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30/07/2013 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.
17/07/2013 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.
16/07/2013 WWF statement on ICJ whaling case
Today public hearings closed at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case between Australia and Japan over whaling by Japan in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. In May 2010, the Australian government initiated legal proceedings in the ICJ against the government of Japan alleging that so-called 'scientific' whaling by Japan is in breach of the country's international treaty obligations. Whaling for commercial purposes has been banned internationally since 1986 and the Southern Ocean was declared a whale sanctuary in 1994 affording it an additional layer of protection. The Australian government has requested the ICJ to order the government of Japan to cease its 'scientific' whaling programme in the Southern Ocean, and to provide assurances and guarantees that it will not take part in any further 'scientific' whaling in this zone. New Zealand has intervened in support of Australia's case. After extensive commercial whaling in the twentieth century brought most great whale species in the Southern Ocean close to extinction, the governments party to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) established the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, recognizing the critical importance of protecting whales in this special place. Japan exploits a clause in the IWC treaty that allows for the killing of whales for "scientific purposes." "Since the whaling treaty was signed there have been great scientific advances that allow data about whales to be obtained through non-lethal means. The International Court of Justice has heard abundant evidence on why hunting hundreds of whales in the Southern Ocean is not necessary for science," said Wendy Elliott, species programme manager at WWF. "In this day and age there is no reason to kill whales for scientific research and WWF strongly hopes for a positive ruling by the court that will end whaling in the Southern Ocean."
12/07/2013 A landmark opportunity for the Antarctic`s Southern Ocean?
Bremerhaven, Germany: The Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) and its partners say the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has a landmark opportunity to protect the Antarctic`s Southern Ocean this week. CCAMLR members will decide the fate of two key proposals for Antarctic marine protection, either of which would create the world's largest marine protected rea (MPA) if designated. "Marine protected areas promote scientific research in Antarctica and ensure the regions ocean resources are well managed for future generations," said Bob Zuur, WWF's Antarctic and Southern Ocean Initiative.  "Antarctica's ocean is the least protected on Earth.  We ask CCAMLR to act on the best available scientific evidence and create these critical protected areas." The special CCAMLR meeting has been called because the Commission couldn't come to a consensus on the two proposals at its meeting in October 2012. The United States and New Zealand propose that CCAMLR designate a Ross Sea MPA of 2.3 million Km 2 . The Ross Sea is often referred to as the last ocean because it is one of the only large ocean habitats that is still relatively intact and home to a dazzling array of marine wildlife. A second proposal from Australia, France and the European Union would designate seven marine protected areas in East Antarctica covering about 1.63 million Km 2 . 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 AOA partners are attending the CCAMLR meeting in Bremerhaven working to ensure CCAMLR delegates step up to the challenge and designate the Ross Sea and East Antarctic proposals. "The world is watching the outcome of this CCAMLR meeting," said Steve Campbell, Campaign Director of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, a group of more than 30 environmental organizations. "The Southern Ocean is a global commons like no other and protecting these vital marine habitats would benefit all of us, now and in the future."
02/07/2013 World's top dolphin scientists urge NZ government to act now or Maui's will be extinct in 20 years
Auckland: Some of the world's leading whale, dolphin and porpoise scientists have expressed their 'extreme concern' about the survival of New Zealand's Maui's dolphin , urging the government to take immediate action to ensure 'full protection of Maui's in all areas throughout their habitat'. The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) acknowledged in its 2013 report , released this weekend, that Maui's will decline to just 10 adult breeding females in six years and become functionally extinct in less than 20 years—unless their full range is protected from gillnetting and trawling. This followed a similar call from the IWC in 2012. Global conservation organization WWF presented a paper to the IWC Scientific Committee 65th meeting in Jeju, Korea in June that highlighted the lack of progress from New Zealand to save the last estimated 55 Maui's dolphins. WWF-New Zealand's Executive Director, Chris Howe, said: "One year after the IWC urged immediate action to protect our critically endangered dolphins, it is unacceptable that Maui's are still at risk of dying needlessly while we wait for adequate protection. "The government needs to step up now to do everything in its power to save Maui's dolphins. We call on Conservation Minister Nick Smith and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy to announce permanent measures that remove fishing gear which kills dolphins from their waters, and help affected fishermen adopt dolphin-friendly methods. Anything less will not give the species a fighting chance at survival." The government announced interim protection measures in June 2012, but dangerous fishing activity is still allowed to continue in parts of Maui's habitat, including off the Taranaki coast and inside harbours. Eight months ago a public consultation on the Threat Management Plan for Maui's dolphin closed, yet the government has yet to make a decision on protecting them. Scientists' estimate that over 95% of unnatural Maui's deaths are caused by entanglement and drowning in gillnet or trawl fishing. An expert panel convened by the government in 2012 estimated that around 5 Maui's are killed each year in fishing nets, a rate 75.5 times what the population can withstand. Howe said: "The world is watching and waiting for New Zealand to take action to save these small and critically endangered dolphins. Both the survival of Maui's and our international reputation is on the line."
