Ocean Action Hub

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Why aren’t fish coming back?

19 Feb 2019 - Mark Kurlansky - We have arrived at a point where a fishery that could be saved simply by good management would be extremely fortunate.

19 Feb 2019 - Mark Kurlansky - We have arrived at a point where a fishery that could be saved simply by good management would be extremely fortunate. The abused ocean is having difficulty sustaining life.

Sustainable is an ever more complicated word. In the mid-1960s, when I was a kid working on commercial fishing boats in New England, the fishermen were constantly talking about the problem of over fishing. They were among the first to raise the issue. But they were primarily complaining about foreigners in their waters, especially Russians and Japanese. After 200-mile exclusions zones were declared by most countries in the 1970s, the problem of overfishing foreigners was solved. Then came a worse problem of overfishing local fishermen.

To be clear, the problem of overfishing is not a failure of fishermen, it is a failure of government. Fishermen fish and governments regulate. Management has been so faulty that fishermen have been talking about regulating themselves, which is an interesting possibility, but oversight would still be needed.

In 1994 when the most historically important fishery in the world collapsed, the northern cod stock on the Canadian Grand Banks, government started taking fishery management seriously, at least in the northern hemisphere. Exploitation of southern countries and the devastation of those previously only slightly fished waters became a major classically colonialist problem.

But in the north, particularly in North America and Europe, fishing became tightly regulated. One would imagine the fish coming back. But this has not happened. It’s turned out to be far more complicated than originally thought. To simply order fisherman to take fewer fish became a wasteful policy forcing fishermen to throw away their catch. Then came reduced efforts, limiting the number of days at sea, the size of nets, the power of engines. Closing down certain grounds for a number of years. Sometimes using a combination of these proved most successful.

There have been a few victories and a few improvements. Cod, we are told, has become once again abundant on the banks in the North Sea. But when the actual numbers are looked at, while they have increased, they are still at levels once considered disastrous, nowhere near the levels once considered natural. It is a problem that biologists call ‘shifting baselines’. We become accustomed to such low numbers that improvements that are far below what was once considered healthy are hailed as success. We are getting to a point where few people remember what it once was, and so the goals become obscured.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://medium.com/@UNDP/why-arent-fish-coming-back-22811c280ea1

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A wilderness of water: Protecting the life that protects us

18 Feb 2019 - “The ocean is under threat from pollution and plastics, from overfishing and habitat loss, from acidification, which threatens all life on Earth.” - Cody Simpson, UNDP Ocean Advocate

18 Feb 2019 - “The ocean is under threat from pollution and plastics, from overfishing and habitat loss, from acidification, which threatens all life on Earth.” - Cody Simpson, UNDP Ocean Advocate

Overfishing

Commercial overexploitation is so severe that 90% of fish stocks are either fully exploited, over exploited, or have collapsed entirely.

This is a slow moving ecological and financial catastrophe. Fishing provides jobs for 260 million people, almost half of them women.

About 15% of the animal protein for human needs comes from seafood. And yet astounding waste persists in commercial fishing.

One in three fish caught never makes it to the plate. Every year fisheries waste about 10 million tonnes of fish—enough to fill 4,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Trafficking also poses a serious threat to life below water; the World Wildlife Fund estimates that 100 million tonnes of exotic fish are captured every year.

By 2100, without significant change, more than half the world’s marine species may face extinction.

CONTINUE EXPLORING THIS FEATURE ONLINE HERE: https://feature.undp.org/wilderness-of-water/

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What works in ocean and water governance: Impact stories from UNDP's Water & Ocean Governance Programme

Governance reform is about instituting and practicing new ways of operation and interaction.

It is no linear process but rather a whole-of-society transition that negotiates among varied interests and challenges towards changing entrenched practices.

Embarking on the present review, and in the interest of harvesting practical lessons from UNDP’s Water & Ocean Governance (WOGP) portfolio, the exploration was focused on “What works in water/ocean governance?” The report aims to unveil the most critical steps or factors that made these generally successful water and/or ocean governance projects reach their objectives.

