The future of food security in the Mekong region lies at a crossroads, as several development ventures, including the Xayaburi Hydropower Project, threaten to alter fish migration routes, disrupt the flow of sediments and nutrients downstream, and endanger millions whose livelihoods depend on the Mekong River basin's resources.
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.
The immense scale of the Pacific Ocean, at 165 million square kilometres, inspires awe and fascination, but for those who inhabit the 22 Pacific island countries and territories, it is the very source of life. Without it, livelihoods and economies would collapse, hunger and ill-health would become endemic and human survival would be threatened.
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.
A 4,200-year-old relief in the Tomb of Mereruka in Sakkara depicts the staggering array of fish that once inhabited the Nile River and its wetlands. Ancient Egyptian fishermen with linen nets haul in their bounty, including the sacred Oxyrhynchus, a snub-nosed fish that was captured and nurtured but never eaten.
For Egypt’s commercial marine fishermen, making a living has never been more dangerous. Egyptian crews driven further afield in search of fish have faced pirate attacks, spent months in dingy foreign prisons, and come under fire from coast guard vessels. Dozens of fishermen have been held for ransom, abused by authorities, or shot and killed.
The rivers in northern Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province were once thick with trout. Spanning hundreds of kilometres, these water bodies played host to the exotic fish, first introduced by the British in the early 1900s, which eventually became a staple in the diets and livelihoods of the province’s 20 million residents.
A coastal city, Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, is an area where people have relied on the ocean for food and employment for as long as they have lived there.
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.
Sharks have a safe haven the size of France, and the Republic of Palau that protects them is making millions of dollars from shark tourism.
The authorities in Mexico seem to have thrown in the towel in the fight against illegal fishing, which is hurting fisheries, the environment, and incomes.
The 43rd Pacific Islands Forum was held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, from 28 to 30 August 2012 involved leaders from the 16 member Pacific nations including Australia and New Zealand. This year's theme: “Large Ocean Island States – the Pacific Challenge” with major topics including climate change, trade and fishing.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton along with more than 500 officials from nearly 60 countries including China, and European Union attended as observers and participated in other meetings in the Cook Islands, some 3000 km northeast of New Zealand.
Impoverished Laos is unlikely to cancel a Thai project to build a mega dam across the Mekong River at Xayaburi, despite warnings from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that it could devastate the region’s rich biodiversity.
Fisherfolk and farmers living near Malawi’s second-largest water body, Lake Chilwa, are relocating en masse and scrambling for space around its shores as the lake has dried to dangerously low levels.
“Look out there, the blue one…. that is a European Union fishing vessel that is threatening our livelihood,” says Lallmamode Mohamedally, a Mauritian fisherman, as he points to a boat offloading its catch at the Les Salines port, close to the country’s capital Port Louis.
Humanity is living beyond its means with the growing demand for food, medicines and other nature-based products, making sustainable consumption and conservation a matter of life and death. This is according to the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network, the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Coastal fisheries in Papua New Guinea, used primarily by local subsistence fisher folk, will face increasing pressure from climate change, compounding the twin problems of population growth and overfishing.
It takes a village to protect a reef and sustain a local fishery, more than two decades of experience now shows.
The model of exploiting fisheries that has prevailed in the last decade has driven fish stocks to critically low levels in Chile, which has a 6,435 km Pacific coastline and a wide diversity of marine resources.
Forest officials of the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve abutting the Palk Straits between India and Sri Lanka have reported a decline in marine wildlife, as smugglers exploiting lax conservation laws in the region tank up on protected species used in traditional Chinese medicines and fine dining.
The arrest and release of a Dutch activist in Japan has put in bad light this country’s refusal to heed international calls to limit traditional dolphin and whale hunting practices in favour of conservation.