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Ecologist Special Report: The battle for the ‘mother of rivers'

Nosmot Gbadamosi

22nd May, 2017

Scientists are praising the discovery of new species and rare dolphins in the Mekong region, but overfishing and dams loom to disrupt habitats writes NOSMOT GBADAMOSI in this special Ecologist report more...

WITNESS: Drawn to the Frozen South

Gary Cook

17th May, 2017

Our Arts Editor, GARY COOK, travels with his sketchbook to one of the last remaining wilderness places on Earth - Antartica - and returns home humbled by the experience more...

WITNESS: Marine biology at the top of the world

James Simpson

12th May, 2017

The return of blue shell mussels to the Artic after a 2,000 year absence, plus the arrival of mackerel are just two signs of a changing climate as JAMES SIMPSON discovers when he joins the scientists and fishermen on a research vessel off the coast of Svalbard more...

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 more...

MSC Response to New Zealand Fisheries Article

24th March, 2017

In its Right of Reply to our recent article questioning the sustainability of New Zealand fishing practices, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) explains its certification is based on current and not historical practices. more...

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 ... more...

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
more...
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. more...

Governing Marine Protected Areas: Lyme Bay

Horatio Morpurgo

2nd February 2017

The scientific case for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is now overwhelming. The bigger question is how can they be managed more effectively? HORATIO MORPURGO reports more...
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'. more...
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. more...
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. more...

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The huge environmental costs of salmon farms in South America

Florencia Ortúzar

1st November, 2016

There are currently over 3,000 applications to establish new salmon farms in the Patagonian regions of Magallanes and Aysen waiting for approval. Have we leaned nothing from the damage to the environment caused by Chile's salmon farms asks Florencia Ortúzar more...
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. more...

Why we need to keep rivers cool with riverside tree planting

Ecologist reporter

10th August, 2016

With some climate predictions warning that river water temperatures will exceed safe thresholds for river fish, the Keep Rivers Cool (KRC) campaign is calling for more riverside tree planting. more...
Every morning Lao and Cambodian fishermen land their catch to sell at Veung Kham market just inside the Lao Border. ​Photo: Tom Fisherman.

Ecologist Investigation: How the largest inland fisheries in the world are being destroyed

TOM FAWTHROP

3rd August, 2016

Investigative reporter, TOM FAWTHROP has just returned from the site of the Don Sahong - a hydrodam being constructed in the middle of an eco-paradise of wetlands in Southern Laos where over 200 fish species have been recorded. more...
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. more...
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. more...
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. more...
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. more...
Banggai Cardinalfish in their natural habitat. Photo: Fondation Franz Weber.

From coral reef to 'aquarium filler': the beauty of tropical fish is their doom

Monica Biondo / Fondation Franz Weber

15th April 2016

Gorgeous coral fish are to be seen everywhere, writes Monica Biondo, decorating aquariums in restaurants, doctors' offices and living rooms. The coral fish trade is booming! But it's destroying the reefs themselves, and driving many species to extinction. The Banggai Cardinalfish is among those unlikely to survive as this evil trade lays waste to them and their precious habitat. more...
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! more...
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. more...
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. more...
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. more...

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