The report therefore puts a selected set of projects of the WOGP under the spotlight. Whereas the achievements are often of a very different nature, they all tackle complex, cross-sectoral water or ocean issues that none of the actors involved could have managed on their own. This illustrates the important difference between management – addressing matters that are principally tackled by one actor, often within the purview of one organization – and governance, which relates to the broader relations and rules that regulate the way a whole sector or society acts jointly.

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Coastal women show resilience to climate change in Bangladesh

29 Jan 2019 - People living close to the country’s shoreline are reliant on agriculture and fishing for their livelihoods. Rising sea level and increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones are raising the incidences of flooding, salinity intrusion and erosion.

The article was first published on Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)

Water, water and water everywhere when you look around. But, about 60,000 people have been living in a small and isolated island – Char Jahir Uddin – in the Bay of Bengal with high risk of extreme climate events.

It is really a difficult task to go to the hard-to-reach area since an engine-run boat is the only means of going there. One and half hour is needed to go to Char Jahir Uddin by the engine-run boat from Tazumuddin Upazila of Bhola district. Only one boat shuttles from Char Jahir Uddin to Tazumuddin Ghat in a day while the rest of the time the Char people remain isolated from the mainland amid the risk of cyclone and tidal surge.

Like many others, once Razia Begum was at plight when she along her eight-member family came to Char Jahir Uddin about 19 years back, losing her home and all belongings at Tazumuddin Upazila to riverbank erosion.

“When we came to the Char, we had nothing to start a new life. We collected hogla pata (elephant grass) from the char and made different types of mats and sold those to fishermen. That time, we never thought of eating meals three times in a day. I thought how we would pass the days,” said Raiza, a mother of six children.

As her day-labourer husband often failed to manage a work in the highly vulnerable island, she said, they had to strive every day apart from facing natural disasters like cyclone and storm surge.

But, the fortune of her family was changed after they were brought under the ‘Fish-Fruit-Forest (FFF) model of the Integrating community-based adaptation into Afforestation and Reforestation Programme jointly introduced by UNDP Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Forest Department.

Under the project, the Forest Department leased a piece of fallow land of forest to one poor family for 10 years and created a small pond on it and handed over the pond to the family. Razia is one of the beneficiaries of the project.

Project officials said a total of 40 FFF models were established on eight hectare of fallow land in Char Jahir Uddin, bringing 40 extremely and climate-vulnerable families under the project, which helps them lead a dignified life.

A total of 80 fruit-bearing and timber tree saplings were planted and about 1,550 fish fries were released on every pond. “I have planted saplings and cultivated vegetables on the banks of my pond. I am also rearing ducks and farming fish on the pond. And I am reaping benefits from it,” Razia said with a smiling face.

She has so far sold eggs of Tk 5,000 and earned Tk 15,000 by selling vegetables. “I have sold fish of Tk 9,000 so far from my pond and hope that I could be able sold fish of Tk one lakh at the end of this season,” she added.

“We got a dream after getting the FFF mode…now we are leading a decent life earning from the project,” Razia said.

People living close to the country’s shoreline are reliant on agriculture and fishing for their livelihoods. Rising sea level and increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones are raising the incidences of flooding, salinity intrusion and erosion.

The FFF model is being applied in the coastline to reduce climate vulnerability of coastal poor communities and lift them out of poverty. It makes the coastal less-productive land productive by building mounds and ditches so that fruits, vegetables and timber trees can be grown, and fish can be farmed.

The FFF model increases the income of the marginalised community through climate resilient fisheries, horticultural and livestock related livelihood options.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://www.bd.undp.org/content/bangladesh/en/home/presscenter/articles/2018/12/27/Coastal_women__resilience_climate_change.html

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Saving Maldives’ reefs - coral by coral

25 Jan 2019 - One’s a high-end resort, the other an NGO. Here’s how passionate groups came together to breath life back into reefs in peril, supported by UNDP Maldives.

25 Jan 2019 - One’s a high-end resort, the other an NGO. Here’s how passionate groups came together to breath life back into reefs in peril, supported by UNDP Maldives.

Read the full story in the online Island Life magazine: https://bit.ly/2SOmCmQ 

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Mangroves restoration for healthy ocean in Timor-Leste

15 Jan 2018 - 150 youth volunteers spent three days together in a fishing camp learning about mangrove conservation and commited to promote ecotourism, biodiversity, and raising awareness about mangrove conservation.

