23 September 2008

Asian shore updates

A quick round up of recent marine news. Some bad news, some good news and more about action for our reefs and shores in the region.

Bad news: Ocean acidification could devastate reefs even at modest CO2 levels. That is, even if atmospheric carbon dioxide stabilizes at 450 ppm, a level well below that of many climate change forecasts, according to a study by Carnegie Institution. Current levels are 380 ppm.

"If current trends in CO2 emissions continue unabated, in the next few decades, we will produce chemical conditions in the oceans that have not been seen for tens of millions of years. We are doing something very profound to our oceans."

Good news: Fortuitous winds protect Ningaloo Reef corals from excessive bleaching as climate change increases sea temperatures, according to a study by the University of Western Australia.

Something is being done: "Say No to Turtle Eggs!" an effort to gather 1 million signatures by Malaysians to stop the consumption of sea turtle eggs.

Something has been done: about success in engaging local villagers to establish marine protected areas and more sustainable harvesting of marine resources such as raising napolean wrasse.

The Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program (Coremap)'s "main goal is to change habits, not to change people's livelihoods. As fishermen, they have the right to make their living from the sea, but using different methods."

"Man-made rehabilitation is not a solution for coral reef degradation in Indonesia. It's lot easier to change people's bad habits than to spend hundreds of millions of rupiah on man-made rehabilitation programs with little possibility for success"

More needs to be done: about the chemicals that goes into farmed prawns and prawn farming in Southern Vietnam.

'The negative effects of eating industrially produced shrimp may include neurological damage from ingesting chemicals such as endosulfans, an allergic response to penicillin residues or infection by an antibiotic-resistant pathogen such as E coli.'

The price paid is even higher " in the damage being done to the environment in which they're farmed".

Some consider "farmed prawn the most disgusting of all the industrial farmed products - worse than salmon, worse than battery chicken. It's not just the chemicals. The land grab for prawn farms has destroyed the mangrove forest has harmed wild animals and humans too".

Should we just stop eating prawns? "There are other ways to help. Oxfam, which has been working in Tra Vinh for 10 years, is helping some of the farmers set up co-operatives and loan schemes to make traditional fishing and farming more lucrative: we visited villages where the whole community has become partners in a cockle-fishing enterprise. Its sustainable, it creates jobs and it's doing well."

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