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Why sea level rise varies from place to place

15 Aug 2018 - Multiple, overlapping factors can mean big differences in flood risk.

15 Aug 2018 - In the 20th century, ocean levels rose by a global average of about 14 centimeters, mainly due to melting ice and warming waters. Some coastal areas saw more sea level rise than others. Here’s why: 

Expanding seawater

As water heats up, its molecules take up more space, contributing to global sea level rise. Local weather systems can influence that effect. In 2017 scientists reported in Geophysical Research Letters that weakening monsoon winds have resulted in hotter surface ocean temperatures in the northern Indian Ocean, causing local sea level rise. Those weaker winds curtailed ocean circulation that normally brings cooler water up from the deep. Surface waters in the Arabian Sea, for example, got warmer than usual and expanded, raising sea levels near the island nation of Maldives at a slightly faster rate than the global average.

Glacial rebound

Heavy ice sheets covered much of the Northern Hemisphere about 20,000 years ago. Regions once compressed beneath the weight of all that ice, such as the northeastern United States, have been slowly rebounding. In those areas, sea levels appear to be rising more slowly, because the land is rising as well.

But regions that once lay at the edges of the ice sheets, such as the Chesapeake Bay region, are now sinking as part of that ongoing postglacial shift. That’s because the weight of the ice squeezed some underlying rock in the mantle and caused the surface of the land to bulge, much like the bulging of a water bed when a person sits on it. Now, with the ice gone, the bulge is sinking — accelerating the impacts of sea level rise on the communities that sit atop it.

Sinking land

Tectonic activity such as the 2004 magnitude-9.1 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake (SN: 8/27/05, p. 136may tilt the land and alter relative sea level rise, as it did in the Gulf of Thailand. And human activities, such as extracting groundwater or fossil fuels, can also cause land to sink.

Earth's rotation

The planet’s rotation deflects fluids in motion, causing ocean water to swirl counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. As water moves around coastlines, this Coriolis effect can cause bulges of higher water in some areas and troughs in others. Output from rivers can exacerbate this effect, scientists reported in the July 24 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As rivers flow into the ocean, the water gets pushed by the swirling currents to one side, causing water levels to rise higher there than on the side behind the current.

Melting ice sheets

Massive glaciers exert a gravitational pull on nearby coastal waters and cause them to rise higher than they otherwise would. When glaciers melt, their mass redistributes, weakening their gravitational pull and causing the nearby water levels to drop. The melting ice in Antarctica, for example, causes more sea level rise on faraway New York than on the closer beaches of Sydney, scientists reported in 2017 in Science Advances.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/why-sea-level-rise-varies-place-place

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We are all “sailing the waves on our own” now

10 Aug 2018 - Indigenous peoples disproportionately face the brunt of climate change, which is fast becoming a leading driver of human displacement.

10 Aug 2018 - The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples this year has a focus on migration and displacement. Indigenous peoples, who comprise less than 5 percent of the world’s population, have the world’s smallest carbon footprint, and are the least responsible for our climate crisis. Yet because their livelihoods and wellbeing are intimately bound with intact ecosystems, indigenous peoples disproportionately face the brunt of climate change, which is fast becoming a leading driver of human displacement.

In Papua New Guinea, for example, residents of the Carteret Islands – some of the most densely populated islands in the country – have felt the effects of climate change intensify over recent years. With a high point on their islands of just 1.2 metres above sea level, every community member is now at risk from sea level rise and storm surges. Moreover, the community depends almost entirely on fishing for their food and livelihoods, but the health of sea grass beds and coral reefs has gradually deteriorated from warming waters and coral bleaching.

The residents of these islands faced a stark choice – to be passive victims of an uncertain government resettlement programme, or to take matters into their own hands. They chose the latter. In 2005, elders formed a community-led non-profit, called Tulele Peisa, to chart their own climate course. In the Halia language, the name means “Sailing the Waves on Our Own,” an apt metaphor for how the community is navigating rising sea levels. In 2014, the initiative won the prestigious, UNDP-led Equator Prize, in recognition for its ingenuity, foresight and proactive approach in facing the challenges of climate change, while keeping their cultural traditions intact.

