Best of our wild blogs: 26 Jan 12

Chinese New Year Intertidal Escapade
from Singapore Scene Gone Natural

Lunar New Year's Eve @ LT
from Beauty of Fauna and Flora in Nature

Clammy evening at Changi
from wild shores of singapore

two little grebes @ lorong halus - Jan2012
from sgbeachbum

Year of the Dragon: The "Dragon Cats"
from Lazy Lizard's Tales

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Work may start soon on two petrochemical projects at Jurong Island

Investments for Lanxess and PCS plants may add up to $500m
Ronnie Lim 26 Jan 12;

DESPITE eurozone concerns, the go-ahead is expected soon for two planned petrochemical investments totalling over $500 million on Jurong Island.

The first is Lanxess' 200 million euro (S$330.7 million) Nd-PBR plant - the German group's second synthetic rubber facility here to supply to China and other Asian markets - which is looking 'very positive' to proceed, BT understands.

The second is Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore's planned C4 downstream plant, costing US$100-150 million, to supply feedstock to Lanxess' upcoming neodymium polybutadiene (Nd-PBR) project.

'We are looking to a final investment decision from the board for the project by end-March or early April,' PCS' deputy managing director Liew Jian Sheng told BT yesterday.

Lanxess' chairman Axel Heitmann told BT last September that despite the economic problems in Europe and the United States, it was staying on course with its Nd-PBR investment here - the second after a 400 million euro butyl rubber plant it is currently building. 'We are working hard to get all the approvals, and we expect to break ground on the Nd-PBR project by Q2, 2012,' he said.

Supporting this optimism that Lanxess will proceed with the Nd-PBR investment, PCS' Mr Liew said that to-date he has not had any indication otherwise.

PCS' C4 project - to extract butadiene - was, after all, key to Lanxess' decision to choose Singapore as the site for its Nd-PBR investment.

'A significant portion of the C4 plant's 100,000 tonnes per annum output will go to Lanxess,' Mr Liew said.

With Lanxess' Nd-PBR plant slated to start up in the first half of 2015, work on PCS' C4 plant will have to be concurrent.

'We want to get the C4 project going first, before we look at other projects,' Mr Liew said, when asked about PCS' earlier-disclosed plans for other upgrading investments at the $5.4 billion petrochemicals complex.

'The outlook for the chemicals industry is not that rosy at the moment, and there are also eurozone fears,' he said.

PCS is a quarter owned each by Shell and Qatar Petroleum International, with a Japanese consortium led by Sumitomo Chemicals owning the remainder.

Still, Mr Heitmann reportedly said in an interview with Bloomberg in New York this month that he is confident about prospects in 2012, with markets like Brazil promising 'serious' double-digit growth for the synthetic rubber maker.

Demand for Lanxess's energy-efficient compounds and plastics, used in tyres and car parts, will also be untouched by any slowdown in countries like China, he said, adding that 'there won't be a slowdown for these technology-driven products in China'.

New factories coming on stream in Asia will give a boost to Lanxess's earnings, he added.

Asia, especially China, is the target market for synthetic rubber from the manufacturing base which Lanxess is building up in Singapore. This kicks off with its $696 million butyl rubber plant here which is scheduled to start commercial operations in Q1 next year.

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Indonesia: Orangutan Rehab Slow but Thorough

Fidelis E. Satriastanti Jakarta Globe 25 Jan 12;

Samboja Lestari, East Kalimantan. If a rehabilitation center meant to prepare orangutans for release into the wild is still packed with the apes, then the effort to protect the species has not been good enough, a leading conservationist says.

“If the rehabilitation center takes in more orangutans than it releases, that means we’ve failed,” Aschta Boestani Tajudin, the East Kalimantan regional program manager for the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, said during a recent visit to the BOSF rehabilitation center in Samboja Lestari.

“If we were to succeed, then this center would be closed down,” she said.

Since the 1990s, BOSF has worked to rehabilitate captive orangutans and reintroduce them back into the wild. It now has a total 850 orangutans in rehabilitation — 650 at a facility in Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan, and 200 in Samboja Lestari.

