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Pool 32 Mag is a new fly fishing e-magazine for everyone who loves fly fishing, and wish to follow environmental issues as well.

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Copyright © Mark Wengler

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"Fly fishing isn't just a sport - it's a state of mind!!"

Check out earlier issues of Pol 32 mag

October 31, 2011

Really great animal portraits by Photographer Stefanie Mueller

Check out these great animal shots and wisit her website for more great pic's 
- use this direct link:  Photographer Stefanie Mueller






October 30, 2011

Why fish virus spooks scientists


Why fish virus spooks scientists

To understand why scientists were so alarmed last week to see a potentially lethal fish virus surface in two sockeye, consider what happened in South America in 2007. Millions of farmed fish died, cost billions of dollars and drove thousands of people out of work.
Seattle Times environment reporter

Direct link to this Seattle Times article


To understand why scientists were so alarmed last week to see a potentially lethal fish virus surface in two sockeye, consider what happened in South America in 2007.
Atlantic salmon in two sea pens at a fish farm in central Chile struggled that summer with a common bacteria. So workers injected the lethargic fish with antibiotics. Still the salmon developed tumors and lesions. Their livers and kidneys failed. Within weeks more than 70 percent were dead, and other salmon at nearby farms were sick, too.
The fish had contracted a virus, infectious salmon anemia (ISA). The resulting outbreak would kill millions of farmed salmon, cost farmers billions of dollars and drive thousands of people out of work.
No one knows what ISA's arrival would mean for the Northwest. But experts agree it could spell trouble — if it's truly here.
"This is probably the single-most feared virus in the fish industry," said Fred Kibenge, a researcher at the University of Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada.
He should know. Kibenge has led much of the science on ISA outbreaks across the globe. It was also Kibenge who performed the laboratory tests this fall on 48 wild sockeye smolts snared from Rivers Inlet in northern British Columbia. Last week the world learned he'd found trace evidence of a European strain of the ISA virus in two fish. ISA had never been seen before on the Pacific Coast.
Even the biologist who submitted the fish to Kibenge's lab was caught off guard. He said he'd merely been trying to rule out possibilities that could explain why research crews caught so few young fish this year.
"I was quite literally stunned," said Rick Routledge, at Simon Fraser University.
Disease emergency
Virologists from several state and federal agencies called the discovery a disease emergency. Other scientists cautioned that absent signs of an outbreak, or even disease, it remained possible the results were an error. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has obtained the hearts and carcasses of the smolts and is performing follow-up tests.
But even if the virus' presence is confirmed, it will merely raise new questions.
For starters, it's not clear why a highly contagious virus associated with farms growing Atlantic salmon would appear first in two juvenile wild sockeye 60 miles from the nearest fish farm — especially when it had never surfaced during routine aquaculture inspections.
Between 2003 and 2010, health auditors for the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture tested 4,726 fresh dead fish on salmon farms and didn't see ISA. Neither did labs in Washington during 50,691 fish-disease tests of farmed and hatchery fish just last year, though the state was primarily looking for other illnesses.
"Is this something that has been here for a long time and we didn't see it? Or is it brand new?" asked Kevin Amos, a veterinarian and pathologist working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's aquaculture program. "Sometimes these things can be pretty weird."
And no one can say what harm it could cause.
Appeared in 1984
The pathogen first appeared in Norway in 1984, and since has killed millions of farmed Atlantic salmon from Scotland to Maine. A less virulent strain sickened some farmed coho in South America in 1999. It doesn't affect people and isn't known to have harmed wild salmon. A 2003 lab study found steelhead, chinook, chum and coho resistant to ISA. But the same research said the virus' potential to mutate should not be ignored.
In fact, when ISA was first identified in Europe, gene tests suggested some version of it had been in Atlantic waters for thousands of years. It only became deadly when Norway's salmon-aquaculture industry exploded.
"Until you had a large number of animals close together in captivity, the virus didn't do anything," said Jill Rolland, director of the U.S. Agriculture Department's aquaculture-health program.
Evidence suggests the virus moved to Chile on contaminated fish eggs brought from Europe. Once it reached salmon net pens it spread quickly, moving from farm to farm through water and on workers' boats, boots, clothes and gloves, said Pablo Valdes-Donoso, veterinary fish researcher and graduate student at the University of California, Davis, who worked on Chilean fish farms.
Chile's fish farms are truly industrial, separated in most cases by less than two miles. In many cases, Valdes-Donoso said, farmers didn't tell neighboring businesses their charges were sick. Some research suggests fish then passed the virus down from one generation to the next. The result was disaster.
"It was like some kind of wildfire," Valdes-Donoso said.
The situation in the Northwest is potentially better — and worse. The scale of British Columbia's marine aquaculture is massive by U.S. standards — B.C. farms about 12 times as much salmon as Washington — but still just a fraction of Chile's.
"Our rearing techniques are also dramatically different," said Dan Swecker, a state legislator who runs the Washington Fish Growers Association. Even so, "This should concern all salmon farmers on the West Coast. If there is something out there, then the industry is going to have to take a look at everything we do."
More troubling to wild-fish advocates should be the fact that Chile has no native salmon — and the Northwest is peppered with hatcheries where fish spend lots of time clustered together, an environment that can amplify disease.
Fears virus is new
It's possible the virus has existed for a while in Pacific salmon in some benign form. And ISA is a saltwater disease, while most hatcheries are found in freshwater.
But scientists worry the virus is, in fact, new.
In other words, if you put a novel virus into a new population "that's when you can get disease," said John Kerwin, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist who overseas the state's fish farms.
Jim Winton, the Geological Survey scientist who helped determine wild salmon may resist ISA, agreed.
"If this is the first exposure of Pacific salmon to this virus, which we fear it is, that's disturbing," he said. "There may be species that are particularly susceptible. We'd need research where we could expose them to the virus to understand the relative risks of the current strain.
"Then, what we'd really worry about is, 'How long would it be before this virus evolved?' " he asked.
For now, U.S. animal-disease experts are mapping out surveillance plans and epidemiological research. A congressional measure by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich would encourage federal agencies to make ISA research a priority. It's part of a larger bill the Senate is expected to vote on this month.
Until then, scientists await results from Canadian government tests.
"At this point we're still treating this as a suspect finding — not a confirmed finding," Amos said. "A lot more investigation is needed."
Craig Welch: 206-464-2093 or cwelch@seattletimes.com