Earlier this month, Jeffrey Sachs published an article entitled “We Are All Climate Refugees Now,” in which he attributed the main cause of climate inaction to the willful ignorance of political institutions and corporations toward the grave dangers of climate change, imperilling future life on Earth. 2018 will likely be among the hottest years humanity has ever recorded. Yet a slew of recent articles highlight that we are not on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. We have not shown the collective leadership required to tackle this existential crisis.

Carteret Islanders have been broadly recognized as the world’s first climate refugees, but they are not alone. Arctic indigenous communities are already facing the same plight, as are their regional neighbours from the island nation of Kiribati. According to the World Bank, their plight will likely be replicated around the world, with as many as 140 million people worldwide being displaced by climate change within the next 30 years or so.

But the Carteret Island leaders are more than just climate refugees. They have done something precious few political leaders have done to date – they recognized the warning signs of climate change as real and inevitable, they took stock of their options, and they charted a proactive, realistic course for their own future that promised the most good for the most people. Therefore, they could also be called the world’s first true climate leaders.

Let’s hope that our world’s politicians and CEOs have the wisdom, foresight and fortitude of the elders of Carteret Islanders. Because like it or not, we will all be sailing the climate waves on our own, with or without a rudder and a plan.

CONTINUE READING: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2018/We_are_all_sailing_th...

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WOMEN OF THE SEA

1 Aug 2018 - The GEF Humboldt project, implemented by the Government of Peru with UNDP support, promotes sustainable management of our ocean using an ecosystem management approach.

With this objective, its interventions range from reform of public policies, through to pilot projects to strengthen capacity and eliminate wasteful practices. One such pilot is currently generating a virtuous cycle in Pisco, to the south of Lima, through the promotion of fishing company certification in accordance with international standards for sustainable marine resource management.

One of these companies—aiming to become the first exporter of certified anchovy to the European market—assigns the initial processing phase to small female-headed businesses. This is generating a positive indirect effect on the local economy.

Understanding our ocean´s richness means also understanding its social impact: the fishing industry employs 250 thousand people along the Peruvian coast, the majority of whom are women. The activity of Ruth Jurado’s small business―which provides employment to some seventy women—coincides perfectly with Sustainable Development Goal 5, which aims for the full and effective participation by women, and equality of opportunity for leadership at all decision-making levels in political, economic, and public life.

“We have young women, many of them mothers, who support themselves with the income they earn here. But we also have older women who would not find work elsewhere”, says Jurado, whose plant is located on a large site and has been constructed in accordance with the strict rules of the target market for this product—the European Union. In other words, cleanliness and order are fundamental aspects of the daily work.

Advantages of working in the processing plant include the fact that the labor is not heavy and that income is linked to productivity. The hours are another advantage: work begins early and finishes before lunchtime. This enables the women to look after their children when school finishes.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://pnudperu.exposure.co/women-of-the-sea

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Timor-Leste a mecca for whales, but they face threats - The Guardian
31 Jul 2018 - Managed properly, whale tourism could generate significant income for Timor-Leste, one of the world’s youngest – and poorest – nations.

31 Jul 2018 - THE GUARDIAN, UK - Olive Andrews believes Timor Leste could be one of the best destinations in the world for whale watching. The research scientist with a particular interest in cetaceans drew this conclusion when she joined a survey team assessing the coastal waters north of Timor-Leste in October 2016. “I’ve never seen such a biomass of cetaceans in such a small geography,” she says. “We encountered 2287 cetaceans from 11 species, including superpods of up to 600 individuals.”

There are 90 distinct species of cetacean – and at least 30 of them occur in Timor-Leste. These include both local populations like melon-headed whales and spinner dolphins, and migratory species such as humpbacks and pygmy blue whales. Managed properly, whale tourism could generate significant income for Timor-Leste, one of the world’s youngest – and poorest – nations.

Globally, whale watching is booming. According to Andrews whale tourism contributes around US$30m a year to the Pacific Islands group. Without it, countries like Tonga – famed for the humpbacks that congregate there to mate and nurse – could revert to whaling, which was practiced there on a small scale until as late as 1978.