First, Quarantine

At the Nyaru Menteng facility, previously captive orangutans have to go through several steps of rehabilitation before they can return to their native habitat.

“The first and second steps are quarantine and socialization, which run for years,” said Denny Kurniawan, the program development leader for the BOSF in Nyaru Menteng.

“It’s during those stages that we familiarize them with their wild habits again.”

It’s a costly process. The foundation spends $3,500 a year for each orangutan in its care.

“That doesn’t include the cost for treating them if they fall sick,” Aschta said.

“If you’re going to release them, you need them to be healthy. Orangutans are easily infected with human diseases when they live among humans.

“Two common diseases are tuberculosis and hepatitis. You can never fully cure an orangutan of TB once it’s infected, and it’s contagious. If we find one orangutan with TB in a pack of 20, then the others must also go into quarantine.”

A single TB test for an orangutan costs Rp 550,000 ($62) and they must be carried out every three months.

Then, Retraining

Another cost is that of retraining the animals.

“Many of the orangutans that are sent to us act like humans because they are used to being around humans, and this isn’t good for them because it erases their basic instinct as primates,” Denny said.

To fix this, orangutans are taken to a group of small islands in the Sei Gohong River. These include the 108-hectare Kaja Island, where 45 orangutans are now undergoing rehabilitation for a year before they can be considered fit for release.

The long and painstaking rehabilitation process, Aschta said, is necessary to reverse the negative influence that humans can have on orangutans in captivity.

“Orangutans imitate what we do. They know just by watching us,” she said. “It’s so sad to see them being humanized. They can learn within months, but it takes many years to restore their original behavior.”

The orangutans receive training on finding food and building nests at the “forest school.” But only those who are less than 14 years old are eligible to return to the wild because the older ones don’t learn as easily.

“Releasing those that can’t build a nest is the same as sending them into a killing field,” Aschta said.

The rehabilitation center has taken care of more than 600 orangutans since it was established in 1998.

“We keep receiving more orangutans from people, but sadly we sometimes have to reject them because we have limited space,” Denny said.

The rejected animals are usually turned over to the local authorities.

Finally, Release

Of the 850 orangutans in the BOSF’s care, around 600 are ready to be set free while the rest are not considered healthy enough to survive in the wild.

The foundation last released 30 of the apes in the Meratus Mountains in South Kalimantan in 2002. Now it plans to let six go in East Kalimantan this April.

Its target, however, is to release all the captive animals by 2015.

Aschta said progress was slow because the foundation needed to find the right kind of habitat for the orangutans.

“There’s a misconception that orangutans just need virgin forest. They also need secondary forest and swamp areas,” she said. “They need a habitat that is 20 to 30 percent primary forest to make nests, but there should also be secondary forests for them to find food and socialize.

“Most importantly, however, is the need to ensure security, to guarantee that those areas won’t be converted within 30 years. In Indonesia, though, policies change when officials change.”

Orangutans, Aschta said, were an umbrella species, which meant they had a very wide scope of habitat. “So if we protect them, we can protect other species in that habitat,” she said.

To provide suitable habitats, the BOSF set up the company Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (Indonesian Orangutan Habitat Restoration), which was granted a concession for 86,000 hectares of land in East Kalimantan. The permit cost Rp 13 million.

“We get our funding from outside donors,” said Bungaran Saragih, the BOSF founder. “It’s a bit ironic that most of it comes from abroad instead of from our own people.”

For its next release in April, the BOSF plans to rent helicopters, at Rp 60 million an hour for nearly four hours, to transport the six orangutans to their new habitat.

“The last time, when we released 30 orangutans, it didn’t turn out very well, so we’re trying to release them in smaller groups,” Aschta said.

“It was a very hard journey because we needed to walk six to eight hours, carrying the cages deep into the forest. But now we’ll use helicopters and keepers will check on the cages regularly.”