18/06/2013 Industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef denounced by World Heritage Committee
The Australian Marine Conservation Society and WWF-Australia said today that Australia's governments are putting the Great Barrier Reef at risk by failing to implement the World Heritage Committee recommendations around rapid industrialisation. WWF- Australia's Richard Leck, who has been attending the World Heritage Meeting as an observer, said Australia had been put 'on notice' by the World Heritage Committee. "Australian governments now have a firm deadline of June 2014 for action to avoid the global icon being placed on an international list of shame. This will be a crucial 12 months for ensuring the future of our reef and the AU$6 billion tourism industry that relies on it," Mr Leck said. "The decision reinforces the strong concerns that scientists, fishers, local communities and people around the world have for the reef, "The World Heritage Committee was explicit that the most precious pristine areas of the reef including Keppel Bay, north Curtis Island and the northern section of the reef need to be protected," said Mr Leck. Felicity Wishart Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director said that the government had made some progress on water quality and farm runoff but that these gains could be overshadowed by millions of tonnes of dredging and dumping for planned mega-port development along the coast. "Both major political parties had the opportunity to support the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee through changes to Australian environmental laws put before the Australian Senate on Monday night. Both political parties refused. "We need both major political parties to recognise just how serious the threat to the reef is. Australian scientists are concerned, the World Heritage Committee is concerned, and yesterday millions of people tweeted their concerns. "Yet the Queensland Government continues to fast track large scale port developments on the Great Barrier Reef and the Australian Government is failing to stop them. "Australian state and federal governments must heed the World Heritage Committee recommendation and put the brakes on the rapid industrialisation of the coastline. There should be no more port development or dredging and dumping until a plan to properly protect the reef is in place. "Right now there is a proposal to dredge millions of tonnes of seafloor less than 50kms from the Whitsunday Islands on Environment Minister Burke's desk. What will Tony Burke now do? Australians and the world deserve to know. "We will continue this campaign to protect the reef from unacceptable industrialisation" concluded Ms Wishart. BREAKING NEWS: Decision through - Australia's rapid industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef denounced by World Heritage Committee. — Fight for the Reef (@fightforthereef) June 18, 2013
18/06/2013 Europe's last wild sturgeons threatened by ongoing illegal fishing and caviar trade—WWF and TRAFFIC
Bucharest, Romania – Ongoing illegal fishing and trade in caviar in Romania and Bulgaria is threatening the survival of sturgeons in the Danube river basin, finds a new report by WWF and TRAFFIC. The report's findings are based on interviews with caviar retailers and DNA analyses of samples obtained from selected shops, restaurants, markets, street vendors and sturgeon farms in Romania and Bulgaria. Significant information was also obtained in discussions with fishermen. In both countries, a fishing ban currently is in place until 2015. However, Bulgarian fishermen told researchers they used modern equipment such as sonar and GPS, as well as the forbidden traditional hook lines – "carmaci" – to catch wild sturgeons. "Romania and Bulgaria are home to the only viable wild sturgeon populations left in the European Union, and unless this sophisticated illegal fishing is stopped, these fish are doomed," said WWF's Jutta Jahrl, author of the new report. In total, 30 caviar samples were obtained and analysed during the latest study to determine the species of origin (14 in Romania, 14 in Bulgaria and two of Bulgarian farmed caviar in Austria). Of five samples said by vendors to be from wild-caught sturgeons, four were shown to be from the highly sought-after beluga sturgeon (Huso huso). Five of the six sturgeon species native to the Danube river basin, including the beluga, are critically endangered. Illegal fishing – principally for their caviar – is the main direct threat to their survival. "The survey demonstrates that caviar allegedly from wild sturgeons is still being offered for sale in Bulgaria and Romania, despite the current ban," said Jahrl. Although trade in farmed caviar is permitted if containers are specially labeled, eight of the caviar samples bought in fish shops or from street vendors did not have the mandatory labels and codes required under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) to indicate their legal origin. Of