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Press Release: Negotiations Fail to Limit Greenland Salmon Harvest
Other News
Written by Federica   
Friday, 12 June 2015 09:49

For immediate release
June 8, 2015

St. Andrews, NB — The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) is very disappointed over the failure of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) to limit Greenland's salmon harvest to sustainable levels, during negotiations to set regulatory measures at meetings that took place June 2 to 5 in Goose Bay, Labrador.

Greenland would not budge below a quota of 45 tonnes, which was more than other Parties to the West Greenland Commission (made up of Greenland, Canada, the United States and the European Union), could accept. Denmark on behalf of Greenland unilaterally committed to limit the total annual catch for all components of its fisheries to take no more than 45 tonnes in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Scientists that advise NASCO have been very clear that there should be no harvest of North American salmon at Greenland. "A compromise would have been a subsistence fishery of no more than 20 tonnes, but more than twice this amount is unacceptable," said Bill Taylor, President of ASF. "This will have a devastating effect on already endangered, threatened and at-risk salmon populations in North America and southern Europe."

Atlantic salmon leaping in northern Newfoundland (photo:Tom Moffatt/Atlantic Salmon Federation) Atlantic salmon leaping in northern Newfoundland (photo:Tom Moffatt/Atlantic Salmon Federation) The situation is dire throughout most of eastern Canada and especially so in the state of Maine, where the last of the U.S. Atlantic salmon are clinging to survival. According to the 2015 report of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), Quebec rivers met only 44% of their minimum conservation limits for the large salmon that spend two winters at sea (2SW), a serious decline from 76% in 2013. The salmon populations of Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence rivers attained only 54.5% of their conservation limits, another serious decline from 80% the year before. The Southwest Miramichi reached only 69% and the Northwest Miramichi a dismal 21% of their conservation limits. Salmon populations along the outer Nova Scotia coast and in Bay of Fundy rivers reached an abysmal 2.7 % of their conservation limits, far lower than the 12% of 2013. The Conne River salmon that represent the threatened south coast populations of Newfoundland met only 49% of their conservation limit. In southern Labrador, the Sand Hill, Muddy Bay Brook and Southwest Brook achieved only 56%, 66% and 72% respectively of their conservation limits. In the United States, 2SW salmon populations attained an appalling 2% of their conservation limits.

"Greenland's intent to harvest 45 tonnes each year from 2015 to 2017 will put our salmon at further risk, detracting from the many expensive programs carried out to restore wild Atlantic salmon runs in North America," said Mr. Taylor. "The Greenland fishery jeopardizes such programs as the $64-million Penobscot River restoration in Maine to open up salmon habitat and the million dollar liming program to combat the effects of acid rain on the West River Sheet Harbour in Nova Scotia. There are hundreds of other projects on rivers throughout eastern Canada and northeastern United States that will be affected. It is devastating that the hopes and dreams for the salmon of these rivers will continue to be at risk of being scooped up in gillnets off Greenland," said Mr. Taylor.

Greenland is getting a lot of pressure from its fishermen for a much larger salmon fishery and to be allowed to sell their salmon to markets outside Greenland. At the meeting, Greenland read a statement by The Association of Fishers and Hunters in Greenland (KNAPK), who are demanding salmon that they can process and sell and contribute to the growth of their country's economy through export. KNAPK's written statement indicated that the fishermen wanted a minimum of a 1,500 tonne quota.

While the other Parties used every avenue at their disposal to lower Greenland's harvest to a level more in line with the advice of the ICES, this was impossible under the NASCO Convention that requires unanimous support by all Parties to the regulatory agreement. It is laudable that the Faroe Islands once again agreed to no catch on their feeding grounds, where 20% of the catch could be made up of North American salmon that migrate there. NASCO did agree to improved monitoring and control measures to be implemented by Greenland.

One option now is for a private agreement to be worked out, like the one that was in effect between 2002 and 2011, before Greenland's harvest began to escalate in 2012. The escalation was due to the introduction of a fishery to sell salmon to factories and Greenland's insistence that the subsistence fishery has no cap. The private agreement was between the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) of Iceland, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, KNAPK, and the Greenland Government. NASF has had a private agreement with the Faroes fishermen since 1992, which has helped keep catches there at zero.

Bill Taylor concluded "ASF will continue to work with Canada, the United States and non-government partners both inside and outside NASCO to conserve and restore salmon and deal with the challenges presented by Greenland's intent to continue its significant harvest of North American salmon."