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Save the Apes and You Save the Forests: Scientists

Ronna Nirmala Jakarta Globe 25 Jan 12;

Developing primate conservation projects, particularly for great apes, can contribute toward the long-term health of forests and to carbon sequestration schemes, scientists contend.

Ian Redmond, a tropical field biologist and conservationist, said primates and other fruit-eating animals were crucial to forests because of their role in seed dispersal.

“Fruit-eating animals have been long known to play a very important role in the life cycle of tropical forests, with between 75 to 95 percent of tree species having their seeds dispersed by such animals,” he said.

But that key role, he warned, is in jeopardy because of human activity.

“I feel that we have to turn that around. I know that the only populations of great apes that are known to be increasing are the two tiny populations of mountain gorillas who got down to fewer than 300 each,” Redmond said.

“Other gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, gibbons are all declining.”

He is pushing for efforts to save the animals to be included in schemes to reduce carbon emissions through deforestation and forest degradation, known as REDD Plus. That way, he says, money for these projects can also go toward primate conservation schemes.

“Conservation is not an optional extra that you might add on if it’s convenient,” Redmond said.

“It’s integral [to REDD Plus]. If you want to have permanence in your forest carbon store, you need the animals as well as the plants.”

He said Indonesia was one of the countries that was best placed to push these efforts because it was home to the endangered orangutan, the only great ape species in Asia.

Others species such as chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos are only found in Africa.

“The hope is that there will be a realization that forests are not just an ornamental part of our planet, but that they are integral to the function of our biosphere and future survival,” Redmond said. ”

Laura D’Arcy, the Zoological Society of London’s co-country coordinator in Indonesia, said these efforts could start with preserving peat forests for their high carbon content.

“This would benefit orangutans who prefer these habitats compared to tropical forests on mineral soil, because the high water level in peatlands allows flowers and fruit to be available all year long for orangutans,” she said.

Eleven of 17 active REDD projects being carried out in Indonesia are in peat swamp forests. D’Arcy said this was a “win-win” situation for apes and humans alike because of the high value of carbon that could be offset for emissions caused by the conversion of forests to palm oil plantations elsewhere.

“Peat swamp forests have low-yield production of palm oil, reducing the cost of carbon emissions required in areas with high density,” she said.

“But that’s bad news for more high-yield, mineral soils, which are more biodiverse than peat forests.”

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Only 4 percent of Philippines coral reefs in excellent health

GMANet 24 Jan 12;

Most of the country's coral reefs are in dire condition, putting the Philippines' food security at risk, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) officials said on Tuesday.

Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau director Mundita Lim said only 4% of the country’s coral reefs, estimated at 26,000 square kilometers, are in “excellent condition.”

“The rest are candidates for restoration,” she said in a forum at the United Nations Environment Programme’s Land-Ocean Connection Conference.

Of the 800 coral species in the world, 500 can be found in the Philippines, making its seas one of the most diverse in the world. But Philippine coral reefs have deteriorated over the years because of over-exploitation, illegal fishing practices, marine pollution, and rising ocean temperature and acidification.

“Our coasts and seas have suffered heavy degradation wrought by over half a century of destructive practices,” Lim during her presentation.

“The World Resource Institute released a study only this year that the Philippines is one of the nine countries in the world with high to very high exposure to coral reef threats, but low to medium adaptive capacity,” she added.

Lim said the DENR and the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute are studying areas that will be prioritized for rehabilitation.

Coral reefs are considered underwater forests because of their complex ecosystem that supports a huge amount of wildlife. They are also carbon sinks and a major mitigator of climate change.

For 2012, Lim said the DENR will rehabilitate 5 hectares of coral reefs. In 2013, it will be increased to 200 hectares.

The Philippines would also be increasing its marine protected areas, which is cost-effective way of protecting coral reefs and marine life. This would ensure that communities would have a hand in protecting the ecosystem, which is also the source of their livelihood.

At present, most of the funding for coral reef preservation comes from the private sector. What the government can do is to provide scientific and technical help to the private sector conservationists, Lim said.