It’s not just the quantity and diversity of whales in its territorial waters that make Timor-Leste so unique; it’s their proximity to the land. Geologically, Timor-Leste and its much smaller sister island Atauro are distinguished by the fact that neither was ever attached to a landmass – they were pushed above the ocean’s surface by tectonic activity. As a result, their reefs rarely stretch beyond 250 metres from shore before plunging to much greater depths. 

“Pygmy blue whales heading south towards Australia will hang out at a 200m depth contour right off the north coast of Timor; you can literally see them from the beach,” says Andrews.

This is because Timor-Leste lies in the middle of the Indonesian throughflow, where the waters of the Indian and Pacific Ocean collide, causing upwellings of nutrient-rich deep ocean water. The resulting mini-ecosystem is abundant in squid, making it an ideal feeding ground for whales. 

But the local whale population faces a number of threats. Timor-Leste is seeking to establish itself both politically and economically following a decades-long conflict with its former coloniser Indonesia, which only came to an end in 2002. Illegal fishing from neighbouring countries is rife and the tiny nation doesn’t yet have the resources to prevent it. Besides a single patrol boat there is no monitoring system to identify shipping in its territorial waters. Whales are getting tangled in vast ghost nets that drift all the way down to the Australian coast. According to Andrews, these intruders aren’t just artisanal fishers, but entire fishing fleets.

Timor-Leste’s ability to enforce fisheries legislation is questionable too. In September last year, ocean activists Sea Shepherd alerted Timor-Leste police to a Chinese fishing fleet illegally catching thousands of sharks. But Australia’s ABC News reported last month that after a nine-month investigation, the fleet had paid a one-off fine of $100,000 to go free, allegedly with its catch – estimated to be worth millions of dollars – intact. 

Resource extraction and infrastructure projects also present challenges. French company Bolloré Group has entered a public-private partnership to build a US$490m deep-water port west of the capital Dili. While an environmental impact assessment has been carried out, environmental NGO Conservation International has concerns about increases in shipping traffic and the dumping of dredged materials in whale feeding grounds. 

CONTINUE READING HERE: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2018/jul/31/timor-leste-a-mecca-for-whales-but-they-face-threats

Photograph: Grant Abel/Conservation International

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One man's quest to lead his village in Papua New Guinea to adapt to climate change
26 Jul 2018 - On World Mangrove Day, meet Alfred, an environmental activist whose team restored a mangrove forest by replanting 60,300 seedlings.

26 Jul 2018 - Alfred Masul is a conservation evangelist in his community located on the remote northern coast of Papua New Guinea. Well known for leading the charge in environmental rehabilitation, Alfred is restoring an ecosystem and promoting a sustainable path for his family and his community.

In Numuru Village, where Alfred is elder of the clan made up of his siblings, cousins, and children, dwellings are arrayed along their 3km of coastline.

After a bad flood about 10 years ago that caused massive damage and required the community to move further inland, Alfred started planting mangroves.

Working in the nearby secondary school, Alfred was a teacher’s aide and oversaw science exams. Sensitised to conservation, Alfred wanted to stop the excessive cutting of mangroves and work to rehabilitate their terrestrial and marine environments. Alfred believes:

‘The future is on your head’.

FALLOWING FOR FISH

Alfred’s village is in Madang province, known for some of the highest mountain ranges in PNG, with correspondingly large valleys, coastal strips, volcanic islands, and atolls. In Numuru, the main crops are betel nut, copra, cocoa, and subsistence staples like sweet potato.

Many villagers are fishermen, which provides food and income.

The main climate change effects experienced in the area are inland flooding and coastal erosion. In 2015, a prolonged drought destroyed food gardens, in turn increasing dependence on rapidly depleting fish stocks.

In addition to overfishing pressures, and in a changing climate, warmer water = less dissolved oxygen; less dissolved oxygen = smaller fish.

CONTINUE READING HERE: https://undp-adaptation.exposure.co/no-ordinary-man

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Meet the woman creating jobs in Mongolia to beat plastic pollution

25 Jul 2018 - Ulzii and other women living nearby support themselves by making brooms and household furniture such as chairs and sofas from plastic litter that they collect in the streets.