October 29, 2011

Should we protect and restore our oceans???






Direct link to this great article from Sarah / NRDC - click HERE

Comprehensive Ocean Planning is Beneficial


Should we protect and restore our oceans so that we can swim, fish, enjoy and use our oceans and coasts now and for generations to come? Or should we let our beaches and oceans become more polluted, our ocean wildlife depleted and industrial uses of the ocean occur in a haphazard way? The choice seems clear and our nation’s newNational Ocean Policy charts the right course forward. Yet, it is currently under misguided attack by some. 
In an October 4th hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources, some witnesses tried to discredit the new National Ocean Policy. There’s another hearing today at which Jane Lubchenco, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, will defend the policy.
The very title of the House hearings — "The President’s New National Ocean Policy: A Plan for Further Restrictions on Ocean, Coastal and Inland Activities” — is grossly misleading, a bald attempt to derail the best-laid plans to date, when it comes to America’s oceans. Done right, the National Ocean Policy would protect our oceans for everyone.
At present, there are no fewer than 140 laws and 20 agencies that govern our seas, each with its own agendas and mandates. Such piecemeal governance is unwieldy and fails to effectively address many of the oceans’ problems, like plastic pollution, loss of valuable fish habitats, ailing corals and endangered marine mammals.
The U.S.’s marine area is larger than its land area and our ocean economy—including tourism, recreation, and fishing—is more robust than the U.S. farm sector. We’re dependent on the ocean for food, jobs, recreation, and for sustaining our life on Earth. We need to plan for its sustainable use and protection.
The National Ocean Policy created by President Obama calls for an ocean planning process in which federal agencies work closely with each other, and with states, to draw up guidelines for marine development, region by region.  As the demands on our oceans rapidly multiply, sound planning will prevent reckless use of our seas, or “ocean sprawl.”
Opponents of the National Ocean Policy wrongly claim that it would create more bureaucracy.  Actually, the National Ocean Policy will make the current bureaucratic maze more efficient.  As Jim Lanard, President of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition, testified at the October 4 hearing, “Better plans lead to road maps that can guide current and future users of the oceans about how to best achieve their business plans … [it] will help industry by providing us with more certainty about the rules of the road. Certainty leads to the avoidance of conflicts, improves efficiencies and minimizes competing uses.”
Healthy oceans and a strong ocean economy depend on smart planning. That’s what the National Ocean Policy will deliver and that’s why it needs our support.

