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Air China bans shark fin cargo, reflecting dramatic shift in attitudes

Categories: Asia, Private Sector, Recommended Reading, Sea, Wildlife
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Air China has become the first airline in mainland China to ban shark fin cargo, marking a dramatic shift in attitudes toward trade in endangered wildlife here and throwing a lifeline to shark populations threatened with imminent extinction.

The news, released late Friday, came just a week after China announced plans to ban its domestic ivory trade, a landmark decision of vital importance in ending an epidemic of elephant poaching in Africa.

It marks the country’s gradual transformation from being the biggest source of the problem — as the largest market in illegal wildlife products — to becoming a major part of the solution. By Simon Denyer. Read more.

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EU overfishing to continue until 2034 at current trend

Categories: Europe, Planet, Recommended Reading, Sea
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EU states agreed that by 2020 all fish stocks should be caught sustainably. (Photo: Environmental Justice Foundation)


The European Union’s fleets will continue to overfish until 2034, unless states take a wholly different approach to setting annual quotas, according to a new estimate.

EU states agreed that by 2020 all fish stocks – i.e. species in a certain area – should be caught sustainably. That means that only the amount of fish is caught that scientists think will not disrupt the species’ ability to reproduce. By . Read more.

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Outrage over Miss Universe candidates swimming with endangered whale sharks

Categories: Asia, Planet, Recommended Reading, Sea, Wildlife
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The Philippines' bet for the Miss Universe pageant, Maxine Medina, and other candidates swam near the whale sharks. PHOTO: courtesy of Sergei Tokmakov (via CNN Philippines on Twitter)

The Philippines’ bet for the Miss Universe pageant, Maxine Medina, and other candidates swam near the whale sharks. PHOTO: courtesy of Sergei Tokmakov (via CNN Philippines on Twitter)

LOOK: Miss Universe candidates go whale watching in Oslob, Cebu

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Controversy shrouded the visit of the 12 Miss Universe 2016 candidates to Oslob, Cebu on Tuesday.

One of their activities was to watch the endangered whale sharks or butanding. Miss Universe-Philippines Maxine Medina was also photographed swimming with a whale shark.

Environmentalists and past beauty queens expressed their outrage, saying the Miss Universe pageant organizers made an unethical choice of having the contestants swim with whale sharks.

The said tourist attraction has been controversial due to the negative impact on the animals caused by human interaction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the butanding as an endangered species. It reported last July that the “growing human pressure” on whale sharks are putting the species at an increasing risk of extinction.

CNN Philippines correspondent Isabella Montano contributed to this report. Read more.

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Saving coral reefs one scuba diving centre at a time

Categories: Asia, Non-Profit, Planet, Private Sector, Sea, Water, Wildlife
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I learned to scuba dive at the age of 12 and was a diving instructor by the age of 15 – pretty unusual for a girl growing up in the middle of England!

By Chloë Harvey – Reef-World’s Programmes Manager

My underwater encounters throughout those formative teenage years inspired me to study Marine Biology at university – those, coupled with my natural (and some may say tiresome) desire to learn more about the way things work.

I started off investigating marine biological and ecological functions, but have more recently moved into the area of how the industries and human processes that thrive off marine ecosystem services, impact the sustainability of our ocean planet. scuba greenfins

Tourism is currently one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world, generating 10 per cent of global GDP and supporting one in every 11 jobs. The Asia and Pacific region represents the major source of tourists, as well as being the number one destination for tourists worldwide – it’s underwater diving and snorkelling adventures promise vibrant coral reefs, making it a common draw for tourists.

Having lived and worked in many popular tourist destinations across Asia, I have seen first-hand the negative impacts of booming tourism. These impacts are felt socially as well as environmentally, especially by fragile natural ecosystems like coral reefs. scuba greenfins2

In response to these negative impacts I have been working with some of the leading conservation and industry voices in the region, developing a program that supports sustainability within the diving and snorkelling industry. This programme is called Green Fins, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Reef-World Foundation led initiative. Green Fins is effecting measurable and meaningful change in core business practices and is positively influencing the way this industry works. In the below video Jim Toomey (and his cartoon friends) will take you through a fun and enchanting run through of the Green Fins approach.

Service providers are the cornerstone for sustainability and whilst diving and snorkelling activities carry significant environmental risks, if activities are well managed their opportunity to provide environmental awareness and education is enormous. There are good case studies from all over  the world highlighting how operators successfully strike a tourism/education balance. Unfortunately though, this is not commonplace.

Mass tourism often drives unsustainable practices, as businesses prioritise cashing in on the opportunity to make a quick financial gain, without consideration for the longevity of the industry.  Green Fins is working to make the industry partner with government agencies in environmental management, putting business owners in control of protecting their natural asset. The approach involves businesses voluntarily agreeing to adhere to a 15 point environmental code of conduct for diving and snorkelling activities.scuba greenfins3

The end result is a win-win – enhanced business performance and the protection of the underlying natural asset. By systematically eliminating negative environmental impacts, businesses can increase the health of coral reefs and ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem services they provide.

Businesses who are successfully applying Green Fins are also noticing a shift towards a more loyal repeat customer base that make longer stays and are willing to pay more for services. This constitutes the basic building blocks for sustainability within the industry.

The most sustainable choice no longer being a sacrifice, but the one that makes business and professional sense

The marine tourism industry is changing, and those wanting to be ahead of the game need to get on board. The change will result in the most sustainable choice no longer being a sacrifice, but the one that makes business and professional sense. Dive and snorkel industry partners and government agencies in some of the most thriving tourist destinations are using the Green Fins learning and outreach tools to apply best industry practice. Today almost 500 dive and snorkel businesses across Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines and Vietnam are leading the charge and applying Green Fins to support consistent improvement in environmental business practices.scuba greenfins4

In response to the demand, expansion to Singapore, Sri Lanka and Palau is underway, and plans for replication in the Caribbean and Mediterranean are in progress. Education and communication materials are also available in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, to ensure best practice and guidance is widely available to these growing segments of the market.