25 Jul 2018 - As we roamed through the “ger district” in Yaarmag, I noticed the unusual cleanliness of the area, compared to other similar districts we know near Ulaanbaatar. The usual scenes of vodka bottles, cigarette butts, soiled diapers, plastic bottles and aluminum cans are nowhere to be seen here.

The sprawling residential area consists of parcels of land with one or more detached houses or gers — Mongolian traditional dwelling known as yurts in some countries, surrounded by two-metre high wooden fences.

“We might have cleaned the streets off as we pick the plastic bottles up for our projects,” laughs 56-year-old Ulziisaikhan as she welcomes us outside her home.

Ulzii and other women living nearby support themselves by making brooms and household furniture such as chairs and sofas from plastic litter that they collect in the streets.

“When you are young and able, being unemployed is not the end of the world. You know that you will figure it out somehow. But when you are in your 50s and unemployed, that is pretty much it. No one will want to hire you at this age,” Ulzii says.

As we enter the small ger, we find a group of four women including Ulzii, absorbed in their work. This ger serves as their production plant. Plastic bottles, their main supplies, are stacked up on the left side of the ger. Bottles are washed here and labels are removed to make the raw materials for the sofas and chairs. Ulzii and her friends try to collect the plastic bottles in the streets themselves, but nowadays people also bring them the supplies, charging a fair price.

Of the 1.5 million tonnes of garbage that is produced annually in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, only 24 percent is recycled. The number is even smaller when it comes to recycling the 69,000 tonnes of the plastic garbage the city produces annually.

Up until January of 2018, the city used to ship 20,000 tonnes of plastics to China for recycling every year. But this is banned now from China’s side as part of their new regulation. Without a proper recycling facility and a landfill, Mongolia is unsure where to keep the plastic recyclables or what to do with them.

Social entrepreneurs like Ulzii and her friends aren’t waiting around for an official plan. They participated in a training offered by UNDP Mongolia back in 2014 that aimed to improve the livelihoods of rural Mongolians who migrated to the city after losing their livestock in the countryside due to a particularly harsh winter.

“With the support from the UNDP Innovation Facility, we wanted to give them the opportunity to create jobs whilst addressing a common environmental issue in Mongolia — littering,” explains Galaariidii Galindev, coordinator of the “Turning Garbage into Gold” project.

Ulzii and her friends received a start-up kit with basic equipment to set up their businesses. In addition to the in-class training that included workshops on writing a project proposal and designing a business model, the group also received mattresses, linings and other necessary supplies and tools for an immediate start of production.

Over the course of several months, the UNDP Mongolia team followed up with the entrepreneurs to assess the impact and sustainability of their activities, and to help them improve with a view towards becoming independent. Ulzii and her team succeeded and now receive frequent orders, including a recent order of 24 chairs and a conference table from one of Mongolia’s major companies. Trained to create simple designs initially, the hardworking women have since begun developing new designs based on their imaginations and the clients’ demand.

They not only built a business for themselves but also helped set up another group in the neighbourhood made up entirely of people with disabilities.

“Involving people with disabilities is a great example of social inclusion and we did not expect this much of social responsibility coming from a tiny project unit,” Galaariidii says.

In Mongolia, 80 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed. Often marginalized, they face strong stigma from potential employers. Although there is a legal provision encouraging companies to hire people with disabilities, most companies choose to pay a monetary fine.

The broader picture

UNDP Mongolia has been actively promoting the reduce, reuse, recycle principle for years. Ulzii’s story is one of our earliest examples in the global fight against plastic pollution, but the determination has revived this year with our latest campaign #NoPlasticChallenge, which started in March.

Throughout the campaign, some 25 organizations including the US Embassy, local start-ups, banks and coffee shop chains joined the challenge to raise awareness about our excessive use of plastics and the means for reducing it. Hundreds of thousands of Mongolians were engaged online through social media campaigns.

Inspired by the online success, the organizations conducted an eco-bag workshop and trainings on ways to reduce single-use plastics. Coffee shops introduced discounts for customers who brought their own mugs, and we’re already seeing an increase in the number of people who carry reusable grocery bags to their local shops.