October 28, 2011

Is the Morrum river slowly fading away - what will the future bring?


As you probably know by now Pool 32 is one of the most beautiful pools in the Morrum river in southern Sweden and the whole inspiration to my blog and e-mag called Pool 32 Mag. 

It's a  river I have enjoyed visiting for many years, but this year I haven't been fishing in this fantastic river at all - why?? - simple, you don't catch anything anymore. It is so sad to witness how this development have gotten worse year after year, but never the less it's a reality.

In a local news paper this article underneath (in Swedish) explains how the famous Kronolaxfiske is in deep financial crises because of the missing income from fishing licenses. But all this isn't something which has happen "overnight" but somhow nothing has been done to prevent this development, even though several serious fishing profiles have very clearly waned the administration of Morrum River (Kronolaxfiske) against this very sad development.

So now it's not only the govermental fishing institution which is on stake, it's the whole local comunity which suffers badly as I'm writing this blog post.


I'm very curious to see what the future will bring, and to be honest I'm not very optimistic ??? - but who knows - I don't like what I am witnessing these days. 

All over the globe we see huge environmental problems appearing rapidly - very sad!!.


Here is a pic of my absolute favorite pool on this planet - Pool 32. 

   


Here is the Swedish article :


Kronolaxfisket i ekonomisk kris - framtiden oviss



Det anrika Kronolaxfisket i Mörrum är i djup ekonomisk kris men ägaren, det statliga bolaget Sveaskog, accepterar inte att anläggningen går med förlust. Enligt platschefen Percy Assarsson innebär det att en fortsatt försämring av ekonomin kan få hela Kronolaxfisket på fall.
Ån som vindlar sig genom Mörrum är en viktig motor i ortens ekonomi. Sportfisketurismen ger enligt beräkningar samhällsekonomiska intäkter på runt 30-40 miljoner per år. Men framtiden för fisket är oviss.
Mindre fiskBakgrunden är känd: fiskbeståndet minskar. Kronolaxfisket säljer färre fiskekort. Ägaren Sveaskog ställer krav på att anläggningen ska bära sig själv.
Idag är vinsten mycket låg och säljer man bara ett par tusen färre fiskekort nästa år blir det helt tomt i kassan.
Svår krisEnligt Kronlaxfisket är det troligt att det med Sveaskogs affärsmodell leder till avveckling. En sådan här ekonomisk kris har fisket i Mörrum inte befunnit sig i sedan 70-talet.
 – Vi har samma regler som alla andra företag, man måste gå med plus. Man genererar ju pengar till verksamheten här för att driva de här fiskevårdande åtgärderna och får man inga intäkter så kan man ju inte heller göra det.
Slår larmRegeringen har förbjudit utplantering av lax så den vägen är stängd. Och nu slår Percy Assarson larm till de statliga myndigheterna Fiskeriverket och Havs och vattenmyndigheten.
-- Man måste gå in och titta på de här problemen och ta det på allvar. Det har ju diskuterats i många, många år, en nedgång på laxen. Men jag känner att man inte har tagit det på allvar, men nu är det alltså fullt allvar.
Karlshamns kommuns kommunalråd Sven Åke Svensson (S) säger att han redan har börjat diskutera med Länsstyrelsen vad som kan göras.
Direct link to this article from the  (SR) Swedish Radio HERE
Henrik Olsson


Give unwanted fish to the poor, says EU fisheries chief

As part of deal to end discarding of edible fish at sea, Maria Damanaki tells MPs some species should go to charities.
Source for this article :
 , environment correspondent at the guardian.co.uk