UN and DENR officials said the Philippines and other countries should make sure that the impact of their land-based activities on marine life is reduced to save the world's oceans.

UNEP Director on Environmental Policy Ibrahim Thiaw has warned of exploding marine litter from cities, fertilizers, tourism and industrial activities.

He noted that dead zones are increasing in Asia. Dead zones refer to areas in the oceans where algal blooms, stimulated by fertilizers and sewage, consume all of the oxygen in the water, choking the life out of these areas.

Over 240,000 sq km of estuaries and shelf areas and some of the most productive waters are affected by this threat

Thiaw noted that dead zones in the developing world poses huge economic losses for countries dependent on marine resources.

Nations need to reverse the degradation of the world's oceans as billions of people depend on it for livelihood and food, Thiaw said.

According to a UN presentation yesterday, healthy reefs can produce up to 35 tons of fish per square kilometers.

In the Philippines, the seas supply more than 80% of the animal protein of the Filipino public, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said. More than 60% of the country's 96 million population live near the coast, he added.

The Bohol Coral Triangle, a major fishing ground, generates $3.4 million of revenues from fishing activities annually, the UN said. The reefs also attract tourists, another income generator for the province.

The effects of deteriorating ocean life is already felt in the Philippines.

The Department of Agriculture said the country’s commercial and municipal fish production declined last year by 16.3% and 2.9%, respectively.

The DA acknowledged that there has been a reduction in certain fish species, forcing them to impose closed fishing season in major spawning and fishing grounds.

Aside from the land-ocean connection conference, the first of its kind, the UNEP is also conducting a high-level Third Intergovernmental Review Meeting (IGR3) on the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environmen in Manila.

The GPA will craft a response to the threats against the world's oceans, Thiaw said.

Around 500 participants, 200 of whom from different countries around the world, are expected to attend the twin events organized by the UNEP.

The participants will include representatives from over 70 governments, as well as scientists and marine experts.

At the end of the meeting on Friday, a non-legally binding document that will guide countries on how to protect their seas and coasts, will be called the Manila Declaration.

It will be one of the inputs in the UN Rio + 20 Conference on Sustainable Development in June. — TJD, GMA News

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Great Barrier Reef on ice in Aussie Outback

Amy Coopes (AFP) Google News 25 Jan 12;

DUBBO, Australia — The arid plains fringing Australia's desert centre are more suited to camels than blooms of coral but here, hundreds of miles from the coast, a piece of the Great Barrier Reef has been put on ice.

Suspended in a liquid nitrogen chamber of minus-196 degrees Celsius (-320 Fahrenheit), the 70 billion sperm and 22 billion coral embryos are part of an ambitious Australian-first project to preserve and perhaps one day regenerate the world-famous reef.

"We know the Great Barrier Reef is in deep, deep trouble because of a number of different things -- global threats including climate change and acidification of waters as well as the warming of waters," said the project's director, Rebecca Spindler.

"We will never have as much genetic diversity again as we do right now on the reef, this is our last opportunity to save as much as we possibly can."

Spindler's team is working with Hawaii-based Mary Hagedorn from the Smithsonian Institute to collect and freeze samples from the World Heritage-listed reef, a sprawling and vivid natural wonder visible from space.

In order to maximise the amount of reproductive cells -- gametes -- collected the team cut away sections of the reef and took them back to land-based tanks to spawn, an event that only occurs for three days a year.

Experts from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, a major partner in the research, then tagged the reef sections and returned them to Orpheus Island, literally gluing them back to their original sites.

They plan to build up a catalogue of coral species as insurance against increasing bleaching linked to ocean warming and acidification and threats including chemical run-off, dredging and damage from cyclones and floods.

Eventually Spindler hopes to grow in-vitro reefs which can be used to reseed wild populations -- something she is "confident" will be possible in a few years time.

Experts at Dubbo's Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Australia's top wildlife reproductive lab, keep the frozen reef ticking over with regular liquid nitrogen top-ups while they explore optimal conditions for reviving and mating the coral.

