panel recommends that the principles be incorporated into all levels of reform - from fisheries management to incentives for pollution reduction to habitat restoration. "Probably what impressed me most is that every member of this group was prepared to put aside their differences to work towards solutions to the problems affecting our oceans. Just goes to show what could be possible on the scale of the Global Partnership for Oceans." John Tanzer, Marine Director, WWF International.
Oct 15, 2013 Celebrity chef joins forces with WWF to promote responsible seafood
Hanoi, Vietnam: Bobby Chinn, celebrity chef and award-winning TV host, joined forces with WWF today to promote responsible seafood. WWF has been working with Bobby to promote responsible seafood production, retail, and consumption to help address dwindling fish resources in the Coral Triangle—an area in Asia Pacific that contains one of the highest concentrations of reef fish on the planet, many of which are exported to Vietnam. "As a publicly-known chef and restaurateur, I'm in a unique position to help educate fellow seafood retailers and consumers on how their choices can help transform the fishing industry for the better," said Bobby. As a personal commitment to the cause, Bobby introduced a responsible seafood menu at his restaurant using responsibly-sourced products from seafood companies that comply with best management practices in seafood production, some of which have been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). Dwindling fish stocks Unsustainable fishing practices are causing tremendous stress on the region's marine resources, brought about by increasing seafood demand from around the world. Destructive fishing methods are still rampant in some parts of Asia Pacific and are rapidly destroying critical coral reef ecosystems. "Without urgent transformative measures from fishing companies, seafood retailers, and consumers, fish stocks will continue to decline and we may not have enough fish resources left in the near future to secure our food and livelihood," said Ngo Tien Chuong, WWF-Vietnam's Aquaculture Coordinator. Improving fisheries WWF has been working closely with the private and public sectors to help improve fishing practices through fisheries and aquaculture improvement projects that help fisheries adopt better management practices, and assisting them to eventually attain MSC and ASC certification. In Vietnam, for example, WWF helped the clam fishery in Ben Tre to be the first in Southeast Asia to get MSC certification in 2009, increasing its export price by as much as 50 per cent. In line with the government's goal to attain responsible pangasius production, WWF has also been working with pangasius exporting companies and has helped the industry achieve its first target of having 10 per cent of its total production ASC certified in 2012. An additional 15 per cent is expected by the end of 2013. These two sustainably certified seafood products are on Bobby Chin's menu. "This is a new model of cooperation and we hope that it will multiply and be applied to other industries in Vietnam. The success of this model will help Vietnamese industries, especially fisheries and aquaculture, to achieve its target toward sustainable development," said Ms. Tran Thu Nga, Chairwoman of Ben Tre Fishery Association. "More people need to understand the direct link between the seafood on their plate and the state of our ocean's resources," explained Bobby. "I hope that through collaborative efforts like these, we can make a bigger impact on the way people choose seafood."
Oct 10, 2013 First ever responsible standards give hope to beleaguered farmed seafood in the Coral Triangle
Penang, Malaysia – Fish farmers and fish feed producers from the Coral Triangle region today released a draft of the inaugural fish farming Standards for grouper, snapper, and sea bass also known as barramundi—popular farmed seafood species in dire need of better management.  The draft Standards is the product of a two-day Aquaculture Dialogue, which marked the first of what is deemed to be a series of regional dialogues designed to enable a range of stakeholders to actively participate in the development of best-practice Standards for these farmed species. The goal is to have the Standards in place and utilized by 2015. "The need for more responsible farming of grouper, snapper, and barramundi has been identified in recent years by government and non-government agencies and more recently, by a more vocal industry, in response to both environmental and market access issues," said Carol Phua, WWF-Malaysia's Marine Programme Head. While best aquaculture practices for grouper have been previously developed by other regional bodies and have been used to work with farmers to notionally improve farm operations, measurable standards for this suite of species have not previously been discussed and drafted. "The emphasis of previous programs has been on the management of small-scale farmers and on livelihoods, but the rapid growth in commercial-scale farming and the impacts of these farmed fish species in particular, on the marine environment has necessitated us to look more deeply at measures that can help us address this industry's poor sustainability record," added Phua. High demand, high footprint species Grouper is one of highest-valued species of economic importance in the world. In the past decade, the global production and output of grouper aquaculture has developed rapidly, especially in China and Southeast Asian countries. At face value, figures suggest an increase in overall production between 2000 and 2010 of more than 700 percent. "Grouper, snapper, and barramundi farming have significant environmental impacts, and yet no collective efforts have been made to reduce such impacts," said Dr. Geoffrey Muldoon, WWF Coral Triangle Strategy Leader. Adverse modifications to natural habitats, harmful impacts of pollution and waste discharge, drug and chemical use leading to poor water quality and fish health, removal of juvenile fish from the wild before being able to replenish fish populations, and heavy dependence on fish feed are just some of the numerous problems plaguing the farming of these species. "Such unsustainable practices are not only threatening the biodiversity of the Coral Triangle but also the livelihoods dependent on these resources. Implementing measurable and performance-based Standards for responsibly-farmed seafood is of critical importance, not only for Malaysians but for the wellbeing of all in the Coral Triangle," said Phua. "The countries of this region see the export of grouper, snapper, and barramundi