Stories written by Christopher Pala

Predatory Lionfish Decimating Caribbean Reefs

The lionfish, with its striking russet and white stripes and huge venomous outrigger fins, wasn’t hard to spot under a coral reef in 15 feet of clear water. Nor was it a challenge to spear it.

Rising Seas Not the Only Culprit Behind Kiribati’s Woes

Scientists say dredging, building causeways and natural climate variations are largely responsible for the flooding events that many officials here point to as evidence that climate change-induced sea-level rise is shrinking and destroying their tropical Pacific island.

Fishing Undercuts Kiribati President’s Marine Protection Claims

A growing chorus of politicians, scientists and environmentalists are urging President Anote Tong of Kiribati to actually do what he claims was already done in 2008: create the world's most effective marine protected area in a remote archipelago in the Central Pacific Ocean.

Senegal’s Leader Urged to Save Sardinella

Hours after President Macky Sall of Senegal met in Washington with President Barack Obama late last month, he stepped into a brightly lit hotel meeting room to accept the Peter Benchley Award for National Stewardship of the Ocean, the only prize for ocean conservation given to heads of state.

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Banned Kazakh Opposition Press Vows to Continue Online

Kazakhstan, an oil-rich ex-Soviet nation in Central Asia best known for voluntarily forsaking the world’s fourth-largest nuclear arsenal, is carrying out an unprecedented media crackdown that will leave it virtually without any opposition newspapers for the first time in its 21-year history as an independent nation.

Billions in Subsidies Prop up Unsustainable Overfishing

Calls are mounting for the world's big fishing powers to stop subsidising international fleets that use destructive methods like bottom trawling in foreign coastal waters, drastically reducing the catch of local artisanal fishers who use nets and fishing lines.

Tough Job? Try Reporting on Corruption in Kazakhstan

Lukpan Akhmedyarov, a 36-year-old reporter for an independent weekly in western Kazakhstan who was recently ambushed and nearly killed, was awarded the Peter Mackler Award for Ethical and Courageous Journalism this month – the first journalist from that country to receive international recognition in 10 years.

Blue Crab Revival Offers Hope for Ailing Fisheries

Authorities in Maryland and Virginia have rescued the Chesapeake Bay's blue crab from the brink of collapse, tripling its population in five years, by using methods that emerging crabmeat-exporting countries in Asia and Central America could emulate, scientists say.

Kazakhstan Divided Over Fugitive Banker

As the trial began this week of 37 alleged participants in a strike-related riot, the man who did the most to help the striking oil workers and to publicise their cause, Mukhtar Ablyazov, remained far beyond the Kazakhstan government’s grasp.

Kazakh Media Faces Harsh Crackdown

President Nursultan Nazarbayev is orchestrating a media crackdown that editors and independent analysts say is the harshest since he began ruling this Central Asian republic in 1989.

KAZAKHSTAN: Dissent Stifled Amid Indifference

President Nursultan Nazarbayev, re-elected last April with an improbable yet typical 93 percent, presided last weekend over parliamentary elections that maintained his iron grip on his oil-rich country’s parliament, and further stifled dissent.

KAZAKHSTAN: Riot Town Has Its Say

Kazakhstan this week canceled, then re-authorised elections in a remote oil town where recent riots stemming from an oil workers strike left at least 16 dead and more than 40 buildings burned.

KAZAKHSTAN: Give Them Bread, But Not So Much

Kazakhstan, intent on diversifying its economy away from oil and mining, has extended its cereal acreage by a third in the past ten years, doubled the value of its grain harvest. It has eradicated rural poverty in the north, the country's breadbasket.

CLIMATE CHANGE: ‘High Glaciers Safe From Warming’

Global warming will melt far less of the glaciers of Central Asia than of those in other mountain ranges, shielding the people who depend on them for water from the effects of climate change for several decades at least, scientists say.

CENTRAL ASIA: Together They Lose

Rarely have so many donor countries spent so much for so long to achieve so little. In fact, the scores of Western countries ranging from the Netherlands to the United States that have tried for 20 years to coax the Central Asian nations to use their water cooperatively and create a win-win situation for all have found that the Central Asians are cooperating less and less, not more and more.

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