Some 400 kilometres (248 miles) inland from the coast and far closer to desert than ocean, Dubbo seems an unlikely location for marine research.

Giraffes, rhinos and elephants roam the 300-hectare (740-acre) zoo and the lab, which backs onto a mating enclosure for the endangered Tasmanian devil, is a hive of hormonal experiments using animal droppings and urine.

Spermologist Nana Satake did her doctorate in pig reproduction and usually works with African and native animals, but she sees the Reef Recovery Project as an exciting challenge.

"The Great Barrier Reef is really a bit of an enigma -- there's very little (research been) done on coral reef production from (its) coral species," Satake said, describing it as the "rainforest of the ocean".

"Coral is one of the most unique species of the world, really of any organism, because they actually have all types of reproduction -- they can reproduce asexually and sexually."

Once more had been learned from this initial round of samples, taken from two foundational types of coral, Satake said work could be done on more endangered species "which the Great Barrier Reef has quite a few of".

Spindler said Australia's corals had so far dodged the kind of damage from climate change, disease and human impacts seen in the world's other reefs but described the next few years as critical, with some species already feared lost.

"We've had a little bit (of damage), but really just a taste, and I think the next five years are going to be incredibly important in terms of maintaining the health of the reef and capturing as much of that genetic diversity as we possibly can," she said.

Any loss of the reef -- worth some Aus$6 billion in tourism annually -- would be devastating, and not only to the one-third of all marine species that occupy a reef at some point in their lives, she added.

"We also know they provide, just physically, structures (that) keep wave action down and stop areas from being impacted by tidal waves," said Spindler.

"Ecologically, economically and socially we can't lose these reefs, we just can't."

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Protecting the seas is good business: UN

AFP Yahoo News 26 Jan 12;

The worldwide fishing industry could benefit from a $50 billion boost annually if stocks were allowed time to recover, the UN said Wednesday.

Already 32 percent of the world's fish stocks have been depleted by years of overfishing and poor coastal management, according to a UN Environment Programme report released in the Philippine capital Manila.

"The potential economic gain from reducing fishing capacity to an optimal and restoring fish stocks is in the order of $50 billion per annum," a summary of the UN report said, without giving details on how the figure was reached.

The report said overfishing, pollution from land-based farming and industry, and the destruction of habitat, including coral reefs and mangroves, were all having an effect on fish stocks.

This was directly affecting the 540 million people around the world who are dependent on the fishing industry, experts at the launch of the "Green Economy in a Blue World" report said.

Cutting pollution would help fish stocks and fishermen's catches to rebound, Amina Mohammed, deputy executive director of the UN programme, said.

"Many ocean industries and businesses stand to benefit directly from cleaner, more ecologically robust marine ecosystems," she said.

While overfishing reduces fish stocks, pollution from the overuse of fertiliser in farming is also a major problem, she said.

The fertiliser washes into the sea, resulting in runaway growth of algae which sucks up all the oxygen in the waters and causes fish to "drown".

Experts have said there are over 500 oxygen-deprived "dead zones" in waters around the world created in such a way.

Europe could save at least $100 million annually just through improvements in fertiliser use to stop it affecting the oceans, said Linwood Pendleton, an oceans and coast expert from the US's Duke University.

Marine specialist Raphael Lotilla said that as much as 49 percent of all fertiliser used in Philippine farms ended up being washed into the sea.

"Let's work with farmers to figure out what is the right amount of fertiliser so everyone wins," Mohammed said.

The UN report also said marine-based renewable energy sources like wind, wave and tidal power, have huge potential but are not yet cost competitive.

It called for "long-term policies and targeted financial support from governments" such as grants, subsidies and tax credits, to improve the technology and bring costs down.

It also called for more measures to curb destruction of coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and other marine habitats, as well as measures to prevent the spread of "invasive species" carried by ships' hulls.

Such species cause an estimated $100 billion in losses each year, the report said, without giving further details.