Quick Facts:
NASCO is an intergovernmental organization formed by a treaty in 1984 and is based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Its objectives are the conservation, restoration and rational management of wild Atlantic salmon stocks, which do not recognise national boundaries. It is the only intergovernmental organisation with this mandate which it implements through international consultation, negotiation and co-operation. The Parties to the Convention are: Canada, Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), the European Union, Norway, Russia and USA. There are 35 non-government observers (NGOs) accredited to the Organization.
Atlantic Salmon Federation representatives on the Canadian delegation to the NASCO meeting in Goose Bay, Labrador were David Meerburg (Scientific and Policy Advisor), Sue Scott (VP Communications) and Don Ivany (Director, Newfoundland and Labrador Programs)
Sue Scott serves as Co-chair of the 35 non-governmental organizations accredited by NASCO.

 

The Atlantic Salmon Federation is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and the ecosystems on which their well-being and survival depend. ASF has a network of seven regional councils (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Maine and Western New England). The regional councils cover the freshwater range of the Atlantic salmon in Canada and the United States.

Holly Johnson, Manager of Public Information: (506)529-1033(o)
(506)469-1033(c), This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
To view this story online visit: www.asf.ca

Join us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AtlanticSalmonFederation Twitter: https://twitter.com/SalmonNews

For high-resolution photography please visit: the ASF Image Gallery: http://www.asf.ca/images.html - See more at: http://asf.ca/negotiations-fail-to-limit-greenland-harvest.html#sthash.pRDt3o6f.dpuf

 
Polar Data Forum II, Waterloo 27-29 October 2015
Other News
Written by Federica   
Thursday, 11 June 2015 11:12

(photo: GettyImages) (photo: GettyImages) Governments, scientists, and society are increasingly recognizing the importance of data and proper data management. The polar science community has been a leader in international, interdisciplinary data management with a history beginning with the International Polar Year (IPY) programs starting in 1881-1884. Advances in open, networked, and ubiquitous digital technologies come at the same time as unprecedented changes in the polar regions. Together, these shifts present an urgent opportunity for the polar science community, Arctic residents, and other stakeholders to establish a clear global vision, strategy, and action plan to ensure effective stewardship of and access to valuable Arctic and Antarctic data resources.

The Second Polar Data Forum (PDF II) will be held October 27 - 29, 2015 in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada to build on successes of the first Polar Data Forum (PDF I) in Tokyo, Japan, October 2013. PDF I and a series of other international and national meetings have identified priority themes and key challenges in the domain of polar data management (See here)  for a brief listing and description of outcomes). PDF II will further refine these themes and priorities and will accelerate progress by establishing clear actions to address the target issues, including meeting the needs of society and science through promotion of open data and effective data stewardship, establishing sharing and interoperability of data at a variety of levels, developing trusted data management systems, and ensuring long-term data preservation. The Forum will be held in conjunction with the scheduled annual meetings of the Arctic Data Committee (ADC) of the International Arctic Science Committee and Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (IASC/SAON) and the Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management (SC-ADM) of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). This unprecedented co-location presents unique opportunities for coordination and is envisioned as the first international Polar Data Week.

PDF II will provide a critically important venue for showcasing polar data initiatives, to learn from global partners and work collaboratively to continue developing an international vision and action plan. By the end of PDF II, we will have updated status and made progress on polar data management activities and outstanding issues, including international coordination of ongoing and future planned efforts across the Arctic and Antarctic data and scientific research communities.

PDF II IMPORTANT DATES

Registration & Abstract Systems Open: 15 May 2015

Abstracts Due: 1 July 2015

Notification of abstract acceptance: 31 July 2015

Early bird registration deadline: 31 August 2015

Travel support application deadline: 31 August 2015

Hotel block reservation deadline: 10 September 2015

Online registration deadline: 30 September 2015

 

For more info, please click here. 

 
Northern Sea Route to be substantially increased by Russia
Shipping News
Written by Federica   
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 11:07