Mongolia seems to realize that reducing and reusing are the only ways to beat plastic pollution in the absence of recycling for the time being.

CONTINUE READING: https://medium.com/@UNDP/meet-the-woman-creating-jobs-in-mongolia-to-bea...

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Fish for dinner? See how #blockchain is used to ensure sustainable fisheries.
20 Jul 2018 - Blockchain is one of many ways innovation and technology is being harnessed for social good.

20 Jul 2018 - Blockchain is one of many ways innovation and technology is being harnessed for social good.

As is usually the case with disruptive new technology, blockchain comes with a lot of hype. While its best-known application, bitcoin, divides opinion and makes banks and governments nervous, the technology may have great potential to advance social good.

Serving the underserved
Fintech companies across the globe are using blockchain to improve financial systems and redefine how businesses and individuals make payments. Coins.ph operates out of the Philippines, where transferring money electronically is very popular but can be expensive. The company built a mobile app that runs on blockchain technology and allows cheaper, quicker and more direct fund transfers for those with limited access to formal banking. Users can open an account simply by inputting a phone number and digitally verifying their identity. Transactions are settled instantaneously and at a fraction of the fees charged by traditional banks. This translates into increased disposable income, better resilience to economic shocks, and wider participation of the most vulnerable populations in the financial system.

Like Coins.ph in the Philippines, Kenya’s BitPesa, Mexico’s Bitso, India’s Unocoin and others are using blockchain to expedite cross-border payments, establish new types of digital wallets and allow peer-to-peer payments with digital currencies for previously unconnected people and markets.

As both a database and infrastructure that enables the secure transfer and recording of assets independently of central banks, blockchain is believed to be the most decentralized and secure digital protocol to date, and its market is expected to grow to at least US$2.3 billion by 2021. It’s catching people’s attention across all sectors, and “inclusive business” – for-profit ventures that engage low-income populations as customers or owners – is no exception.

As well as making financial products more inclusive, blockchain is giving people digital identities and revolutionizing personal data management. This is most profound for millions of individuals with no formal economic identity, as well as refugees.

BanQu, a start-up from the United States, is using blockchain technology to create secure and verified IDs for the world’s most vulnerable populations. Through the BanQu app that runs on any mobile phone, an individual can build his or her online profile through facial and voice recognition and start tracking everything from educational qualifications to transaction history. Over time, users build up a financial ID, eventually being able to open bank accounts, own property and access healthcare and other basic services.

Supply chains

Another sector where blockchain has particularly far-reaching potential is global supply chains. With its unique capacity to transfer, record and monitor assets in a virtual space at a low cost, blockchain is well suited to respond to the challenges of supply chains, such as:

  • Evening the playing field. It seamlessly integrates all supply chain players into one system and serves as a single electronic house for an infinite amount of documentation. As traditional costs and barriers to enter are eliminated, even the smallest producers and suppliers have equal footing.
  • Responsible sourcing. It provides a platform for transparent procurement in which every market participant can verify sourcing and compliance in line with existing regulations and good environmental, social and governance standards.

Provenance, a London-based startup, has successfully tested blockchain technology on the Indonesian tuna supply chain (one of the most controversial in the world). Fishermen sent an SMS after every catch giving it a digital identity at the point of origin. A digital ID code enabled tracking at every step of the journey, with new information added along the way, until the fish reached Japanese restaurants. Scaled further, the revolutionary technology can verify ethical claims and help enforce labour and environmental standards in the private sector.

Smart and efficient. Blockchain’s use of smart contracts eliminates fraud, avoids intermediaries, and saves costs and time. It enables users to carry out all contract conditions and functions automatically, as programmed. For example, it could guarantee the delivery of a certain good or service only once the payment is received. If there is a delay, the smart contract will prompt a response. For the most vulnerable supply chain actors, this is revolutionary, because such contracts prevent tampering and help ensure fair treatment.

Blockchain technology can contribute to the achievement of the 17 Global Goals for sustainable development – to end poverty, protect the planet and empower women and men by 2030 – in line with the aims of inclusive businesses. Furthermore, its integration in global supply chains is directly linked to responsible consumption and production, innovation and the elimination of hunger. The application of blockchain technology is expected to inch into areas not previously thought possible – from the digitization of governments’ key functions to transforming healthcare by reducing barriers to accessing services for the underserved.

