MEXICO CITY, (Tierramérica).- Fishing worldwide is growing so quickly that it has surpassed the regulating capacity of institutions, making it urgent to adopt new conservation measures, says a report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Presented Jun. 16 in New York, "Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Deep Waters and High Seas" states that more than 60 percent of the marine world and its diversity, located outside national jurisdictions, are being subjected to ever-increasing pressures.
"Commercial activities at sea are rapidly expanding and are reaching increasingly considerable depths, where there are resources that have been little studied and are potentially vulnerable," says Kristina M. Gjerde, an adviser with the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the non-governmental organization that co-authored the UNEP study.
The report recommends defining preventive systems for protected marine areas and conducting urgent evaluations of the impacts of human activities.
A Bid to Put Brakes on Transgenic Cotton
RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- The Brazilian Ministry of Environment is trying to prevent the legalization of planting Bollgard genetically modified cotton, and has asked the National Technical Commission on Biosafety to revise the authorization for its commercial cultivation, issued a year ago.
The ministry argues that sufficient studies were not conducted about the impacts in the Brazilian context, where autochthonous species could be contaminated by genetic material from the transgenic crop.
The Commission restarted meetings this week, but even though the debate on this issue will intensify, it is unlikely the body will accept the request, Gabriel Fernandes, coordinator of the Campaign for a Transgenic-Free Brazil, told Tierramérica.
The cotton variety Bollgard, developed by the U.S.-based agribusiness giant Monsanto, was released under restrictions in areas where native cotton is grown. But the rules are not very effective in a country where genetically modified crops have been planted illegally, with seeds for soybeans, maize and cotton smuggled into the country.
Responsible Fishing Code Not Applied
BUENOS AIRES, (Tierramérica).- The Argentine environmental group Fundación Vida Silvestre warns that there is a gap between the local fishing reality and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing, of the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency.
"For example, they set maximum captures without considering the tradition of under-declaring, and without discounting the takes of other countries," Guillermo Cañete, coordinator of the foundation, told Tierramérica.
A study by the Fundación Vida Silvestre shows that the precautionary focus recommended by FAO, in the 1995 code, and on a voluntary basis, "is not well incorporated" into local legislation.
The environmentalist said the study conducted in Argentina's five coastal provinces will continue with workshops in the districts involved, in order to adjust the regulations. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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