three samples that did possess CITES labels, DNA analysis indicated they were from species or hybrids other than those declared on the label. Furthermore, five samples were mixtures containing more than one species of sturgeon, which is not permitted under the strict CITES rules (except for so called "pressed caviar"), while a further six samples were shown not to be sturgeon caviar, despite being explicitly sold as such. "These cases demonstrate that Bulgaria and Romania need to improve significantly their implementation of European Union Wildlife Trade Regulations and CITES labelling provisions," said TRAFFIC's Katalin Kecse-Nagy. "Consumers should only buy caviar that has authentic CITES labeling, or risk being ripped-off or worse." In 2011, a TRAFFIC study compiled for WWF revealed illegal caviar from Bulgaria and Romania was regularly being seized elsewhere in the EU. "Two years ago, attention was drawn to the need for Bulgaria and Romania to implement stronger controls over the caviar trade, but progress seems to be lacking," said Kecse-Nagy. Researchers also found that vendors in both countries, especially those offering supposedly illegal caviar, only sell to people they trust. The result is a covert chain of custody from poachers to customers involving middlemen and indicating a criminal network. "The illegal caviar trade is not just a wildlife protection issue. It also involves contraband and organized crime, loss of tax revenue for the countries concerned, and there are health and veterinary issues, too," said Kecse-Nagy. "Effective enforcement is a vital prerequisite for a successful fight against poaching and illegal wildlife trade. Tight inland and border controls are crucial, especially at the external frontiers of the EU, such as Moldova, Ukraine and Turkey, together with good national and cross border cooperation." The report also recommends the use of modern technology, such as DNA analysis, to help monitor the caviar trade and for strict control measures to regulate online caviar sales and sturgeon aquaculture operations. The report, Illegal caviar trade in Bulgaria and Romania, was funded by The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and WWF.
07/06/2013 South China Sea, Mediterranean and North Sea are shipping accidents hotspots
Gland, Switzerland: Some of the world`s most iconic oceans are also the most at risk according to a new study on shipping accidents released by WWF for World Oceans Day. The South China Sea and East Indies, east Mediterranean and Black Sea, North Sea and British Isles were found to be dangerous hotspots for accidents involving ships. "Since 1999 there have been 293 shipping accidents in the South China Sea and east Indies, home of the Coral Triangle and 76 per cent of the world's coral species." said Dr Simon Walmsley, Marine Manger, WWF International. "As recently as April this year we`ve seen a Chinese fishing boat run aground on a protected coral reef in the Philippines that had already been damaged by a US Navy ship in January." Fishing vessels accounted for nearly a quarter of the vessels lost at sea but general cargo ships account for over 40 per cent. Cargo ships often operate short shipping routes, associated with the tramp trading where ships don't have a set route and pick up opportunistic trade, particularly in Southeast Asia. The risk to the environment is directly linked to the type and amount of hazardous substances, including oil, being transported and the sensitivity of the marine area where any accident could occur. In 2002, the Prestige oil tanker sunk resulting in over 70,000 tonnes of oil being released into the Atlantic Ocean off the Spanish coast. "The Prestige oil spill caused not only environmental impacts but economic losses estimated at €8 billion. Even small scale accidents in very sensitive environments, like the Great Barrier Reef, can have profound environmental consequences." said Dr Walmsley. Climate change models show increased storm surges, changing wind and wave patterns and extreme weather events which are likely to exacerbate the risks of foundering leading to potential catastrophic environmental destruction. Fifty per cent of all accidents are caused by foundering, where a boat sinks due to rough weather, leaks or breaking in two. As the global fleet continues to expand rapidly and begins to operate routinely in more risky areas the probability of accidents and likely severity of impacts will again increase unless precautionary measures are put in place to address identifiable risk factors. "We really want to see the shipping industry promote greater owner and operator responsibility and encourage owners to register with better flag states, the country which a vessel is registered to." "Additionally, irresponsible and badly performing owners and countries need to be exposed in order to motivate them to significantly increase their standards which will decrease the number of accidents we see still occurring today" said Dr Walmsley.