CONTINUE READING HERE: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2018/realizing-the-potential-of-blockchain-for-social-impact.html

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Seas the day
11 Jul 2018 - The story of a Sri Lankan snorkeler and how her passion to protect the ocean has become her livelihood.

11 Jul 2018The story of a snorkeler and her passion to protect the ocean.

Niluka Damayanthi is up at 2.00 a.m. each day to prepare for the long day ahead. This entails cooking for her household which include her mother, husband and children, while also preparing snack boxes for the snorkelers or divers she would be accompanying for the day. As one of the two female snorkelers at the Kalpitiya Diving Centre, Niluka never imagined that she would turn her love for the ocean into her occupation.

Kalpitiya is now an attractive tourist destination in the country, with its rich marine sanctuaries and diverse range of habitats which range from bar reefs, flat coastal plains, saltpans, mangroves, swamps, salt marshes and vast sand dune beaches. These provide breeding grounds for many species of fish and crustaceans. It also is home to spinner, bottlenose and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and even the elusive dugong.

A WHOLE NEW WORLD

Becoming a diving instructor was no easy task for Niluka. Her husband Samith, who earned the license early on, encouraged her to follow her passion and was her main support system. She underwent training for swimming, underwater skills and techniques, safety rules and theoretically understanding the ocean current after which she was able to get her license. Together with Samith, she now accompanies tourist groups which consist of 6-9 persons daily during the peak tourist season which is usually from September to April each year. Foreign and local tourists are charged $85 each for the training, diving session and snack box she prepares. In recent years, there has been a steady increase in local tourists, which has helped them to create their own website and be rated on popular travel sites. She reminisces of the time when the Kalpitiya Bar Reef was a colourful and vibrant tourist attraction. Niluka describes it as “a dive into a whole new world!”

Samith, started diving and snorkeling at the age of 13, and has seen the bar reef in its heyday in all its splendor. Due to human activities such as over fishing, dynamite fishing and high speed boats, the coral reef has gradually deteriorated over the years and has lost its beauty. Now almost 24 years later, they’re working together with local authorities and UNDP to bring this natural ecosystem back to life.

ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AREAS

In October 2015, UNDP Sri Lanka together with the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment initiated the ‘Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Sustenance of Ecosystem Services in Environmentally Sensitive Areas’ (ESA) project to address these issues. Though Sri Lanka has instituted a national system of Protected Areas (PAs) to safeguard its biodiversity, many of the globally important ecosystems, habitats and species continued to remain outside protected areas and face accelerated threats.

CONTINUE READING HERE: https://undpsrilanka.exposure.co/seas-the-day

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New UN report underscores value of fishing in fight against global hunger

10 Jul 2018  - Fish account for about 17 per cent of animal protein consumed globally, providing around 3.2 billion people with nearly 20 per cent of their animal protein needs.

10 Jul 2018  - The vital role that fishing and fish-farming play in supporting some of the poorest families across the world, came under the spotlight on Monday with the publication of the annual United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report on the global industry.

According to the latest State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report, nearly 60 million people worldwide – 14 per cent of them women – are directly employed in fisheries and the aquaculture sector.

"The fisheries sector is crucial in meeting FAO's goal of a world without hunger and malnutrition, and its contribution to economic growth and the fight against poverty, is growing," said José Graziano da Silva, FAO’s Director-General.

Fish account for about 17 per cent of animal protein consumed around the world, providing around 3.2 billion people on earth with nearly 20 per cent of their animal protein needs.

Moreover, fish represent a highly nutritious food that is especially helpful in counteracting important deficiencies in dietary intake.

The report indicates that global fish production will continue to grow over the next ten years even though the amount of fish being captured in the wild has levelled off and aquaculture is slowing down.

The fisheries sector is crucial in meeting FAO's goal of a world without hunger and malnutrition - FAO chief, José Graziano da Silva

By 2030, it’s estimated that fish production will grow to 201 million tonnes; an 18 per cent increase over the current production level of 171 million tonnes.

