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India: State aid for ban-hit fishermen 19 July 2016

Photo c/o www.bhubaneswarbuzz.com The Odisha Government has decided to provide additional compensation to marine fishers to make up for their loss of livelihood during the seasonal ban on fishing. The New Indian Express reports that marine fisherfolk are badly affected by the annual ban, which is imposed in two phases. Beginning in November, the ban is meant to safeguard endangered olive ridley turtles before and during their nesting season, while from April a deep sea fishing ban is imposed to enable breeding.

The State Government has now decided to provide financial aid to the fisher community as well as to fish workers to strengthen the livelihood support. The assistance would be over and above the support provided under the Saving-cum-Relief scheme of the federal Government, which Odisha State considered inadequate.  More »


India's Bhitarkanika National Park to be included as World Heritage Site? 18 July 2016

Photo credit: Greenpeace UNESCO has given the first phase clearance for listing Bhitarkanika National Park as a World Heritage Site, as per a proposal submitted by the Forest Department. A technical evaluation to be conducted by IUCN before 31 October 2016 will produce a report for consideration by the Paris-based UN body in December.

The park comprises the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and Gahirmatha (Marine) Wildlife Sanctuary. The latter is one of the world’s largest nesting and breeding grounds for endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles. The park has already been designated as an important wetland site, by the Ramsar Convention, in 2002.  More »


Hague Tribunal - South China Sea ruling explained 12 July 2016

Photo credit: Reuters VOA News reports that an international tribunal in The Hague has rebuked China over its behavior in the South China Sea and found no legal basis for Beijing's vast claims to sovereignty over the waters. The tribunal also criticized China for damaging the environment of coral reefs and for not preventing its fishermen from killing protected species, such as sea turtles.

The VOA News article summarises the main points of the tribunal's ruling, which found that China has no legal basis for its historic claims to the so-called "nine dash line" which encircles about 90 percent of the South China Sea; and that many features which China claims do not qualify as islands, which would otherwise give the owner expansive rights over the surrounding waters. More »


Turtle Watching in the Sultanate of Oman 15 June 2016

Photo c/o MuscatDaily.com For many years, Ras Al Jinz – only three hours’ drive from Muscat – has offered privileged visitors an awesome turtle-watching experience. Hopefully the character of this important nesting area will not be adversely impacted by recently announced plans to attract even more tourists. The nearby area of Ras Al Hadd has received a new investment deal to provide it with 700 hotel rooms spread over five star hotels and a boutique resort, a dedicated centre for wildlife preservation, an observation park and a specialised marine life park. There will also be a Heritage Village to showcase the authentic cultural experience and an eco-themed resort. Great care will be needed to avoid spoiling the very thing that brings visitors to this environmentally sensitive area. More »


CNMI: 'Let us harvest green sea turtles' 8 June 2016

Photo credit: Pacific Daily News Describing it as "a clash of federal law and cultural practice", Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno reports that the Northern Marianas government is reviving its more than decade-long quest to be allowed to harvest a limited number of green sea turtles. Northern Marianas acting Gov. Victor Hocog brought up the issue at a Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council meeting in Saipan. Twelve years ago, the CNMI government asked federal authorities to be allowed to catch turtles for certain cultural activities, such as teaching seafaring traditions and hosting fiestas. More »


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