Fishing

Gathered on a remote stretch of beach at  Rekvik, Troms Fylke, Norway: 211 bottles and cans. Photo: Bo Eide via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

UN Ocean Conference: can the law protect our ocean ecosystems?

Elizabeth A Kirk
Nottingham Law School
| 1st June 2017
With the UN Ocean Conference beginning in New York next week, Elizabeth A Kirk asks: can we devise a legal system that promotes the ecological resilience of the oceans? To do so will mean placing ecosystems at the heart of decision making, over and above countries' selfish 'national interests'. It will be tough, but if we fail it's hard to see how the gamut of problems - from ocean acidification to plastic pollution and overfishing - can ever be solved.

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Liberian Coast Guard prepares to board the Star Shrimper XXV. Photo: Alejandra Gimeno / Sea Shepherd Global.

Sea Shepherd helps arrest 'sustainable' shrimp trawler for illegal fishing in Liberian waters

Peter Hammarstedt
Sea Shepherd
| 26th May 2017
A 'Friend of the Sea' Dutch-owned trawler certified to supply 'sustainably caught' shrimp to the US and EU was arrested in Liberia after operating in an an area reserved for artisanal fishers, writes Peter Hammarstedt. The vessel, which had no licence and lacked the turtle excluders required by law, was discovered by the crew of Sea Shepherd's 'Bob Barker' in a joint mission with the Liberian Coast Guard to clamp down on rampant illegal fishing.

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The Ethical Foodie: I'm in huff - big time

Tim Maddams
| 7th April 2017
Ethical foodie columnist TIM MADDAMS points the finger at fishing practices which may tick the sustainable criteria boxes but which perpetuate an environmentally damaging broken food production system when you take into account the bigger picture

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Ecologist Special Report: World' rarest dolphin heading towards extinction

Christopher Pala
| 16th March 2017
New Zealand's Maui dolphin, the world's smallest, is headed to extinction after a half-century of lethal encounters with fishermen's nets. Even as government-funded scientists detail its decline and opposition Labour and Greens call for net bans - which opinion polls show most Kiwis support - the ruling National Party, headed by a fishing magnate, denies there is any problem. CHRISTOPHER PALA reports ...

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Ecologist Special Report: New Zealand's Fisheries' Fraud

Christopher Pala
| 15th March 2017
New Zealand's "Clean and Green" image has been tarnished by revelations that senior officials covered up massive waste and fraud in its fisheries even as they claimed that the country neo-liberal management scheme was a world leader. Amazingly, some still do.
CHRISTOPHER PALA reports

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Vaquita caught in a gillnet. Photo: Cristian Faezi & Omar Vidal via IUCN.

Vaquita going extinct as Mexico, China, dither

Aron White
EIA
| 6th February 2017
The world's smallest porpoise is fast heading to extinction, writes Aron White thanks to Mexico's failure to ban the use of gillnets in its range, and China's illegal imports of totoaba fish swim bladders, used in Chinese medicine. Without urgent and effective action the vaquita will soon disappear for good.

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A fisherman walks among the boats in the harbor in the fishing village of Essaouira on Morocco's Atlantic Ocean coast. Photo: Mark Fischer via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Ocean grabs: fighting the 'rights-based' corporate take-over of fisheries governance

Astrid Alexandersen
Sif Juhl
Jonathan Munk Nielsen
| 21st November 2016
This World Fisheries Day, a new report shows how the 'rights-based approach' to fisheries governance is in fact a mechanism for depriving indigenous and subsistence fisherfolk of their traditional waters, write Astrid Alexandersen, Sif Juhl & Jonathan Munk Nielsen, and transferring them to corporations and economic elites. It must be replaced with a 'human rights approach'.

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A fisher going to set his fishing gear at rapids at Don Sahong on the Mekong River. Photo: International Rivers via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Don Sahong Dam - disaster in the making that must be halted!

Save the Mekong Coalition
| 17th November 2016
The construction of the Don Sahong Dam in Laos PDR must be halted until full information on the project's impacts - in particular the fate of millions of fish that migrate each year through the Hou Sahong channel now being dammed - has been published, writes the Save the Mekong Coalition in this open letter sent today to the project developers.

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Vaquitas in the northern Gulf of California. Photo: AMNH Seminars on Science / Natural History Magazone via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Plan to save Mexico's vaquita porpoise won't work without fishers' engagement

Andrew Frederick Johnson
University of California
San Diego
| 1st November 2016
The exclusion of fishers from the design of management plans for the vaquita, driven by conservation groups and implemented by the government, has led to polarized opinions and a large divide between communities and conservation agencies, writes Andrew Frederick Johnson. To save the vaquita, this needs to be replaced with a close collaboration.

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Milletseed butterflyfishes and snorkeler near surface, taken in 2009 in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument - which has just quadrupled in size. Photo: Greg McFall / NOAA's National Ocean Service via Flickr (CC BY).