Green investments in the marine sector can bring tide of economic and social benefits
Sustainable fishing, shipping and tourism among sectors that could create jobs and growth
FAO 25 Jan 12;

25 January, Manila/Nairobi - Healthy seas and coasts would pay healthy dividends in a green economy, according to a report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), WorldFish Center and GRID-Arendal, that highlights the huge potential for economic growth and poverty eradication from well-managed marine sectors.

The report, Green Economy in a Blue World, argues that the ecological health and economic productivity of marine and coastal ecosystems, which are currently in decline around the globe, can be boosted by shifting to a more sustainable economic approach that taps their natural potential - from generating renewable energy and promoting eco-tourism, to sustainable fisheries and transport.

It highlights how the sustainable management of fertilizers would help reduce the cost of marine pollution caused by nitrogen and other nutrients used in agriculture, which is estimated at US$100 billion (EUR 80 billion) per year in the European Union alone.

With five months to go before world governments meet at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil, Green Economy in a Blue World presents a case to stimulate countries to unlock the vast potential of the marine-based economy in a paradigm shift that would significantly reduce degradation to our oceans, while alleviating poverty and improving livelihoods.

The synthesis report also examines how Small Island Developing States (SIDS), such as those in the Asia-Pacific and Caribbean regions, can take advantage of green economy opportunities to reduce their vulnerability to climate change and promote sustainable growth.

With as much as 40 per cent of the global population living within 100 kilometres of the coast, the world's marine ecosystems (termed the ‘Blue World' in the report) provide essential food, shelter and livelihoods to millions of people. But human impacts are increasingly taking their toll the health and productivity of the world's oceans.

Today, some 20 per cent of mangroves have been destroyed, and more than 60 per cent of tropical coral reefs are under immediate, direct threat.

"Oceans are a key pillar for many countries in their development and fight to tackle poverty, but the wide range of ecosystem services, including food security and climate regulation, provided by marine and coastal environments are today under unprecedented pressure", said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. "Stepping up green investments in marine and coastal resources and enhancing international co-operation in managing these trans-boundary ecosystems are essential if a transition to low-carbon, resource efficient Green Economy is to be realized."

"In the run-up to Rio+20, this report shows that a shift to a Green Economy can if comprehensively implemented unlock the potential of marine ecosystems to fuel economic growth - particularly in small island developing states - but in ways that ensure that future generations derive an equitable share of marine resources and services, added Mr Steiner."

Árni Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General of FAO's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, said: "The food production potential of the oceans is at risk and with it the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people who depend on fisheries and aquaculture. If the current trend in unsustainable use of marine resources is not reverted the ability of our oceans to deliver food for future generations is severely compromised. Ocean fisheries and aquaculture are among humanity's best opportunities to deliver highly nutritious food to a growing population. To lose this opportunity would be a crime on future generations."

Linwood Pendleton, one of the contributors to the report, and Director of Ocean and Coastal Policy at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, said: "This report provides concrete examples of how emerging ocean industries-including ocean energy and aquaculture industries-can become more profitable, more sustainable, and meet the needs of a growing population without sacrificing the health of our fragile ocean ecosystems."

Green Economy in a Blue World lays out a series of recommendations across six marine-based economic sectors.

Fisheries and aquaculture

Approximately 30 per cent of the world's fish stocks are overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion and 50 per cent are fully exploited. According to FAO and World Bank estimates, the world economy can gain up to USD 50 billion annually by restoring fish stocks and reducing fishing capacity to an optimal level.

Aquaculture, the fastest growing food production sector, is creating new jobs, contributing to trade balances, and helping meet rising global demand for fish but, when poorly planned, it can increase pressure on the already suffering marine and coastal ecosystems.

Adoption of green technologies and investments to lower fossil fuel use could dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of the sector while enhancing its contribution to economic growth, food and nutrition security and poverty reduction. Green technologies include low-impact fuel-efficient fishing methods and innovative aquaculture production systems using environmentally friendly feeds.