Fish from European waters will be distributed to the poor as an alternative to throwing them away at sea, the EU fisheries chief told MPs on Thursday, as part of a sweeping reform of marine policy.
Maria Damanaki, the European commissioner for fisheries, said that as part of a proposed new deal with fishermen aimed at ending the wasteful practice of discarding edible fish at sea, lower value fish could be distributed to charities and other public organisations.
Appearing before the House of Commons select committee on environment, food and rural affairs, she said: "We can use these for charitable purposes, [though] we will have to give fishermen compensation if they give fish to the poor."
Damanaki is seeking the most wide-ranging reform of the EU's common fisheries policy since it was formulated more than four decades ago. Key to the reforms will be an end to the practice of discards, by which as much as two-thirds of the catch of some species are abandoned at sea, almost all of them to die. About 1m tonnes are estimated to be thrown back each year into the North Sea alone. Discards are a byproduct of the rules on fishing quotas – when fishermen exceed their allowance, or net species for which they lack a quota, they must throw the excess back.
But the commissioner faces stiff opposition from fishing groups and some member states, because forcing fishermen to land all their catch will mean lower incomes. Current practices allow fleets to discard damaged fish, or lower value species, for which they receive less money, in order to maximise their profits.
Damanaki called on consumers to urge governments, retailers and thefishing industry to abandon discards and manage the EU's fish stocks more sustainably. "We could not do this without the support of consumers," she said. "I would encourage people to make responsible choices [in the fish they eat] and keep up the pressure."
Earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition against discards spearheaded by Guardian food writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Damanaki also wants an end to subsidies paid for scrapping fishing vessels. Although about €1bn was spent on compensation for fishermen who agreed to scrap their vessels between 2007 and this year, the total capacity of the EU fleet rose by 3% a year over that period – in part because fishermen used their compensation money to invest in bigger vessels.
There is already a ready-made model for distributing excess goods fromEurope to charities and people on low incomes, in the form of the food for the poor initiative, that covers agricultural products. Lower value catch that cannot be eaten could be turned into fishmeal, used as feed in fish farms. In addition, fishermen would have to receive compensation for any juvenile fish they caught, because allowing them to sell such fish would act as a perverse incentive to catch them.
A few types of fish that can survive after they are thrown back, such as small sharks, would still be allowed to be discarded, under the plans.
But Damanaki acknowledged that the levels of compensation would be difficult to set. "You have to give some money, enough [to encourage fleets] to be honest, but not too much – you want them to use selective gear [that would exclude smaller fish]."
The fisheries commission is seeking €6.7bn in budget for the next seven years, which will be used to help fishermen move out of the industry and find new ways to make a living, such as by turning their boats to leisure uses or pursuing innovative schemes such as rounding up plastic from the seas for recycling. Money will also be made available to build new infrastructure, such as cold storage facilities, to ensure fewer fish go to waste.
Damanaki's proposals are now under consideration by the European Parliament and the EU Council, and will be debated next year. If they pass without a mauling by member states, they could become law as soon as the end of next year.

October 27, 2011

Mail from Alex - Industry seems to know more about the ISA virus in BC

With the huge pressure Alexandra Morton, Don Staniford and Anissa Reed and all the great environmental organizations are creating for the Fish Farm industry, by constanly seeking for answers to all the questions in this VERY serious situation. An outbreak of a virus in this scale se are witnessing right now, will without no doubt create some very serious reractions from the whole surrounding biotope.
I get this strange consern that "something suddenly will happen" to some of these guy's since it's such huge amounts of money we are talking about - so we simply have to support these people and the organizations behind them, by simply not buying these fish farm products.


Don't forget:  consumer power rules!!!!


Dear Minister Ashfield;
On October 25 you published a letter in the Vancouver Sun saying the ISA virus has not been confirmed:
http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Before%20judging%20agencies%20investigate%20infected%20salmon/5601082/story.html?mid=510
Below is an email forwarded to me today from a member of the public from the bcsalmonfacts.cawebsite. When you visit this site you see it is sponsored by:
The BC Salmon Farmers Association
EWOS
Grieg Seafood
Mainstream
Marine harvest
Skretting
In the email below, the author with an email address from this site says: “Regardless of proof, this news is of concern to BC salmon farmers. Although this particular strain of ISA is of a non-pathogenic genotype (non lethal), the Atlantic salmon is quite susceptible to certain strains of ISA.
Minster Ashfield, how does the industry know this is the “non-pathogenic genotype” ISA virus?
The bcsalmonfacts.ca email author seems not only assured that this is ISA virus, but also has more information about this than appeared on the Kibenge report. Is this information coming from your Moncton Lab? Please confirm whether the federal government knows if the ISAv genotype found in the two Rivers Inlet sockeye salmon is of the non-pathogenic strain.