30/05/2013 Late night deal on fisheries lacks decisive action on fish stocks
Brussels, Belgium: Early this morning negotiations between the Irish Presidency and the European Parliament concluded with an agreement on the basic regulation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). WWF is concerned that some key issues are being ignored such as decisive actions badly needed to replenish seriously depleted fish stocks.   Despite efforts to reach a deal on this issue by member of the European Parliament, Ulrike Rodust, and her parliamentary negotiating team, the Irish Presidency, representing a divided Fisheries Council led by countries with large fishing industries, preferred to defend a business as usual approach that might delay fish stock recoveries. "WWF acknowledges the constructive role played by the European Parliament in its attempt to bring about a deal that would reinvigorate a failed fisheries policy. While almost two-thirds of the assessed fish stocks in the EU are overexploited and many fishermen face bankruptcy, the majority of EU's governments have decided to stonewall negotiations and have refused to accept an agreement that would allow a full recovery and increased income for fishermen within the next 10 years." Tony Long, Director of the European Policy Office. The new EU-CFP reform cannot continue the 40 year pattern of negotiations and self-congratulation by politicians, while fish stocks continue to decline. "Even if the new CFP does not address the deep problem of overcapacity, WWF hopes that we do not return to the old wasteful way of managing EU's fish stocks. We will continue to ensure that fishermen, and stakeholders, with the support of the scientific community, will have a decisive say over how the industry is run." The European Parliament and Mrs Rodust's negotiating team and the Irish Presidency should be commended for their endeavour to provide a real transition to a sustainable CFP despite the Fisheries Council inability to support ambitious goals. The agreement includes some positive elements but fails to end overfishing in the coming generations. The new deal needs to become a legal framework that helps reverse the current frenzied grab for threatened fish, the overcapacity of fishing fleets and a regime whereby the industry is forced into noncompliance.   "We call on all concerned stakeholders to quickly start working within the new legislative framework for multi annual plans to be drawn up and implemented urgently. The plans need to become the backbone of the new CFP. They must be framed to deliver on the most urgent needs for fish stocks and the marine environment recovery. We also hope that the new CFP provides the basis for forging a truly sustainable foreign dimension for the EU's fleets. While negotiating partnership agreement with Third Countries, the EU shall act in line with international commitments, obligations and policy objectives to achieve sustainable fishing operations outside EU's waters".
27/05/2013 Russian seas finally protected by robust law against oil pollution
Russian has passed a long-awaited law to protect the country's seas from oil pollution after 120,000 Russians signed a petition as an Earth Hour 2012 conservation challenge. WWF-Russia has been working with the Russian authorities on a law since the catastrophic oil spill in the Kerchensky Strait of Southern Russia in 2007. In 2011 the State Duma approved a first hearing of a draft law that did not adequately protect the marine environment against oil spills. In response, WWF-Russia used the Earth Hour I Will If You Will challenge platform to motivate citizens to campaign for a more complete version of the law. Celebrities filmed video pledges about what they would be willing to do if 100,000 people signed the petition. Most completed their promises within three weeks from when the goal was reached. WWF-Russia, the Ministry of Natural Resources and a specialized State Duma committee worked together to redraft the initial draft law into a robust protection against oil pollution. The new law defines rules for extracting and transporting hydrocarbons and requires operating companies to take increased responsibility for preventing oil spills. If a spill does occur, the company holding the licence must now make full restitution to the environment, even if one of their contractors was at fault. The law also includes measures to coordinate response to a spill and will enable volunteers to help with the clean up. WWF-Russia used the Earth Hour 2013 I Will If You Will challenge platform to promote a petition to ban industrial logging in Russia's protective forests and will continue to campaign for further measures to protect the seas against oil pollution. WWF's Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 as a citizen initiative to protest against climate change, and call for urgent action. People were encouraged to switch off their lights as a symbolic action to demonstrate their commitment to a sustainable future. Since then, Earth Hour has grown at a huge pace to become the world's largest mass participation environmental movement, active in over 150 countries, and has gone "beyond the hour" to become a platform where people can mobilise action on climate and other environmental priorities. Posted: January 4 2013  Updated: May 27 2013