Strengthening regional and national fisheries agencies, as well as community and trade fishing associations and cooperatives, will be critical to the sustainable and equitable use of marine resources. Small-scale producers and traders in developing countries make up the majority of the 530 million fishery-dependent people in the world. There is a need for policies that ensure they have access to an equitable share of the benefits of ‘greener' fisheries and aquaculture.

Marine transport

International shipping transports around 90 per cent of world commerce and is the safest, most secure, most efficient and most environmentally sound means of bulk transportation. The sector already benefits from a global regulatory framework and agreements such as the MARPOL Convention, which regulate emissions of air pollutants and energy efficiency measures.

Further greening of the sector could be achieved, argues the report, by supporting countries to implement and enforce standards, switching ships to environmentally sound fuel sources and preventing the transfer of invasive aquatic species transported via ships' ballast water or hulls (the effects of which are estimated to cost US$100 billion a year), and addressing the technical, operational and environmental aspects of the increasing size of ships.

Marine-based renewable energy

Marine-based renewable energy (wind, wave and tidal) potential is high, yet in 2008 these energy technologies represented just one per cent of all renewable energy production.

Installed capacity is unlikely to become significant until after 2020, because, with the exception of offshore wind energy, most marine-based renewable energy technologies are in the conceptual or demonstration phase. Technical costs also remain a barrier.

Marine-based renewable energy also carries significant potential for green job creation. The type and scale of opportunity will vary according to national context and energy source.

To harness the potential of marine-based renewable energy to drive a green economy, the report recommends:

Consistent long-term policies, with specific targets for marine-based renewable energy, and targeted financial support from governments to overcome technical barriers. Incentives such as grants, subsidies and tax credits are required to encourage private investment to move from small prototypes to pilot plants.

Governments need to proactively guide developments to reduce potential for social environmental and legal conflicts and promote synergies with other marine users.

Ocean nutrient pollution

Fertilizers such as nitrogen and phosphorous are essential to global food security and have played a key role in increasing crop yields. But inefficient use of nutrients is contributing to the degradation of marine ecosystems and groundwater, including the formation of oxygen-poor ‘dead' zones.

The amount of nitrogen reaching oceans and coasts has increased three-fold from pre-industrial levels - primarily due to agricultural run-off and untreated sewage. This could expand by up to 2.7 times by 2050 under a ‘business as usual' scenario.

The report says nutrient pollution and can be reduced - and innovation, public-private partnerships and job creation enhanced - through:

• A ‘cyclical approach' including substantial recovery and recycling of waste nutrients

• Policy instruments that include stricter regulation of nutrient removal from wastewater, mandatory nutrient management plans in agriculture and enhanced regulation of manure.

• Subsidies that encourage nutrient recycling

Coastal tourism

The tourism economy represents 5 percent of global GDP and contributes 6 to 7 per cent of total employment. Estimates are that more than one-third of travellers favour environmentally friendly tourism.

There is considerable potential for creating more green jobs in the tourism sector, given that one job in the core industry is shown to create one and a half jobs in tourism-related sectors. Sourcing local products (from sustainable farming and fishing) and safeguarding local culture are examples of where green investments could be targeted.

Key steps outlined in the report include:

• Improving waste management to save money, create jobs and improve the appearance of tourism destinations

• Mobilising multi-sector partnerships and financing strategies to spread the costs and risks of green investments and support small and medium size enterprises (which represent the majority of tourism businesses).

• Investment in energy efficiency, which can generate significant returns within short payback periods

• Cross-sectoral consultation (between governments, communities and businesses) and integrated coastal zone management to help ensure sound development strategies in tourist areas that meet the needs of diverse stakeholders

Deep-sea minerals

Deep-sea minerals are a possible new revenue stream that could support national development goals. However, the deep-sea environment is one of the least understood regions of the planet and there is still only a rudimentary understanding of the ecosystems services that these environments support. Management of these resources must be informed by sound science and best environmental practices applied.

All stakeholders need to be considered when managing deep-sea mining activities in the context of sustainable use of oceans. Management practices should be holistic, based on an integrated overview of all present and future human uses and ecosystems services.

Green Economy in a Blue World

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