Alexandra Morton
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2011 19:55:25 -0700
Subject: Re: Contact Us Form
From: info@bcsalmonfacts.ca

Hi Toby, the goal of this website is simply to present the facts and create discussion about salmon aquaculture in BC. And yes, we believe that by giving people the chance to discuss the benefits and risks about BC salmon farming that it will improve perception of our business.
We disagree that the Cohen Commission “showed how scientists were being suppressed”. We can only assume that you are referring to Dr. Kristi Miller, and would suggest that you read the Cohen Commission transcripts on the days when Dr. Miller testified. http://www.cohencommission.ca/en/Schedule/Transcripts/CohenCommission-HearingTranscript-2011-08-25.pdf#zoom=100
Regarding the ISA, researchers at Simon Fraser University allege the Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (ISAv) has been discovered in two juvenile sockeye salmon taken from the freshwater river system of Rivers Inlet area. The test results are now being verified by the CFIA.
Some activist individuals and groups have been quick to finger BC farmed salmon as a vector for this disease, but it’s very important to note that BC farm-raised salmon has been thoroughly tested for the presence of the ISA virus. Almost 5000 samples have been tested over the past 8 years right up until last week. All tests have been negative – that is, no ISA has been found in BC farmed salmon. http://www.commissioncohen.ca/en/Exhibits.php?num=15 (exhibit #1471)
Regardless of proof, this news is of concern to BC salmon farmers. Although this particular strain of ISA is of a non-pathogenic genotype (non lethal), the Atlantic salmon is quite susceptible to certain strains of ISA. Studies have shown ISA is of low risk to Pacific salmon “Pacific salmon species are at relatively low risk should ISA spread to the west coast of North America” (Rolland and Winton 2003). http://www.commissioncohen.ca/en/Exhibits.php?num=15 (exhibit #1464)
So, knowing that BC farmed salmon are not the source of the virus we encourage researchers to learn more about what was potentially discovered and how, if it is actually present in juvenile sockeye, it may have spread to BC. For more information: http://www.salmonfarmers.org/update-suspect-findings-isa-british-columbia
The most recent update (October 21st) from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Minister of Agriculture and Agrifoods Canada confirms that these initial ISA test results are now being verified by federal officials through established processes. Concerns over proper testing protocols have also been brought into question. Please see this article for more info: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/media/statement-declarations/2011/20111024-eng.htm
Lastly, like any good farmer, BC salmon farmers will grow our fish wherever we can viably meet the needs of our fish and our business – be that on land or in ocean. To reads our statement on “closed-containment” farming, please see this: http://www.bcsalmonfacts.ca/forum/#!/752208e9b5
Thanks,
BC Salmon Facts

Obama Admin. Approves BP’s Plans to Drill in Gulf of Mexico


Do we humans never learn anything??????


Source and link to this article from FRONTLINE


On Friday, the Obama administration approved BP’s first plan to drill oil in the Gulf of Mexico since the April 2010 explosion that killed 11 workers at the company’s Deepwater Horizon rig.
The approval by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) came despite the fact that BP is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation and was recently cited by the Department of the Interior for numerous safety and environmental violations in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
“It shows that BP’s record in the gulf and across the country didn’t really have any bearing in the government’s decision to permit its plans,” said Abrahm Lustgarten, who has extensivelycovered the gulf spill for ProPublica and whose forthcoming book Run to Failure goes behind the scenes of the disaster. Lustgarden and ProPublica contributed reporting to our 2010 film,The Spill.
But BP does not currently warrant special scrutiny or attention, BOEM deputy director Walter Cruickshank told Lusgarten on a panel at the Society of Environmental Journalists Conference on Friday. Until there is a conviction that affects its eligibility, the criteria to evaluate BP’s qualifications will be the same as any other operator, Cruickshank explained.
BOEM approved BP’s plan to drill up to four exploratory wells nearly 200 miles from the coast of Louisiana after the bureau completed a “site-specific environmental assessment” of the activities in the plan.
“Our review of BP’s plan included verification of BP’s compliance with the heightened standards that all deepwater activities must meet,” said Tommy Beaudreau, BOEM’s director,in a statement. The statement also referenced “additional safety enhancements and performance standards” that BP announced in July it would voluntarily implement related to its deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico
But the approval has come under fire by some members of Congress.
“Comprehensive safety legislation hasn’t passed Congress, and BP hasn’t paid the fines they owe for their spill, yet BP is being given back the keys to drill in the gulf,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey, (D-Mass.) of the House Natural Resources Committee.
Before it can begin any drilling under the plan, BP must obtain drilling permits from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which will “continue to assess the information that is necessary to allow specific activities.”
Bonus: BP’s Troubled Past: Investigative reporting and documents — some never before published — on major incidents at BP facilities over the past decade that grabbed headlines and raised questions about the company’s record and the government’s oversight.

