Best of our wild blogs: 22 May 18

26 May (Sat): Launch of children's books on Singapore's seagrasses and corals!
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

International Biodiversity Day 2018
BES Drongos

9 Jun (Sat): Be a Chek Jawa nature guide!
wild shores of singapore

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Malaysia: Stop oil spill at sea, Johor urged

steven daniel The Star 21 May 18;

KOTA TINGGI: Environmental groups have urged the new state government to solve the long-standing oil spill problem in Johor.

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Johor committee member Dr Sharan Sambhi said the state’s eastern coastline had been particu­larly prone to this problem because of the high number of international ships plying the route.

She said a group of non-governmental organisations, including MNS, StarSeed Solar Village and Selamat Sungai-Sungai Johor (Save Johor Rivers) had expressed their eagerness to work closely with the new administration to address the issue.

“It is high time we set up an early detection system as well as an emergency response team that can quickly combat oil spills in Johor,” she told StarMetro during a site visit to Tanjung Sutera near here where an oil spill was detected in March.

She said the groups’ extensive network comprising fishermen, villagers and tour operators could play a major role in the detection and emergency response stages.

She added that engaging them to be the eyes and ears was important as by the time oil sludge hit the coastline, it would be too late to detect the source of the oil spill and the culprits would have fled.

For example, Dr Sharan said the oil spill in March hit an almost 80km stretch of the coastline from Tanjung Balau near Benut to Tanjung Leman, including popular beaches in Tanjung Temalah and Pulau Sibu.

“What saddens me most is that nothing was done after we raised this to the relevant authorities.

“The oil sludge is still visible on the beach and rocks till now. It is not only an eyesore but also very damaging to the environment,” she said.

Environmentalists are especially concerned because oil spill will seriously affect a sanctuary for the critically-endangered dugong located near Pulau Sibu, about 10km from Tanjung Leman.

Villager Jemah Musa, 64, from Kampung Tanjung Sutera, said oil spills had been common since 40 years ago.

“I have lived here all my life. This problem has turned from bad to worse, and happens even more frequently in recent years,” she said.

She said one of the worst spillages happened in December, damaging fishing nets and equip­ment of over 300 fishermen from the Sedili area.

“My husband was also badly affected, there was no way to remove the sludge from our equipment which we had to eventually dispose of,” she said, adding that many fishermen suffered losses of up to several thousands of ringgit.

Newly-appointed Health, Environment and Agriculture executive chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal, when contacted, said he was still new to the position and would need time to discuss with relevant agencies before commenting on the matter.

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Indonesia: 19 hectares of land burned at Baluran National Park

Antara 22 May 18;

Situbondo, E Java (ANTARA News) - Some 19 hectares of lands at Baluran National Park in Situbondo District, East Java, was burned on Sunday (May 20), Sopan Arief Suprihandoko, head of fires prevention, said on Monday.

"Our rangers are now still counting the number of lands affected by the fires. The last record now is that 19,2208 hectares of land were burnt," he stated, while adding that the fires were allegedly man made.

Since 4:25 p.m. local time on Sunday (May 20), the fires scorched the T-12 Block at the national park, followed by another blaze at 8:30 p.m. local time.

Hours later, at 10:14 p.m. local time, the blazes had been put out by a joint force of the national park, the state-owned forestry company Perhutani, the district`s firefighter, and the community-based firefighters (MPA).

"Our job to extinguish fires had been challenged by heavy wind and dry leaves," Suprihandoko remarked.

After the incident, the authority will further investigate the cause.

"Some locals have claimed seeing some people start the fires, but we still have to probe this report," he stressed.

During the dry season, the national park authority called on people to avoid any activities that will trigger fires.

"Blazes had previously burned Cangkring Sector, before fires in T-12 Block," he noted.

The fires had burned not only the land in Baluran National Park but also several areas in Sumatra, especially Riau.

On Monday (May 21), the fire-prone Riau Province has considered extending the alert status to anticipate wildfires and haze, mainly ahead of Asian Games.

The fires alert status in Riau has been effective since Feb 19 to May 31. However, the final decision on the alert status will be declared on May 25, Edwar Sanger, head of Riau Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD), remarked in Pekanbaru on Monday.

In Riau Province, some 1.8 thousand hectares of land have been burned during the first five months this year.

Reported by Novi Husdinariyanto and Zumrotun Solichah
Editor: Heru Purwanto

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Indonesia: Smuggling of hundreds of parrots foiled at Soekarno-Hatta airport

Aman Rochman The Jakarta Post 21 May 18;

Authorities at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, have thwarted an attempt to smuggle 353 parrots to Medan, North Sumatra.

The parrots of different species were allegedly brought to the airport on Saturday by HA, a bird trader from Malang in East Java, who traveled on a Sriwijaya Air flight from Abdulrachman Saleh Airport, Malang.

The head of the East Java chapter of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Nandang Prihadi, said on Sunday that the illegal delivery of the 353 parrots was uncovered when the Sriwijaya Air aircraft was in transit at Soekarno-Hatta on its way to Medan.

“Information we received stated there was an illegal delivery of birds to Jakarta via a Sriwijaya Air flight. We tried to prevent the smuggling attempt by calling Abdulrachman Saleh Airport authorities. Unfortunately, the aircraft had already taken off,” said Nandang.