as continuing to contribute significantly to their respective economies, however the markets into which these products are being sold are increasingly demanding better performance. We see these Standards helping the sector to expand in a responsible way that minimizes environmental and social impacts," said Dr. Muldoon. The participants of the dialogue collectively agreed for the standards to address the following issues: natural habitat and local biodiversity conservation; socially-responsible farm operations; sustainability and traceability of feed ingredients; and fish health maintenance, among others. The long-term goal is to evolve these Standards to the extent that they will be recognized by global certification bodies such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)—the most credible certification and eco-labelling organization for farmed seafood, and international Standards setting bodies such as ISEAL. The dialogue was officiated by Dr. Afif Bahardin, Penang Agriculture, Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Health Committee Chairman. ENDS ----------------- Notes to the Editor: The Coral Triangle—the nursery of the seas—is the world's center of marine life, encompassing around 6 million sq km of ocean across six countries in Asia-Pacific – Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. The initial draft of the Standards for grouper, snapper, and barramundi is the first of many steps, which will involve conducting public consultations, applying revisions, enlisting the participation of more industry players and consumer markets, and eventually establishing an advisory group to oversee the implementation and monitoring of the Standards. For further information: Paolo Mangahas, Communications Manager, WWF Coral Triangle Global Initiative, Email: Nadiah Rosli, Communications Officer, WWF-Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia Seas Programme, Email:
Oct 04, 2013 Cod, coral and seabirds protected from the threat of oil
Norway, October 2013: The new government of Norway has committed to protecting valuable areas of the ocean from being impacted by petroleum activities, putting the value of nature in front of the need for oil. "This is not just a victory for all of us who have spent countless hours and years fighting for it. It is first and foremost a great victory for nature, including cod, seabirds, the world's largest coldwater coral reef, and for renewable jobs and the transition to a 100% renewable society," said Nina Jensen, CEO of WWF-Norway.  During 2013 WWF-Norway ran a campaign to keep the coasts of Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja free from oil and gas exploration. Oil and gas activity in this area would threaten the world's largest cod stock, the world's largest cold water coral reef and mainland Europe's biggest seabird colony. Uncertainty grew during the Norwegian election campaign on whether a new government would open up areas of Lofoten, temporary protected since 2001, for oil drilling as a reaction to pressure from the industry. But minority parties fought hard to ensure a permanent ban was in place to prevent any oil drilling and ensure these areas remain oil-free. "This decision has bigger implications than just nature conservation. As Norway is one of the world's largest oil and gas developers, with an economy largely dependent on the oil sector, suggesting it should keep some oil in the ground has been considered radical by some. " said Ms Jensen. In the past year the debate on carbon risk highlighted the need for an urgent shift from traditional energy sources like oil to renewable sources. With this decision the new government has opened up a space for public debate and they have opened political space for WWF and a united NGO community to keep influencing and achieving big wins!
Sep 16, 2013 Hong Kong government issues shark fin and bluefin tuna ban
Hong Kong, September 2013: WWF-Hong Kong congratulates the HKSAR government for issuing a shark fin and bluefin tuna ban for their official dining. This is a bold and encouraging step taken by the government on the conservation of sharks and bluefin tuna. WWF hopes that more people would support this action by not consuming or serving shark fin and bluefin tuna, and support choosing sustainable seafood. It is hoped that the government can continue to show its support by improving trade transparency and extending relevant international conventions into Hong Kong. Shark fin ban The number of shark species being listed either on The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has been increasing in recent years. According to IUCN, out of 468 shark species, 74 are listed either as threatened species. Annually, up to 73 million sharks are killed to satisfy the enormous demand. Hong Kong is named as "shark fin capital" as it handles about half of the global trade in shark fin every year. Bluefin tuna ban Bluefin tuna are particularly vulnerable to overfishing. The fisheries management is neither comprehensive nor effective, leaving all 3 species of bluefin tuna facing the threat of overfishing. Over the last four decades, the Atlantic bluefin tuna has declined by at least 51% and is now listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List. Its conservation status is similar to that of pandas and tigers. Meanwhile the Southern bluefin tuna adult fish has experienced an 85% decline, resulting in its critically endangered status. Forging ahead The government's internal ban of shark fin and bluefin tuna sends a strong conservation message to the broader society in Hong Kong. WWF applauds such initiatives and at the same time hopes that the action of the government would not stop here. Mr Gavin Edwards, Conservation Director of WWF-Hong Kong said, "Currently in the market we have no way to know what species of sharks are involved in the shark fin trade and we may unknowingly consume a lot of endangered species. The government`s commitment to ban shark fin from their dining tables is an excellent opportunity to improve transparency of the trade and monitoring of shark and bluefin tuna." WWF-Hong Kong promoties and educates the public on shark and bluefin tuna conservation. They have been encouraging caterers and corporations not to serve and consume shark fin respectively. Currently 154 corporates pledged not to consume shark fin and 115 catering businesses pledged to providing shark-free menus. In order to conserve bluefin tuna, WWF launched the "Bluefin Saver" campaign in 2009, calling on all consumers and suppliers to avoid consuming and serving the species. Currently 26 restaurants pledged not to serve bluefin tuna.