If Green Fins is available in your area, then sign up for free. If it is not available in your area then consider adopting and applying the code of conduct and guidelines within your business independently by following the dive and snorkel centre handbook.

Joining the Green Fins network means joining the only international sustainable diving and snorkelling programme, recognised by divers and leading authorities as a program which is doing exactly what it says on the tin … Greening the industry’s Fins! 

Find the original article here.

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A 20-Year-Old Dutch Inventor has Come Up with a Solution to the Ocean’s Plastic Problem

Categories: Planet, Recommended Reading, Sea, Uncategorized, Waste
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Boyan Slat, the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, announced that his company plans to deploy a series of V-shaped floating barriers that would capture trash without harming sea life.

The Ocean Cleanup Organisation will be installing a 328ft-long (100 metre) barrier segment in the summer of 2016 in the North Sea, 14 miles (23km) off the coast of The Netherlands.

By Positive True NewsRead more.

 

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Building Reef Resilience

Categories: Fauna, Flora, Planet, Recommended Reading, Sea
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Source: Scuba Diver Life

Source: Scuba Diver Life

“Resilience” has become a buzzword when it comes to the future health of coral reefs, but how exactly can you help in the face of climate change?

As a diver, you’ve probably heard that reefs are under intense and unprecedented pressures — you’ve probably seen evidence of this on your own dives. And, you’re probably aware that the sources of these pressures are global and extensive; climate change and ocean acidification. It’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to the strife of our coral reefs. There’s very little we can do to influence this…or is there? Green Fins promotes an ecosystem approach to strengthening reef resilience.

Continue reading on Scuba Diver Life!

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Diving into Conservation

Categories: Recommended Reading, Sea, Southeast, Water, Wildlife
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Photo: Reef World Foundation/Green Fins

Photo: Reef World Foundation/Green Fins

I was that kid who spent most of his life underwater. I would spend hours swimming around the bottom of the pool, trying to see without the use of a mask, and testing the boundaries of a new world. Whether peering at it through chlorine-filled red eyes, or between winces trying to ignore another ear infection, I have always been fascinated with the underwater environment. I couldn’t wait to learn to dive and I decided at a young age that I would make it my life’s ambition to work with our seas and oceans. That kid is now a professional SCUBA diver and marine biologist working in international conservation focussing largely upon sustainable diving and marine tourism. By JJ Harvey. Read more.

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World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February, marking the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971, known as the Ramsar Convention.

World Wetlands Day Besides providing essential services such as water, food and energy, wetlands offer significant opportunities for tourism, which can in turn deliver economic benefits for local communities and the sustainable management of wetlands.

Revival of wetlands, as in the case of Ein Afek Nature Reserve in Israel, is important for not only nature conservation but also eco-tourism, wetland education, and ecological research. Wetlands offer a range of recreational activities include sunbathing, swimming, boating, diving, snorkeling, photography, bird-watching, and simply enjoying the landscape. If not properly managed, however, tourism can also harm wetland, as in the unfortunate case of China’s Qinghai Province where Qinghai Lake became a huge rubbish dump.

The strong connection between wetlands and tourism brought the World Wetlands Day theme for 2012 to be “Wetlands and Tourism.” Ensuring well-managed tourism practices in and around wetlands and educating tourists on the value of wetlands contributes to the health of the world’s wetlands, and the long-term benefits that wetlands provide to people, wildlife, economics, and biodiversity.

Learn more how about how to successfully use wetlands for tourism through the UNWTO’s Destination Wetlands: Supporting Sustainable Tourism; Wetlands International’s publication Factsheet Wetlands and Poverty Reduction Project or the Use of Wetlands for Sustainable Tourism Management in the Boondall Wetlands Reserve, Australia.

UNEP CBD - Tourism Supporting Biodiversity

A healthy natural environment is one of the world’s most important tourism attractions, and that visiting nature serves to heighten awareness of its intrinsic value for us all, a new manual launched by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) presents guidelines on sustainable tourism and management.

Geared towards being both practical and accessible, Tourism Supporting Biodiversity: A Manual on applying the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development, highlights the important role tourism plays for biodiversity and aims to improve knowledge and materials to better integrate biodiversity into sustainable tourism development.

“The manual is a reference tool for planners, developers, managers and decision makers involved with tourism development and resource management in areas of sensitive biodiversity,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary. “The purpose is to help them to mainstream biodiversity concerns and ecosystem services within sustainable tourism development.”

With its emphasis on management and governance, the manual, prepared as a result of experiences compiled by the Secretariat and decisions taken by countries at the eleventh and twelfth meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, reflects a wider perspective on approaches and experiences in sustainable tourism development and management. It serves to complement the more technical User’s Manual on the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development, published in 2007.

The manual is the result of a collaboration between the CBD Secretariat, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and some 140 experts from around the world to identify current trends and upcoming issues and opportunities on the links between sustainable tourism development and the CBD agenda, and is meant to be used as a transformative tool for sustainable consumption.

 

 

Download PDF here

 

Discovering Beaches on Nias Island, Indonesia

Categories: Asia, Planet, Recommended Reading, Sea, Southeast, Water
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Nias Island is a stunning Indonesian island with a few surfer tourists enjoying the scenic beaches, abundant wildlife, and welcoming local population. We interview Sustainable Tourism Advisor Björn Svensson for some interesting insights on this tropical island and talk about his role in advising how to develop sustainable tourism in this pristine location. Peter Berg Schmidt. Read more.