An update on WTO negotiations to end subsidies for fisheries

by TNP Editor 2021-5-5

The World Trade Organization (WTO), under the direction of its new director-general, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is making the protection of global fish stock from over fishing a top priority for WTO this year.

Fishing

Okonjo-Iweala sees reaching the multilateral agreement in 2021 a key goal for her and critical to a ‘Watershed’ year for WTO.

A virtual conference is planned for July 2021 to negotiate and seal an accord to reduce or end subsidies for fisheries.

Besides enacting rules to eliminate ‘harmful subsidies’ and enforce sustainable fishing disciplines, key issues for the WTO talks include the type and extent of exemptions to be granted to developed and developing nations under the new accord.

Many seafaring nations aim at protecting their fishing fleets and coastal industries. On-going aids to their fisheries could range from fleet building grants to fuel subsidies.

world fishing employment

The top five providers of fisheries subsidies are China, the United States, the European Union, Japan and South Korea, whereas about 85% of the world’s commercial fishing employment, totaling 50 million people, is in Asia, according to the United Nations.

 

Extreme measures to save corals at GBR

by TNP Editor 2021-4-30

SCIROUsing “cloud brightening” technology, controlling the spread of a predator starfish, and introducing heat-tolerant corals, scientists at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, hope to slow the demise of corals at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR).

The cloud brightening technology is experimental; it is based on spraying salt crystals into the air above the GBR, making clouds more reflective of sunlight and thus cooling waters around the reef.

image0Scientists hope to tightly control the population of the predatory crown-of-thorn starfish, which feed on corals.

Likewise, by introducing different corals, scientists hope to maintain coral coverage with more hardy and heat-tolerant species.

The simulation work done by CSIRO suggests a reprieve of up to 20 years based on these combined interventions. A key assumption of the model is that global temperatures will not rise beyond 1.8 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, and the emission of greenhouse gases and other climate factors will need to be addressed.

14th International Coral Reef Symposium at Bremen – registration now open

by TNP Editor 2021-4-27

The 14th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) 2021 will be held at Bremen, Germany this summer on July 19-23.

14thICRS

This symposium is a great opportunity for marine biologists, policy experts, scholars and students to present their research findings, policy and scientific papers, as well as student posters. This is a premier event for the global scientific community to promote reef conservation and advance their research and professional development.

This will be the first VIRTUAL event in the 50+ year history of the ICRS. All presentations will be archived so that attendees can view them afterwards. Thus, attendees will not miss any oral or poster presentations at the 14th ICRS 2021 VIRTUAL when compared to prior ICRS and other large international conferences where many concurrent sessions were running at the same time.

Registration is now open. Click here to register.

Contine reading

The Omega Principle: the quest for long life & healthier planet

by TNP Editor 2020-11-19

Another book we recommend: The Omega Principle is a thought provoking tome on the origin and consequences of a popular diet supplement – Omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega PrincipleWhile there are hardly any doubts about the benefits of Omega-3s, essential for healthy hearts and sharper minds, the global sensation of Omega-3s has engendered a vast, feverish effort to extract and exploit.

As Omega-3s are mostly derived from fish and other marine products, millions of marine life are involved, and unfortunately in some cases, the survival of “fish of all kinds” and many ocean creatures are at stake.

Here, Paul Greenberg, the bestselling author of Four Fish and American Catch, reviews the fascinating history of Omega-3s, from the dawn of complex life to human prehistory, when seafood consumption might have helped human’s cognitive leaps, then to the modern era, when Omega-3s are now firmly in the public conscience and entwined in our global food supply chains.

This book speaks to and advocates sustainable seafood harvesting practices and how we could pursue better health and longevity with responsible quests.

3rd bleaching event in 5 years at The Great Barrier Reef

by TNP Editor 2020-4-19

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is suffering from its third massive coral bleaching event since 2016.  Terry Hughes, a top coral expert at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, surveyed the reef system and reported severe levels of bleaching in all three sections – north, central and south – of the Great Barrier Reef.