New really great edition of Fly fishers Inc. out now


You should defiantly check out this edition right away - it's one of the best editions ever from these guy's, with some absolutely great shoots of dry fly fishing of browns.

Here is just a examples of the photo coverage you will find in this edition.

(click on pic's for a larger view)



Click on this direct link to get right to this new super great edition 

October 26, 2011

Deadly salmon virus and saving Bristol Bay wild salmon fishery



Go directly to the source of this article - click HERE - on the NRDC logo above.


Deadly salmon virus - one more reason to protect Bristol Bay's wild salmon fishery


Sylvia Fallon’s Blog


You may have heard that the voters of Bristol Bay Alaska approved an initiative earlier this week to protect the Alaska wild salmon fishery from the massive Pebble Mine and other large-scale extraction that would damage salmon habitat.  You may not have heard that, on the same day, scientists announced the discovery of the presence of a deadly salmon virus in British Columbia that could threaten the entire Pacific Northwest fisheries.
The infectious salmon anemia virus (ISV) was first found in Norway in 1984 and quickly spread throughout Europe.  It largely only affects Atlantic salmon, but has been accidentally introduced via fish farming to areas such as Chile where the virus devastated the industry – causing millions of salmon deaths, driving the global price of salmon up and laying off more than a thousand Chilean workers.
What is most troubling about this week’s discovery is that the virus was detected in wild salmon from the Pacific rather than farmed Atlantic salmon.  Scientists are working to confirm the results and expand sampling to determine the source of the infection and the extent to which it may have already spread.  But if wild Pacific salmon are indeed susceptible to this disease then the entire Pacific Northwest salmon industry – from Oregon and Washington all the way up to Alaska – is at risk.
Viruses are persistent and highly adaptable and no country that has ever detected this particular salmon virus has been able to eliminate it.  Farmed fish are particularly susceptible to disease because they are confined to pens and limited in genetic diversity.  This gives wild salmon an advantage against the disease.  In fact, the best defense against a virus like this is robust populations of genetically diverse salmon in which inherent variability is more likely to demonstrate some natural resistance. 
Fortunately for the Pacific Northwest, Bristol Bay is home to the largest and most diverse wild salmon fishery in the world.  If this virus begins to wreak havoc on wild populations in British Columbia and surrounding areas, Bristol Bay salmon may be the salmon fishing industry’s best hope of surviving a major collapse.  That is, if Bristol Bay salmon are allowed to remain the tremendous resource they currently are.
The proposed construction of Pebble mine, a massive copper and gold mine, at the headwaters of Bristol Bay threatens to compromise the entire area’s salmon fishery.  Due to the sulfides in the ore, Pebble’s deposits are at high risk for acid rock drainage and metal leaching.  This pollution would likely be lethal to Bristol Bay’s famed salmon runs.  For example, research shows that even small amounts of copper (an increase of as little as two parts per billion over background levels) can be toxic enough to impair olfaction, which is critical to salmon migration, spawning and survival.  In a promising move, however, residents there passed an initiative earlier this week that would prevent large-scale mining that would destroy or degrade salmon habitat.
But the salmon are not safe yet.  The Pebble Partnership is challenging the initiative in court and is determined to move forward with their project despite strong community opposition and the many inevitable disastrous environmental effects.  The residents know that the value of the renewable resource of salmon that they and their ancestors have relied on for centuries far outweighs the fleeting pursuit of limited minerals.  Given the news of the virus, their vote turned out to be a prescient move.
Bristol Bay’s wild salmon fishery is too important to put at risk.  It’s time to say No to Pebble.

Plastic pollution from washing machines.