Vast remote ‘marine protected areas’ - a diversion from the real job?

Peter J S Jones
Elizabeth De Santo
| 8th September 2016
There's quite a fashion now for creating enormous ocean nature reserves, write Peter J S Jones & Elizabeth De Santo. The UK kicked off the trend last year at Pitcairn Island, and now the US has followed up with a 1.5m sq.km reserve around Hawaii. But while these look like big conservation gains, the more serious task is to manage sustainably the intensely exploited seas close to home.

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Once a coral reef, now a construction site. China expanding its land 'reclamation' at Fiery Reef in the South China Sea. Photo: still from report by NHK WORLD NEWSLINE English (see video embed).

China condemned for massive coral reef destruction

Oliver Tickell
| 12th July 2016
International judges today condemned China's great 'water grab' of the South China Sea - not least for its destruction of over 100 sq.km of pristine coral reefs, dredged and ground up to build artificial islands, and the ransacking of their wildlife, from endangered sea turtles to giant clams.

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Vezo fishers primarily use only traditional fishing methods - their boats have no motors and the dive without scuba gear. Thriving markets for shark fin and sea cucumbers, however, are changing many aspects of the way they live. Photo: © Garth Cripps.

Madagascar's 'sea nomads' are the new ocean defenders

Charlie Gardner
| 8th June 2016
The Vezo, Madagascar's indigenous 'sea nomads', are travelling hundreds of miles to the remote 'Barren Isles', the Indian Ocean's largest locally-managed marine protected area, writes Charlie Gardner. Drawn by valuable shark fins and sea cucumbers, sold into Chinese markets, the Vezo are now joining with local fishers to protect the ecosystem and expel illegal divers.

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Mindful living is beautiful in thought and even better in reality. Picture a small-town sanctuary where you can find yourself, live in the moment, and relish the simple things in life. Photo: via Viviane Mahieux.

Brutal, opaque, illegal: the dark side of the Tres Santos 'mindfulness' eco-tourism resort

Viviane Mahieux
| 29th April 2016
A small fishing community in Mexico's Baja California is playing involuntary host to a gigantic tourism and real estate development, writes Viviane Mahieux. And while the branding of the Tres Santos resort is all about mindfulness, ecology and sustainability, the reality is one of big money, high level politics, and the unaccountable deployment of state violence against those who dare oppose it.

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Cabbage white butterfly with deformed wings (pinned to an insect board) that was fed an experimental diet enriched with long chain omega-3 fatty acids, 48 hours after emergence. Photo: PLOS One.

Nutritionally-enhanced GM crops? Too bad about the deformed butterflies

Claire Robinson
GMWatch
| 18th April 2016
It looked like such a good idea: take the pressure off wild fish stocks by growing GM oilseeds that produce health-enhancing long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, writes Claire Robinson. But as a new study has established, those fish oils, novel in terrestrial ecosystems, cause wing deformities in cabbage white butterflies. Yet a third open field trial of these GM crops could soon be under way.

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Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. Photo: Skip Nyegard via Fliuckr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Fishing ban is helping the Great Barrier Reef resist and recover from damage

Camille Mellin
Aaron MacNeil
Julian Caley
| 7th April 2016
New research from Australia's Great Barrier Reef shows that no-take marine reserves don't just mean more and bigger fish, write Camille Mellin, Aaron MacNeil & Julian Caley. They also boost the resistance of reef communities to disturbances like storms, bleaching and predation, and speed their subsequent recovery. It's time for global rollout of coral reef marine reserves!

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Male Atlantic salmon showing the kype (hook) in the lower jaw, used in battle with rival mates during the spawning season. Photo: E. Peter Steenstra / US Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region via Flickr (CC BY).

FDA sued for 'unlawful' approval of GMO salmon

The Ecologist
| 1st April 2016
A coalition of fishing, consumer, and environmental groups are suing the FDA for its 'unlawful' approval of Aquabounty's GM salmon, as it relied on treating the fish as an 'animal drug' under a 1938 law, and ignored serious risks to wild salmon and fishing communities.

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Small fishing boat at St Andrews, Scotland, UK. Photo: dun_deagh via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Brexit could spell disaster for the UK's fishing industry

Bryce Stewart
Griffin Carpenter
| 30th March 2016
The much-derided Common Fisheries Policy must be one of the EU's most unpopular aspects, write Bryce Stewart & Griffin Carpenter. But in fact it has been a notable success, reflecting public concern over bycatch discards and restoring sustainability to Europe's fishing grounds, and profitability to a long declining industry.

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Plastic pollution found on a shoreline in Norway. Photo: Bo Elde via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Public Trust Doctrine requires governments to protect our oceans!

Deb Wright
| 9th March 2016
A legal principle dating from Roman times is ripe for use in protecting our waste-filled and over-exploited seas and oceans, writes Deb Wright. Under the 'Public Trust Doctrine' governments are entrusted to protect shared natural resources from abuse, and can be held accountable for neglect of their duties.

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