15 Jan 2018 - The initiative is the youth tribute to the national heroes who sacrificed their lives for Timorese independence. 

With fond memories of the national heroes of Timor-Leste, on 7 December 2018, approximately 150 youth volunteers teamed up and spent three days together in a camp, ‘Peace Fishing Camp’ in Hera of Dili. The camp concluded with the renewed spirit and the commitment to promote ecotourism, biodiversity, and raising awareness about mangrove conservation

The fishing camp, with the slogan, ‘Healthy Ocean, Bring Peace to Everyone,’ was jointly organized by Kail BA DAME, Leste-News, Independent-News, and Com Norma (Inc) in partnership with national and international agencies, including UNDP’s Coastal Resilience Building Project. Mr. Acacio Guterres, Director General of the Fisheries, and Roni Pati Tpoi from the UNDP among others shared and sensitized youth about mangrove conservation. Mr. Guterres in his address, asked all youths to continue this mission.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://www.tl.undp.org/content/timor_leste/en/home/newscentre/articles/2018/mangroves-restoration-for-healthy-ocean-.html

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Small grants, big results: Celebrating 25 years of fostering biodiversity in Belize

8 Jan 2018 - To preserve Belize’s coral reef systems, Fragments of Hope has planted over 119,000 corals. Here UNDP celebrates 25 years of GEF SGP partnerships that foster biodiversity in Belize.

8 Jan 2018 - To preserve Belize’s coral reef systems, Fragments of Hope has planted over 119,000 corals. Here UNDP celebrates 25 years of GEF SGP partnerships that foster biodiversity in Belize, including these initiatives:

What goes up must flow down

From the rivers to the deep blue sea, climate change has had a lasting effect in Belize. The coral reefs are dying, and one solution to this colossal dilemma is coral restoration. Fragments of Hope have created a programme funding coral restoration. It has planted over 119,000 corals and provided training and employment, especially for women.

Searching for the invisible fish

The Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye are unique tourist attractions located at the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. The reef is tranquil in variations of blue and green, and a casual visitor might not notice that it has suffered from overfishing.

The Belize Audubon Society has helped 37 fishers and their families create businesses that reduce their reliance on fishing and they also teach sustainable fishing.

Seaweed, the life of the sea

Seaweed plays an integral role in fish health but its population has been declining due to the deterioration of the seas around Belize. The coastal town of Placencia was seeing drastically reduced catches and its economy was suffering.

The Placencia Producers Cooperative Society came up with a solution — seaweed farming — which has provided a new source of income for fishers. Seaweed is harvested and processed as soap, lotion, and even a drink.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://medium.com/@UNDP/small-grants-big-results-2b61397c61c7

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Protecting the fish that swim in sunlight

25 Dec 2018 - In November, Costa Rica became the first country in the world to launch a National Action Plan for sustainable fisheries of large pelagic species

25 Dec 2018 - Twelve years ago, in a restaurant in Puntarenas on the pacific coast of Costa Rica, a group of long line fishermen sat down to eat with three UNDP conservation specialists.

The conservationists wanted to stop illegal fishing inside the Cocos Island Marine Protected Area, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The fishermen were worried about their livelihoods, already under threat because of declining fish numbers.

The meeting didn’t go well and not many hands were shaken after dessert. But it had far-reaching consequences that neither side could have envisioned that day.

According to data estimated by the Costa Rican Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (INCOPESCA), the country's fishing sector employs about 2,000-3,200 people. But if you factor in the families they support, the number rises to between 10,000-16,000 and that’s without the thousands of other jobs associated with fishing, such as transportation.

How could the goals of conservation also meet the needs of fishermen and their families?

Fast forward twelve years, and the perspectives of both the conservationists and the fishermen have changed. In November, not far from that restaurant in Puntarenas, Costa Rica became the first country in the world to launch a National Action Plan for sustainable fisheries of large pelagic species

Pelagic fish, such as mahi mahi, swordfish, and sharks, live in sunlit waters of about 200 metres.

