RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 26 (Tierramérica).- Brazil's Fisheries and Aquaculture Secretariat is offering concessions for raising fish in areas near dams and other public water bodies, with the aim of legalizing the status of clandestine fisherfolk.
It involves "offering the fishers the opportunity for a legal solution instead of punishing them," Aquaculture director Felipe Matias told Tierramérica.
The first concessions announced cover five areas in Itaipú, an immense hydroelectric dam shared with Paraguay. There are to be four more concession distribution processes in the next year.
Just one percent of Brazil's water resources can be used for raising fish, but it would be enough to double the existing 150,000 aquaculturists.
Traditional fishers can obtain concessions free of charge, but fishing companies will have to pay for the right to use the public resource.
The food not consumed by the farmed fish could trigger the proliferation of aquatic plants and drive up costs of water treatment, warns Jackson Pantoja, scientist with the National Institute of Amazon Research.
Consumer Watchdog Blames Tobacco Companies
MEXICO CITY, Nov 26 (Tierramérica).- Corporate interests are feeding the "I Smoke" campaign in Mexico, an effort by smokers against reforms that would put stricter limits on cigarettes, according to the non-governmental organization Power of the Consumer (El Poder del Consumidor).
"It's been seen in other countries that groups like these, in name of citizens and the supposed freedom to smoke, put on pressure on behalf of the tobacco companies," Consumer director Alejandro Calvillo told Tierramérica.
The "I Smoke" campaign sent letters on Nov. 20 to dozens of lawmakers who are debating a bill that could punish those who light up in non-smoking areas with up to 36 hours in jail.
The group's literature says it is "the first Mexican organization of smokers in defense of our human rights."
Mexico has some 16 million smokers among its population of 104 million. An average of 163 people die per day in Mexico from diseases linked to smoking.
Activists Demand New Forestry Agency
TEGUCIGALPA, Nov 26 (Tierramérica).- The Olancho Environmentalist Movement (MAO) in eastern Honduras is urging the government to create the Institute of Forestry Conservation to execute the related law, approved two months ago.
The institute is "key for the new law to succeed, and should involve people who are honest and credible, to avoid the past vices of impunity linked to illegal trafficking of wood in forest preserves," MAO leader and Catholic priest Andrés Tamayo told Tierramérica.
The institute will replace the Honduran Corporation of Forestry Development, which "is already defunct, and we should open the way for the new baby that has been born, which I hope doesn't get sick and grow into an ignorant adult," said Tamayo.
The law establishes new forms of exploitation of forest resources, with the broad participation of citizens in forest management.
Honduras loses more than 100,000 hectares of forests annually, according to official data.
Youth Concern for Water
BUENOS AIRES, Nov 26 (Tierramérica).- More than 200 young people will gather in December in the eastern Argentine city of Chascomús to celebrate the first National Water and Youth Conference.
"The idea is to unite criteria on basic concepts like access to water as a human right, and based on that common agenda, to have an impact on public policies," Leonardo Davies, coordinator of Youth Agenda, one of the 34 groups organizing the conference, told Tierramérica.
Eight million Argentines do not have access to potable water networks, and 21 million lack sanitation services.
At the Dec. 7-8 gathering in Chascomús, 200 kilometers south of Buenos Aires, participants hope to draw up action plans to share at the international meet to take place in 2008 in Zaragoza, Spain, said Davies.
The Water and Youth movement, which encompasses some 300 groups in 70 countries, was launched this year in Buenos Aires. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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