Last3bleachingEventsThe Great Barrier Reef experienced five mass bleaching events – in 1998, 2002, 2016, 2017 and 2020.

This third event in five years is the most widespread and it greatly affected the deep water coral reefs.

February 2020 saw the highest monthly sea temperatures ever recorded at the Great Barrier Reef since 1900.

Past coral bleaching events typically took place during El Nino, a climate phenomenon that sees the reversal of ocean current flow and the warming of the South Pacific  waters.

With rising ocean temperature around the globe, however, these bleaching events are occurring more frequently and more widespread.

WTO negotiation continues while nations increase fishing subsidies

by TNP Editor 2019-10-10

High stake World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations are taking place in Geneva amongst ocean-faring nations to hammer out an agreement on fisheries subsidies… with 3 months remaining before the current deadline runs out.

WTO logoAs world populations grow and economic development continues to trend higher, many believe food production will need to double by 2050, and increasingly nations are looking to the oceans to feed their peoples. In 2016 alone, 171 million tons of fish were caught in the oceans. Global catch is expected to reach 200 million tons by 2025.

A survey by the University of British Columbia scientists estimated that ocean-faring nations had provided $35 billion to support their fishing industries in 2018, of which $22 billion was spent on harmful subsidies.

By definition, ‘harmful subsidies‘ support illegal and over fishing that would not otherwise be economical, e.g. subsidies on fuel costs to allow industrial trawling at the far flung fishing grounds of the world’s oceans. Fuel subsidies alone accounted for 22 percent of all fishing subsidies.

If current population trends continue, as fisheries remain the primary source of protein for many developing nations, current food supply will not be adequate to feed a growing world population.

Hence, marine scientists and policy experts believe a legally binding accord to ban destructive fishing subsidies is both possible and necessary.

Bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef

by TNP Editor 2019-5-10

One of the seven world’s natural wonders, The Great Barrier Reef is the only living thing on Earth that is visible from space, stretching from north to south over 2,300 km off the coast of Queensland. Located in the Coral Sea, in an area of 340,000 sq km, the Great Barrier Reef is comprised of 900 tropical islands and over 2,900 individual reef systems and coral cays.

The reef structure is built by billions of tiny organisms called coral polyps that form a symbiotic relation with coral algae. Together, a diverse ecosystem was formed over the millennia that includes dolphins, turtles, sharks and, of course, coral reef fish and crustaceans. These species interact with each other to comprise a delicate ecosystem that depends on the coral reef for thriving and surviving.

In 2017, BBC News reported two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef were damaged in an unprecedented bleaching, or a loss of  algae. This bleaching – which turned the resultant coral reef ‘white and lifeless’ – started at the north section in the years prior and now it’s hitting the middle section. Thus far, it had damaged a 1,500 km stretch of the reef, according to aerial surveys.

Chemical runoff, over-fishing, climate change, habitat destruction, and coastal development all have contributed to the causes of bleaching and subsequent reef damages. Scientists and policy makers are making efforts to raise the awareness and remedy the situation.

We will report more on their work and progress in the years to come.

American Catch: the fight for our local seafood

by TNP Editor 2018-12-12

American Catch is a fascinating book by Paul Greenberg, bestselling author of Four Fish. It narrates the story of why and how American seafood exports have exploded in recent years. And, by contrast,  how Americans have come to import much of the seafood they eat.

American oysters, shrimp and salmon are amongst the wild seafood being exported. Sockeye salmon, with its most nutritionally dense proteins, is especially prized by many around the world.

At the same time, 91% of the seafood Americans consume are imports – wild and farmed.

Greenberg reviewed the challenges the seafood industry faces and how precious renewable resources can be better protected by fishermen, environmentalists and local authorities alike.

This is a good read on how we can change our consumption patterns and become more sustainable in what we eat and how we catch.