The plan will improve fisheries, increase the supply of sustainable seafood, and ensure the social welfare of people who depend on fishing. Running in tandem with UNDP's support of the Green Commodities Programme, which focuses on the sustainability challenges of highly-traded commodities, it will directly contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Costa Rica.  

It’s the result of twelve months of negotiations involving more than one hundred representatives of government, academia, civil society, fishermen, exporters, restaurants and supermarkets.

And it’s transformed people who were once adversaries into allies, working for a more sustainable, inclusive and promising future for Costa Rican fisheries.                          

During the presentation one of the fishermen approached the same UNDP officer he met all those years ago and said; “I want to thank UNDP for the trust it has given us, and for helping us build a formal plan.”

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

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10 tips for happy and eco-friendly holidays

24 Dec 2018 - This holiday season can be different.

24 Dec 2018 - At this time of year we focus on buying gifts for special people in our lives, but we rarely think the consequences of our spending.

Take single-use plastic bags. If we keep using them at the rate we are, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050. Clothes are one of the largest wasteful contributions to landfills, and they add microplastics and nanoplastics to our oceans. In the US, people throw away 13 million tons in unwanted gifts every year. About 34 percent of that is clothing.

In 2016 the world generated almost 45 million metric tons of electronic waste, equivalent to almost 4,500 Eiffel Towers

This holiday season can be different. Let the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), inspire us to move from linear to circular consumption, where we consider the entire life cycle of the things we buy, and create new shopping and festive holiday habits.

Our top 10

1. Use reusable bags

2. Use non-disposable bottles for liquids

3. Make sure takeaway food packaging is eco-friendly, and preferably made of compostable materials. For outdoor parties use biodegradable or compostable cups.

4. More than a third of all food is wasted. Learn to shop and store food in ways that ensure it doesn’t end up in landfills, producing methane.

5. Choose clothing made from organic cotton.

6. Create your own fashion trends by buying gently-used items at thrift stores.

6. Buy products made by local artisans. This promotes local economies and saves transport emissions.

7. Properly dispose of waste for recycling. Recycle gift wrap (and try to use recycled materials in the first place), recycle glass, aluminum and plastics.

8. Donate everything you don’t need; many things can be refused and shared.

9. Exchange gifts that aren’t ‘things’, such as an art gallery membership, a massage, or even make your own gifts from local materials.

10. Finally, in the spirit of the season, consider ways in which you might help people who are going through hard times, such as those who live in poverty, those displaced by migration, or who a victims of violence

Let us live our lives guided by the ideals of the 2030 Agenda. This can be a time to raise awareness, to take care of the planet, to help those who are most in need and leave no one behind.

CONTINUE READING: https://medium.com/@UNDP/10-tips-for-happy-and-eco-friendly-holidays-d44...

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The Blue Forest: A Kenyan community fights climate change with mangroves
21 Dec 2018 - Mangroves have a role to play when it comes to climate change.

21 Dec 2018 - Just off the southern coast of Kenya, a forest grows from the ocean. This dense mangrove ecosystem - stretching across the mouth of Gazi Bay - serves myriad functions: a nursery for young fish, the source of firewood for two local villages, a tourism attraction with a snaking boardwalk, a spiritual site, and a natural dike to protect the coast.

It is also is a raw, respiring ingredient to fight climate change.

CARBON SCRUBBERS

"Mangroves have a role to play when it comes to climate change," says Josphat Mwamba Mtwana, who is the Project Coordinator of Mikoko Pamoja, a community-led project that has been protecting and restoring Gazi Bay's mangrove forests since 2013.

Mikoko Pamoja protects 117 hectares of state-owned mangroves, representing almost 16% of mangroves in the bay. Each year, the project plants a further 4,000 mangrove trees in eroding areas. These two measures actively combat climate change.

How? Mangroves are natural carbon-scrubbers. As they respire, mangroves suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. They store CO2, which is one of the key greenhouse gases causing climate change, in their above-ground and below-ground components, and in the soil beneath their spider leg roots. Long-term storage of CO2 is a process called carbon sequestrationand as such, a mangrove forest acts as a 'carbon sink'.

CONTINUE READING HERE: https://equatorinitiative.exposure.co/the-blue-forest