You know it’s been a while when you’ve forgotten your log in information for your blog. My habitual apologies for the long silence. A lot has happened lately so let’s get to it:
—CITES a Bust for Marine Life (Mar. 25): At the CITES meetings held in late March in Doha, there were winners and there were losers, except in the marine environment, where there were only losers. Opposition by Japan, China, and their allies led to the defeat of every proposal to give CITES protection to vulnerable marine species including hammerhead sharks, whitetip sharks, porbeagle sharks, spiny dogfish sharks, bluefin tuna and pink and red corals. The majority of the 150 participating countries decided against listing polar bears on Appendix I (the opposition was led by Canada). And we already heard the fate of Atlantic bluefin tuna.
—A Big New MPA (Apr. 1): Although the news was released on April 1st, it was no joke that the UK has committed to designating the Chagos Islands, a group of 55 islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean, as the world’s largest marine reserve (in spite of opposition from John Beddington, the UK’s chief scientific advisor). The islands and their surrounding waters cover 210,000 square miles (544,000 square kilometers), an area larger than California and more than 60 times the size of Yellowstone National Park.
—U.S. Bans Shrimp from Mexico to Protect Turtles (Mar. 25): The U.S. is banning imports of Mexican shrimp, however, due to failure to implement adequate devices on their fishing gear to protect sea turtles. A friend who has been out with shrimp trawlers in Mexico talks about how nets are equipped with turtle excluder devices but that the fishers tie them shut — perhaps something to do their ineffectiveness.