Best of our wild blogs: 31 May 13

Big Bryozoan on Day 11 of the Southern Expedition
from Mega Marine Survey of Singapore

Exploring Base Camp on Day 11 at the Southern Expedition from wild shores of singapore

Jobs in freshwater ecology: Research Assistants and Research Associates from The Biodiversity crew @ NUS and Jobs in freshwater ecology: Laboratory Assistant, Casual Employment, two positions
from The Biodiversity crew @ NUS

Updates from the Zone Captains’ recces: beach closures this year from News from the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

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Sharks worth more for tourism than in soup: study

Alister Doyle Reuters Yahoo News 31 May 13;

OSLO (Reuters) - Sharks swimming free in the oceans may soon become more valuable as tourist attractions than when caught, sliced up and served in soup, a global study showed on Friday.

It urged better protection for the fish, from Australia to the Caribbean, to reduce catches of an estimated 38 million a year to meet demand for shark fin soup, mainly in China.

"We are hoping that people will recognize that sharks are not only valuable on the plate," lead author Andres Cisneros-Montemayor of the University of British Columbia in Canada said.

Shark-watching tourism generates about $314 million a year and is projected to surge to $780 million in the next 20 years, according to the study in the journal Oryx - The International Journal of Conservation.

By contrast, the landed value of world shark fisheries is now $630 million a year and has been declining, according to the experts in Canada, the United States and Mexico.

In recent years Palau, the Maldives, Honduras, Tokelau, The Bahamas, the Marshall Islands, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia and New Caledonia have created sanctuaries by banning commercial shark fishing.

"Many countries have a significant financial incentive to conserve sharks and the places where they live," said Jill Hepp, director of global shark conservation at the Pew Charitable Trusts which took part in the study. Pew urged more sanctuaries.

The study is one of many about how to aid world fisheries, hit by pollution and over-fishing. Tourism draws almost 600,000 people annually to watch sharks from hammerheads to great whites, supporting 10,000 jobs in 29 countries, it said.

One problem is the separate sources of demand - Asian lovers of shark fin soup are unlikely to abandon the dish in favor of tourism, which has so far been mainly for Westerners.

Fishermen need to see a higher value from organizing tourism - such as running boat trips to view sharks or renting scuba gear - than from killing them for fins, said Carl Gustaf Lundin, director of the global marine program at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which was not involved in the study.

(Editing by Andrew Roche)

Sharks Worth More in the Ocean Than On the Menu
ScienceAlert 30 May 13;

Sharks are worth more in the ocean than in a bowl of soup, according to researchers from the University of

A new study, published today in Oryx -- The International Journal of Conservation, shows that shark ecotourism currently generates more than US$314 million annually worldwide and is expected to more than double to US$780 million in the next 20 years.

In comparison, the landed value of global shark fisheries is currently US$630 million and has been in decline for the past decade. An estimated 38 million sharks were killed in 2009 to feed the global fin trade alone.

"The emerging shark tourism industry attracts nearly 600,000 shark watchers annually, directly supporting 10,000 jobs," says Andres Cisneros-Montemayor, a PhD candidate with UBC's Fisheries Economics Research Unit and lead author of the study. "It is abundantly clear that leaving sharks in the ocean is worth much more than putting them on the menu."

"Sharks are slow to mature and produce few offspring," says Rashid Sumaila, senior author and director of UBC's Fisheries Centre. "The protection of live sharks, especially through dedicated protected areas, can benefit a much wider economic spectrum while helping the species recover."

The research team from UBC, the University of Hawaii and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur in Mexico examined shark fisheries and shark ecotourism data from 70 sites in 45 countries. Almost $124 million in tourism dollars were generated annually in the Caribbean from shark tourism, supporting more than 5,000 jobs. In Australia and New Zealand, 29,000 shark watchers help generate almost $40 million in tourism expenditure a year.

Journal Reference:

Andrés M. Cisneros-Montemayor, Michele Barnes-Mauthe, Dalal Al-Abdulrazzak, Estrella Navarro-Holm, U. Rashid Sumaila. Global economic value of shark ecotourism: implications for conservation. Oryx, 2013; : 1 DOI: 10.1017/S0030605312001718

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Protecting environment key to ending poverty, finds UN High Level Panel

WWF 30 May 13;

Gland: Taxes, incentives, regulations, subsidies, trade and public procurement need to be realigned to favour sustainable consumption and production patterns if the world wants to end poverty, according to the UN High Level Panel charged with setting the new direction for global development.

“Without environmental sustainability we cannot end poverty,” said the UN’s High Level Panel on the post-2015 Development Agenda.

The report of the 26-member panel, which included UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Queen Rania of Jordan and Unilever CEO Paul Polman, has the potential to influence over USD 25 trillion of development spending and marks a clear break from the practice of treating development and sustainability as separate topics.

“The Millennium Development Goals were a first global attempt to address poverty and other development challenges but protection of the environment was barely acknowledged and hardly addressed,” said Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International.

“Nearly fifteen years on, there is finally recognition that poverty cannot be eradicated and the well-being of people across the globe cannot be secured without addressing the grave pressures on the environment and the natural systems that support human life on this planet,” Leape added.

The report calls for hard-hitting measures to be taken in both developed and developing countries to reduce the impacts of consumption, production, trade, waste and pollution.

The Panel’s findings have the potential to influence over USD 25 trillion of international resource flows to developing countries and redrafting government and corporate behaviours.

“We came to the conclusion that the moment is right to merge the poverty and environmental tracks guiding international development” states the Panel report.

The Panel underlined the inadequacies of GDP measure of progress for mandatory social and environmental reporting by all companies with a market capitalisation above USD 100 million.

Proposed goals to secure food, water and energy for a growing world population should include key targets to safeguarding sustainable agriculture, fisheries, freshwater systems and energy supplies, the report said.

The High Level Panel also affirmed that the new development agenda is a global one.

“The world has changed since the MDGs were agreed,” said Jim Leape.

“The global financial and economic crises have shown that poverty and growing inequality are problems for all countries. Production and consumption choices in one place have environmental impacts across the globe.”

“We now look to all countries to build on the High Level Panel’s report and agree an ambitious set of goals and targets that will spur urgent action,” said Leape.

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