27/05/2013 EU fisheries ministers use bullying tactics to allow overfishing
Brussels, Belgium: Despite negotiating through the night to save fisheries in Europe it is becoming clear that certain European Union (EU) countries with large fishing industries, supported by the Irish Presidency, are using bullying tactics with members of the European Parliament (MEP) to push them into accepting a deal that will result in overfishing until 2020, and does little to support coastal communities. "MEPs like Ulrike Rodust have admirably defended their parliamentary mandate in negotiations over recent weeks, and have strongly resisted pressure from Fisheries and Agriculture Council to throw in the towel and reach a quick but weak compromise. The council's attitude of non-negotiation goes completely against the spirit of co-decision with parliament and is completely unacceptable." Roberto Ferrigno, WWF's Common Fisheries Policy reform coordinator "WWF calls on parliament and council to agree on a policy that effectively stops overfishing and allows fish stocks to recover in order to support fishermen in the long term." Threats by some fisheries ministers to walk out of negotiations and abandon the whole Common Fisheries Policy reform are a slap in the face of the widespread public support for an ambitious deal which spurred an overwhelming majority of over 500 MEPs in favour of strong reform earlier this year. WWF calls on the fisheries ministers and the European Parliament to agree on the fastest full recovery targets for fishery stocks. They have it within their powers to ensure that discards, fishing subsidies and stock management are addressed immediately and effectively so that we can reverse, within ten years, the situation where almost two out of three assessed stocks are at crisis level.  "This is not just the view of WWF, it is also held by progressive fishermen, scientists, industry and the public who all want real and sustainable reform. This deal will guide EU fisheries policy for the next 10 years and in the current situation of depleted fish stocks, we may not have another chance to get it right." Andrea Kohl, Programme Director with the WWF European Policy Office. "We need a strong reform allowing fish stocks to recover. WWF is looking very carefully at the non-transparent negotiations which appear to contradict the principle of co-decision and permit blackmail threats to the MEPs by certain countries."     Common Fisheries Policy reform Nearly two out of three assessed fish stocks in Europe are overfished. WWF believes that the current reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy must aim to ensure that by 2020 no more stocks are overfished through meaningful reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. Building on a draft European Commission plan, the European Parliament adopted a legislative proposal in February with an overwhelming majority that would end overfishing in Europe. According to recent research, the current position of the European fisheries ministers, would allow overfishing to continue for more than 100 years. Ministers and Mrs Rodust, should respect their democratic mandate and look for real compromise in negotiations this week. How it works In the trilogue negotiations, the Council of Ministers of the 27 EU fisheries ministers is represented by Simon Coveney, Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Affairs, who holds the Presidency of the Council and speaks for all of the EU's fisheries ministers. The European Parliament is represented in the negotiations by Ulrike Rodust, rapporteur of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and a member of the European Parliament. The Council of Ministers is not willing to negotiate with the parliament on an equal basis, as provided by the Lisbon Treaty, and is trying to force the parliament to drop its ambitions to achieve a swift recovery of fish stocks, and accept a reform that will continue the status quo. Otherwise, they threaten to stop the entire reform process.