Arctic Shipping map designed by Arctic Portal Arctic Shipping map designed by Arctic PortalTwo days ago, TASS, the specialized Russian news agency, has confirmed Russia's decision to develop the Northern Sea Route up to twenty times its current capacity within the next 15 years. As consequence of climate change, sea-ice is becoming thinner and thinner every year, while the ice-free seasons are becoming longer, making it possible to use the Northern Sea Route more safely and for more longer season. The Northern Sea Route may bear several commercial advantages for commercial shipping. First of all, it will considerably reduce transportation time, fuel consumption, and therefore environmental emission by cutting down distances between the main commercial ports in the World. For example, by using the Northern Sea Route, the distance between Asia and Europe would be approximately 40% shorter than via the Suez Canal or 60% shorter via the Cape of Good Hope. In addition, ships may avoid highly dangerous areas due to piracy. Indeed, as reported in a recent article published by "Time", "Southeast Asia was the location of 41% of the world's pirate attacks between 1995 and 2013. The West Indian Ocean, which includes Somalia, accounted for just 28%, and the West African coast only 18%. During those years, 136 seafarers were killed in Southeast Asian waters as a result of piracy — that's twice the number in the Horn of Africa, where Somalia lies, and more than those deaths and the fatalities suffered in West Africa combined.According to a 2010 study by the One Earth Future Foundation, piracy drains between $7 billion and $12 billion dollars from the international economy each year."(source: Time) Last, but not the least, ships would cut down waiting times and costs of using the Suez Canal.
Nevertheless, the Northern Sea Route may also present difficulties, as a general lack of infrastructures along the way, harsh climate conditions and higher environmental risks in case of accident (to name but a few). In any case, Russian's regulatory measures (read below), combined with the entry into force of the mandatory IMO International Code of Safety for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) in January 2017, may both contribute to considerably reduce risks associated with the use of the Northern Sea Route.
Here is the news as reported by TASS.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed the integrated development plan of the Northern Sea Route. The prime minister made the statement on Monday.
"This is the shortest route connecting Europe with the Far East, with the Asia-Pacific and the western part of the North America," the prime minister said. "One should admit its usage so far, softly speaking, is nothing to shout about," Medvedev added at the meeting with vice premiers.
Over 600 permits are annually issued at present for transportation of goods over the Northern Sea Route and the yearly goods transportation volume equals 4 mln tonnes, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said.
"The potential estimated for the period of [the nearest] 15 years, and this is the implementation timeframe of the integrated plan, is over 80 mln tonnes. In other words, a twentyfold increase is possible," Dvorkovich said.
It will make possible to surpass the goods traffic in times of the USSR, Dvorkovich added. "This goal is a must [to surpass transportation in the Soviet times]," the prime minister said.0vnk
The whole regulatory base required for implementation of the plan has already been developed by now, Dvorkovich said. The project provides for six main components, including navigation and hydrographic support in particular, he added. "At present there are actually no modern maps at the level they should be," the deputy prime minister said. There is no fully realized system of vessel navigation management and sea pollution control, Dvorkovich said. The issue of marine environment protection was raised as far back as at G8 summits when oil spills control was discussed, he said.
"There was a time when G8 was dealing with useful things, unlike now," Prime Minister Medvedev said.
Development of the search and rescue infrastructure on the Northern Sea Route has already started, Dvorkovich said. "Response teams are to be included already this year into crews of icebreakers escorting vessels; furthermore, development of key seaports will be supported," the deputy prime minister said.
A separate section of the plan is dedicated to interests of the Defense Ministry in safeguarding the Northern Sea Route, Dvorkovich said.

 
The other side of whaling in the Faroes
Other News
Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 09 June 2015 11:31

FaroeHvalba, Suðuroy (photo: Erik Christensen, Porkeri, norden.org) Early in the morning, a number of pilot whales was killed on the island of Vágar in the northwest of the Faroe Islands archipelago. Contrary to the common belief, this annual event taking place in Faroes, is not a festival nor a ritual. Indeed, pilot whales are taken any time of the year (but the majority between July and September), to provide food for the local population: the catches are not commercialized (although whale meat and blubber are occasionally available in the local supermarkets) but rather shared for free among the participants and local community.
Harvesting of marine mammals for local consumption has been and yet it is a necessary activity especially within the Arctic and sub-Arctic areas. Inhabitants of Canada, Greenland, Faroes, Russia, Iceland, to name but a few, heavily rely on fishing and hunting as source of fresh and healthy food, not that easily accessible at these latitudes.
As other hunting activities, as for instance seal hunting, pilot whale hunting is strictly regulated by the law and International principles for conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources. As regard the specific case of Faroes, whaling is an activity that has been regulated since 1298: the Sheep Letter outlined rules for the use of whales, while a dedicated regulation for pilot whaling was enacted in 1832 and was most recently updated in 2013.
The catch is sustainable, as the pilot whale is not an endangered species, the pilot whale population in the eastern North Atlantic is about 778,000 whales. "The most recent scientific estimate of abundance for the pilot whale stock is 128,000 in the Iceland Faroese survey area. This estimate is based on data from the latest Trans-Atlantic Sightings Survey (TNASS) in 2007, coordinated by the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO).
Faeroes population catches between 800 and 1000 animals per year, a number representing less than 1% of the total whale population.
Whaling in the Faroes, as other activities as sealing in Greenland and Canada, are heavily condemned by animal right activists as a cruel, violent and unnecessary activity. Sea Sheperd, for instance, has today distributed a press release describing whaling as a massacre. "The beaches of the Faroe Islands are once again red with the blood of hundreds of slaughtered pilot whales" CEO of Sea Shepherd Global, Alex Cornelissen, said, "Without the presence of Sea Shepherd, shining a spotlight on these ferocious shores, this massacre will continue, unabated. We will ensure that the world cannot ignore this ocean massacre." (Read the full press release at the end of this article)
Sealing and Whaling have become one of the symbols of the misunderstanding between the Arctic and the southern areas of the globe.
Nevertheless, it must be admitted that a problem with whaling actually exists. Pilot whales, as other marine mammals, contain high levels of heavy metals such as mercury (in the meat and organs) and organochlorines (in the blubber). These contaminants are deposited in the marine environment through airborne pollution and waste from industrial processes,  bio-accumulating up through the food chain where they are often found in high levels in top marine predators. These man-made contaminants are highly harmful for both the mammals and humans, but yet little attention has been given to raise awareness. 