Global trends can mask the large contribution fish often make as part of the basic diet in poorer countries, however. For example, in countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Gambia, Sri Lanka and some small island development states, fish make up fifty per cent or more, of people's protein intake.

"The sector is not without its challenges, however, including the need to reduce the percentage of fish stocks fished beyond biological sustainability," Mr. da Silva continued.

In 2016, 90.9 million tonnes of fish were captured in the wild – a slight decrease of two million from 2015 - and aquaculture production (which entails farming aquatic organisms as well as managing ocean habitats and wild populations), reached 80 million tonnes, providing 53 per cent of all fish consumed by humans as food.

According to this latest FAO report, the amount of crustaceans, mollusks and other aquatic animals being consumed, is just over double the amount per person, back in the 1960s. FAO attributes this to increased aquaculture production, a sector that expanded rapidly during the 1980s and 1990s.

"Since 1961 the annual global growth in fish consumption has been twice as high as population growth,” said Mr. da Silva, highlighting again the importance of this to combating world hunger.

But FAO said that future growth across the industry will require continued progress in strengthening fisheries management regimes, reducing loss and waste, and tackling problems like illegal fishing, pollution of aquatic environments, and climate change, the report added.

CONTINUE READING HERE: https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/07/1014222

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Cleaning the seas, one dive at a time
9 Jul 2018 - How young scuba divers in coastal Maharashtra, India, are bridging the divide between conservation and livelihoods.

9 Jul 2018 - How young scuba divers in coastal Maharashtra, India, are bridging the divide between conservation and livelihoods

People and the sea coexist in happy harmony near the blue waters of Sindhudurg, Maharashtra, in western India. Fishermen set sail for the day’s catch as the sun gleams on the calm waters. Dolphins surface in the distance while a tour group peers to get a glimpse. The relationship between people and the sea features in myth and legend, art and literature.

Along the fishing district of Sindhudurg, thousands of people look to the sea for sustenance and livelihoods. The great majority depend on the coast for food and jobs in fishing and in tourism. But they know now that the bounty of the sea is not unending. The ecosystem, and their livelihoods, are under threat from unsustainable fishing by trawlers, an expanding tourism sector, and pollution from fishing vessels and other maritime traffic.

For 30-year-old diver Bhushan Juwatkar and his friends, this as an opportunity to do their part in preserving their ecosystem – and their way of life. Bhushan and seven of his friends from the local fishing community in Malvan knew for years that abandoned fishing nets were washed ashore along the coast and abandoned on the seabed. They didn’t do anything about it until they became certified scuba divers. These young men not only spent their mandated underwater post-certification diving hours removing ghost nets, but have now been inspired to continue the cleaning activity well beyond the training.

Their primary occupation, like of most others in the village, is fishing. “We have been fishermen most of our lives. When we saw a call for interest in the diving programme, we jumped at the opportunity. The fact that it was partially funded made all the difference. We would not have been able to bear the entire cost and would not have had this opportunity without the project’s support,” says Prashant.

In 2016, through an intervention by the Government of India in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, supported by the Global Environment Facility, 20 young fishermen like Bhushan and Prashant were trained in scuba diving to strengthen their connection to marine biodiversity conservation and provide an additional livelihood opportunity as diving guides for tourists. “We became more aware of the harmful effects of ghost nets and marine waste during the training. As fishermen, we too have undertaken harmful practices like discarding torn nets in the sea (ghost nets). But we were not aware that marine animals can get stuck in these nets and that the practice harms marine life,” says Bhushan.

The intervention also increased awareness about sustainable tourism practices, including conservation of corals. Sindhudurg is home to one of the few areas in India with corals. Untrained guides carelessly throw anchors over coral patches and let tourists break off coral pieces as souvenirs, causing degradation of these beautiful and delicate underwater ecosystems. Realizing the importance of corals, Bhushan says, “We didn’t make the corals, we don’t have the right to destroy them. We need the corals to attract tourists, so it is in our interest to protect them.”

CONTINUE READING HERE: http://www.in.undp.org/content/india/en/home/climate-and-disaster-reslience/successstories/cleaning-the-seas--one-dive-at-a-time.html

PHOTO: UNDP India