Source to this article The New York Times 
Click HERE to get right to this article

From the Washer to the Sea: Plastic Pollution
By LESLIE KAUFMAN

When most people think of plastic pollution in the sea, they tend to picture bottles washing up on beaches, say, or the vast garbage patch in the Pacific.
What few may realize is that waste water from washing machines is an important source of plastic pollution in oceans, according to a recent article in Environmental Science and Technology.
Over the last decade, scientists have become increasingly alarmed about a type of pollution that cannot be seen. Micrometer-size fragments of plastics like acrylic, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyamide and polyester have contaminated the surface waters of the northeast Atlantic as well as shoreline habitats in Britain, Singapore and India, the researchers write.
To discover the sources of the microplastics, a team of scientists led by Mark Anthony Browne, a biologist with University College in Dublin, took samples from shore environments on six continents.The scientists said there was evidence that the microplastics are being eaten by animals, who store them in their tissues and cells for months with probably negative consequences for their health and that of the humans who eat marine creatures.
Researchers found that the proportions of synthetic fibers in marine sediments were akin to those found in artificial textiles. Examining washing-machine waste water, they found that 1,900 fibers can rinse off a single garment during a wash cycle and that those fibers look just like the microplastic debris on shorelines.
As the human population increases, they say, the problem is likely grow.
The authors suggest that clothing and washing machine designers need to be aware of the problem and to seek ways to reduce the release of fibers into waste water.

October 25, 2011

Shark finning has to stop - here is another example of this cruel human behavior

Shark massacre reported in Colombian waters

Environmental authorities say up to 2,000 hammerhead, Galápagos and whale sharks were slaughtered for their fins.

Colombian environmental authorities have reported a huge shark massacre in the Malpelo wildlife sanctuary in Colombia's Pacific waters, where as many as 2,000 hammerhead, Galápagos and silky sharks may have been slaughtered for their fins.
Sandra Bessudo, the Colombian president's top adviser on environmental issues, said a team of divers who were studying sharks in the region reported the mass killing in the waters surrounding the rock-island known as Malpelo, some 500 kilometres from the mainland.
"I received a report, which is really unbelievable, from one of the divers who came from Russia to observe the large concentrations of sharks in Malpelo. They saw a large number of fishing trawlers entering the zone illegally," Bessudo said. The divers counted a total of 10 fishing boats, which all were flying the Costa Rican flag.
"When the divers dove, they started finding a large number of animalswithout their fins. They didn't see any alive," she said. One of the divers provided a video that shows the finless bodies of dead sharks on the ocean floor.
Calculating an average of 200 sharks per boat, "our estimates are that as many as 2,000 sharks may have been killed," Bessudo said.
The sanctuary covers 8,570 square kilometres of marine environment that provides a habitat for threatened marine species – in particular sharks. Divers have reported sightings of schools of more than 200 hammerhead sharks and as many as 1,000 silky sharks in the protected waters, one of the few areas in the world where sightings of short-nosed ragged-toothed shark, known locally as the "Malpelo monster," have been confirmed. In 2006 Unesco included the park on its list of World Heritage sites.
Bessudo, a marine biologist, has spent much of her career in Malpelo and fighting to preserve the unique marine environment there.
But the high concentration of sharks in Malpelo and the remoteness of the marine sanctuary draws illegal fishing boats from nearby nations which trap the sharks, strip them of their fins, and throw them back into the water. Shark fin soup, considered a delicacy of Chinese cuisine, can fetch £63 per bowl in a Hong Kong restaurant.
Colombia's navy sporadically patrols the waters and maintains a small outpost on the 1.2 square kilometre island, which is 36 hours from the nearest port. At the time of the reported shark finnings, however, no navy ships were nearby.
Once the report of the finnings were made public, the navy dispatched a ship to the area and on Sunday reported the seizure of an Ecuadorian fishing boat, caught with an illegal catch of 300kg, including sharks and other species.
At the same time, Colombia's foreign ministry took up the issue with the Costa Rican government, which vowed to co-operate to help stop the practice by ships registered under its flag.
In a communiqué, the Costa Rican foreign ministry said it "energetically condemns" the reported finning and said it would prosecute if the participation of Costa Rican flagged ships were involved. At least three of the ships were identified by their names: the Marco Antonio, the Jefferson and the Papante.
• This article was amended on Wednesday 19 October. The original mentioned "hammerhead, Galápagos and whale sharks", and "the Marco Antonio, the Jefferson and the Andy". These errors have been corrected. The unit of measurement has also been changed from metre to kilometre for the island.