(more info here

Press Release by Sea Sheperd:

Saturday, June 6 2015

Further information and interview requests, contact:
Michelle Mossfield - Media Director, Sea Shepherd Global
E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Large Pod Of Pilot Whales Slaughtered In Brutal Grind In The Faroe Islands

This morning, at approximately 0840 local time, a large pod of pilot whales was slaughtered in the first grindadráp (grind) of the year, on the island of Vágar in the northwest of the Faroe Islands archipelago.

While official kill figures are yet to be released, estimates from the grindmaster indicate that as many as 150 individual pilot whales were in the slaughtered pod, making this one of the bloodiest grinds in at least two years.

The slaughter occurred just two weeks before Sea Shepherd crews are due to arrive in the Faroe Islands for the commencement of the organization's 2015 Faroe Islands Pilot Whale Defense Campaign, Operation Sleppid Grindini.

The ordeal commenced at approximately 0400 local time when the Faroese Fisheries Patrol vessel, Brimil, located the large pod south of the island of Vágar. Over the next four to five hours, as many as twenty-five hunting boats drove the pod, finally herding them on to the beach of Miðvágur where the grind eventually took place.

CEO of Sea Shepherd Global, Alex Cornelissen, said, "The beaches of the Faroe Islands are once again red with the blood of hundreds of slaughtered pilot whales. Without the presence of Sea Shepherd, shining a spotlight on these ferocious shores, this massacre will continue, unabated. We will ensure that the world cannot ignore this ocean massacre."

Land Team Leader, Rosie Kunneke, stated, "For more than four long, grueling hours, these animals fought for their lives. They were harassed, they were tortured, and then they were brutally killed in the presence of their family members. This is not tradition. This is a bloodbath."

For hundreds of years the people of the Faroe Islands have been herding migrating pilot whales from the sea into shallow water and slaughtering them. The slaughter, known by the Faroese term 'grindadráp' or 'grind', wipes-out entire family groups of whales and dolphins at one time.

Operation Sleppid Grindini will be Sea Shepherd's sixth campaign in the Faroe Islands. Led by the Sea Shepherd ships the Bob Barker, Sam Simon and Brigitte Bardot, and supported by a dedicated land team, the campaign marks the organization's strongest at-sea presence in the region to date.

 

 
16th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, Oulu June 8-12, 2015
Other News
Written by Federica   
Monday, 08 June 2015 09:29

Poster of the 16th Congress on Circumpolar HealthPoster of the 16th Congress on Circumpolar HealthThe international Congress on Circumpolar Health starts today in Oulu, until the 12th of June 2015. 

The congress will focus on human health and well-being in the Arctic and northern areas. It is open for everyone interested in Arctic issues, especially scientists, researchers, health care professionals, policy analysts, government agency representatives and community leaders.
The congress is organised by the Thule Institute, University of Oulu in collaboration with the International Union of Circumpolar Health (IUCH), the Nordic Society for Circumpolar Health, the Society of Arctic Health and Biology, and the Rokua Health & Spa.
The InternationaI Congress on Circumpolar Health (ICCH) series are arranged every three years in Arctic countries or countries related to Arctic issues.

First congress of the series was arranged in 1967, and it was previously hosted by Oulu in 1971.

For more info, please click here

 
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