He then coordinated with officials from the BKSDA Jakarta, Sriwijaya Air and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport aviation security authorities to confiscate the parrots. They include red lory ( 78 ), dusky lory ( 30 ), rainbow lorikeet ( 173 ) and blue-streaked lory ( 30 ). One red lory was found dead.

“The four types of parrots were caught in their natural habitats in Maluku, Papua and Papua New Guinea. The suspect only had a quarantine letter but not a wildlife transportation permit,” said Nandang.

He noted that, even though the parrots confiscated by the BKSDA officials were not protected species, they had been taken from the wildlife or their natural habitats. “The suspect violated [Environment and] Forestry Ministry Decree No. 447/2003 on wildlife hunting and distribution,” said Nandang.

He said all of the parrots were temporarily kept at the Tegal Alur Rescue Center in West Jakarta for a rehabilitation process before they would be released to their natural habitats. (ebf)

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World's biggest fisheries supported by seagrass meadows

Seagrass meadows help to support world fisheries productivity
SWANSEA UNIVERSITY EurekAlert 21 May 18;

The study entitled 'Seagrass meadows support global fisheries production' published in Conservation Letters, provides evidence that a fifth of the world's biggest fisheries, such as Atlantic Cod and Walleye Pollock are reliant on healthy seagrass meadows. The study also demonstrates the prevalence of seagrass associated fishing globally.

The study, carried out in partnership with Dr Leanne Cullen-Unsworth at Cardiff University and Dr Lina Mtwana Nordlund at Stockholm University, demonstrates for the first time that seagrasses should be recognised and managed to maintain and maximise their role in global fisheries production.

Dr Cullen-Unsworth said: "The chasm that exists between coastal habitat conservation and fisheries management needs to be filled to maximise the chances of seagrass meadows supporting fisheries, so that they can continue to support human wellbeing".

Seagrasses are marine flowering plants that form extensive meadows in shallow seas on all continents except Antarctica. The distribution of seagrass, from the intertidal to about 60m depth in clear waters, makes seagrass meadows an easily exploitable fishing habitat.

Dr Unsworth said: "Seagrass meadows support global fisheries productivity by providing nursery habitat for commercial fish stocks such as tiger prawns, conch, Atlantic cod and white spotted spinefoot".

The authors also explain how seagrasses support fisheries in adjacent and deep water habitats, by creating expansive fishery habitat rich in fauna, and by providing trophic support to adjacent fisheries. Seagrasses are also described to support fisheries by promoting the health of connected habitats (e.g. Coral reefs).

The research article examined the links between seagrass and fisheries and the need for an integrated approach to their management governed at local, regional and international levels. The research presents a series of policy-relevant observations and recommendations that recognise the role of seagrass in global fisheries.

Seagrass nursery habitats for fish stocks. This research highlights the need to expand research into nursery habitat links to mature exploited fish stocks. Large-scale international strategies such as the European Union Fisheries Policy need to formally acknowledge the significance of seagrass meadows (and other habitats) as nursery grounds from which off-shore fisheries are stocked, says Dr Unsworth.

Seagrass as key fishing grounds. Seagrass meadows provide a fishery resource that is directly exploited by small scale subsistence and artisanal fisheries as well as large scale commercial enterprises but in many parts of the world, seagrass situated fisheries are often unreported and unregulated and more needs to be done to record this vital resource, says co-author Dr Nordlund.

Seagrass provides shallow water habitat for harvesting invertebrates. Gleaning, fishing in water shallow enough to walk in, occurs around the globe. Seagrass invertebrate fisheries provide a source of essential protein for some of the most vulnerable people in tropical coastal communities., says Dr Nordlund. Invertebrate gleaning activity is expanding globally and although it's a significant global activity, often conducted by women and children, it is not usually included in fishery statistics and rarely considered in resource management strategies are commonly unreported, unregulated or poorly enforced. This substantial and widespread fishery needs to be considered with regional and local management planning.

Seagrass trophic support for fisheries. Seagrass meadows export vast quantities of living material, organic matter and associated animal biomass. This can benefit a range of near and far shore fisheries. Seagrass can also subsidise whole food webs in the deep sea benefiting larger fisheries productivity.

The potential value of seagrass meadows for food security. The potential value of seagrass meadows in supporting food security remains largely underappreciated, says co-author Dr Cullen-Unsworth. In particular there is disparity between the significant economic benefits supplied by the seagrass nurseries and the poor levels of funding and management afforded to prevent seagrass degradation. Fisheries modelling and management approaches tend not to consider the functional role of shallow coastal seagrass in supporting fish stocks.

Dr Unsworth said: "The coastal distribution of seagrass means it is vulnerable to a multitude of both land and sea based threats, such as land runoff, coastal development, boat damage and trawling. There is a global rapid decline of seagrass and when seagrass is lost there is strong evidence globally that fisheries and their stocks often become compromised with profound negative economic consequences. To make a change, awareness of seagrasses role in global fisheries production must pervade the policy sphere. We urge that seagrass requires targeted management to maintain and maximise their role in global fisheries production."

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