23/05/2013 A second chance for a trapped whale shark
20 May, 2013: Fishermen in the Sonmiani Bay have successfully released a juvenile whale shark trapped in their fishing nets. A tuna gillnet operating along the Balochistan coast caught the 3.5 metre whale shark accidentally. The captain of the vessel, Muhammad Ismail, a fisherman trained by WWF-Pakistan to release endangered animals trapped in nets, took great care to ensure the whale shark was freed. It took more than an hour to get this struggling animal free without harming it. In the past local fishermen killed whale sharks for their liver oil which was smeared on the hull of fishing boats. Whale sharks are occasionally reported from the area but the status of their population is not known in Pakistan. They can be seen along coastal offshore waters of the country which is their feeding, breeding and basking ground. Mr. Rab Nawaz, Director WWF-Pakistan stressed the need for protection of this species in Pakistan because of their dwindling population. There is no known natural predator of this large fish but they often die by entanglement in fishing gear. In order to protect the whale shark, WWF-Pakistan is lobbying for provincial wildlife departments of Sindh and Balochistan to include whale sharks in Appendix-I  of the respective wildlife acts so that these gentle giants may be given the status of a protected animal. In recent years WWF-Pakistan has involved all major stakeholders in creating awareness among fishermen to not kill or harm these and other endangered species. It is due to these efforts that rescue and release activities are being reported more frequently.
15/05/2013 Fisheries deal fails to bridge gap with ambitious European Parliament
Brussels, Belgium: After pulling yet another all-nighter, fisheries ministers unfortunately remained predictable with little effort being made to meet the European Parliament half way on their ambitious proposal to save fisheries in Europe. "The devil is in the detail as they say, but in this case it's the lack of detail, as fisheries ministers decided on a legally neutral text with few binding timelines and concrete measures.
13/05/2013 Good news for sharks at Indian Ocean Tuna Commission meeting
Gland, Switzerland: WWF welcomes the adoption of key conservation measures for oceanic white-tip sharks, whale sharks and cetaceans following the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) annual meeting last week in Mauritius. IOTC member states agreed on important measures for the management of tuna fisheries and other vulnerable species such as white-tip sharks, which are not to be retained and need to be released unharmed if possible, while purse seiners can no longer ...
13/05/2013 Ending overfishing may take more than 100 years says WWF analysis of EU proposals for fish stock recovery
Brussels, Belgium: New scientific analysis from environmental organisation WWF reveals recovery of European fish stocks will take more than 100 years under current proposals by EU Fisheries Ministers. "No law can end overfishing in one fell swoop but Ministers appear to be actively sidelining stock recovery", says Roberto Ferrigno, WWF's Common Fisheries Policy project coordinator.
02/05/2013 Tuna on the move on World Tuna Day!
Mindoro Occidental, Philippines: The movements of four mighty swimmers named Amihan, Badjao, Hagibis, and Buhawi, can now be followed as they go about their business in the Coral Triangle. These four adult yellowfin tuna have satellite tags attached that are providing some interesting information about their movements through the ocean.
29/04/2013 First evidence of a leatherback turtle along Pakistan's coastline
Pakistan: A leatherback turtle, one of the rarest living reptiles, was recently caught and safely released back into the sea by a group of fishermen near Surbandar village, Gwadar, Balochistan province in Pakistan. WWF-Pakistan staff helped in the rescue and release of this turtle. This rescue, along with the recent location of a large population of olive Ridley turtles from offshore waters previously thought to be extinct from the area, is a ...
26/04/2013 Governments take a stand against fisheries crime
Vienna, Austria: Governments meeting at the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice this week in Vienna agreed to a proposal from Norway, to address crimes at sea that impact upon the environment, including fisheries crimes. Illegal fishing undermines efforts by governments and responsible fishers to sustainably manage fisheries.
09/04/2013 South Africa makes marine conservation history by declaring Prince Edward Islands a marine protected area
Cape Town, South Africa: WWF-South Africa (WWF-SA) is elated over Minister Edna Molewa's recent formal announcement of the declaration of the Prince Edward Islands as a marine protected area (MPA) – Africa`s first offshore MPA. Dr Morné du Plessis, WWF-SA's Chief Executive says, "This is a historic day for marine conservation in South Africa.
27/03/2013 A chill on environmental protection as Arctic shipping heats up
After a year's delay, the United Nations body tasked with developing polar shipping regulations has recommended provisions to address the environmental impacts of Arctic shipping – but they don't go far enough, says conservation organization WWF. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) met last week to shape the Polar Code, a legally binding set of rules for shipping in polar regions.


Regional Coordinating Unit
Dakar, Senegal
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)
E-mail: cclme@fao.org

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