Jul 30, 2013 New study gets its teeth into shark trade regulations
A new TRAFFIC study examines how tighter trade controls can ensure that seven species of sharks and manta rays are only sourced sustainably and legally before entering international trade. The study, Into the deep: Implementing CITES measures for commercially-valuable sharks and manta rays, was commissioned by the European Commission and written in the wake of these marine animals being listed in by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in March this year. The oceanic whitetip shark, porbeagle shark, three species of hammerhead shark and two manta rays, all of them subject to continued overfishing, were included in Appendix II which will regulate trade. "There was great elation when these sharks and manta rays were listed by CITES, but although it was a significant moment for the conservation world, now comes the task of making these listings work in practice as time is running out for some of these species," said Glenn Sant, TRAFFIC's Marine Programme Leader. "CITES listings do not take away the need for comprehensive fisheries management, they represent one critical part of that management through aiming to control trade and prevent international trade in products of these species being sourced from unsustainable or illegal fisheries." The new study aimed to identify which of the 178 countries signed up to CITES will be affected by the listings; the relevant existing international, regional and domestic regulations; the main challenges facing implementation of the measures; and any additional capacity building needs to ensure those countries catching and trading in these species can validate their sustainability and legality before issuing permits. The study revealed a lack of basic information on the levels of catch and population status of the newly listed species, with an urgent need to improve the identification of species in trade, reporting of their trade and for further research, assessment and monitoring to determine the impacts of trade on populations. It highlighted the need to ensure domestic regulatory frameworks and administrative structures are adequate to support the implementation of CITES trade controls. The study also examined the very different dynamics influencing the trade in the species concerned. Manta rays are chiefly traded for gill rakers, used in traditional Asian medicines. Of the sharks porbeagle is mainly caught for meat, hammerheads for local consumption of meat and international trade of fins and the larger oceanic whitetip is highly valued for fins, destined for markets in Asia, particularly Hong Kong. Some of the species examined are specifically targeted by fishing operations, while others are a secondary, but valuable, catch when targeting other species such as tuna. Given the different markets involved in the trade and uses involved, this creates highly complex trade chains which the new study attempts to unravel. About TRAFFIC TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a strategic alliance of IUCN and WWF.
Jul 17, 2013 Negotiations result in missed opportunity for the Antarctic
Bremerhaven: WWF has expressed deep disappointment that, after years of work negotiations on the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) around Antarctica failed to achieve any outcome as a result of opposition from Russia. The Antarctic Ocean Alliance, of which WWF is a member, today called the Russian delegation's blocking of proposals for large ocean sanctuaries in Antarctic waters, "an extraordinary missed opportunity for the global marine environment." The special meeting of the 25 members of the Commission for the Conservation on Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was specifically tasked to consider two proposals to protect areas of the Ross Sea and East Antarctica. 'It is indeed regrettable and worrying that CCMALR has not seized the opportunity to put in place large-scale ocean protection," said John Tanzer, WWF International Marine Director. "This was a clear opportunity for action which has been missed. The oceans are under increasing pressure and urgent action to protect critical and vulnerable areas like the Antarctic is required. There is no good reason to postpone these actions and a great deal is at stake here," he added. The two proposals that CCAMLR failed to pass were a joint US-New Zealand proposal to designate a Ross Sea MPA of 2.3 million Km2, including a fully protected area of 1.6 million Km2; and a proposal from Australia, France and the European Union that would designate a cluster of seven marine protected areas in East Antarctica, covering about 1.63 million Km2. "WWF is incredibly disappointed that CCAMLR missed this opportunity to protect the home of more than 10,000 species including seabirds, whales, seals and most of the world's penguins," said Bob Zuur, Manager, WWF Antarctic and Southern Ocean Initiative. "Antarctica's ocean is one of the most vulnerable on Earth. We urge CCAMLR to create these critical protected areas at the next meeting in October." The Southern Ocean is critical for scientific research, both for studying how intact marine ecosystems function and for determining the impacts of global climate change. "WWF has contributed significantly to the science that supports these proposals. We are looking forward to further engagement in the next meetings in Hobart, " said Zuur. "We hope that the Russian delegation will work in the spirit of international cooperation to realise this historic opportunity to comprehensively protect some of the world's most pristine environments," he added.


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