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Marine Life & Conservation

Ban Ki-moon urges United Nations Member States to recommit to “Constitution for the Oceans”

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Marking the upcoming 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the landmark treaty that has become known as the “Constitution for the Oceans”, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today encouraged Member States to recommit to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at what he considers a crucial moment for climate change.

“People everywhere continue to look to the oceans for food security and as a source of jobs, prosperity and well-being,” Ban said in his remarks to the meeting of State parties to the UNCLOS, which runs through Friday at the Headquarters in New York.

“Oceans and seas can play a critical role in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and in the post-2015 development agenda,” he continued, referencing the anti-poverty targets whose approaching 2015 deadline has led to discussions on a new set of sustainable development goals.

Among its provisions, UNCLOS established that the seabed and the ocean floor beyond the limits of national jurisdiction are the “common heritage of mankind” whose use and protection are the right and responsibility of all.

The Convention, which came into force on 16 November 1994, governs all aspects of ocean space – including the delimitation of maritime boundaries, exploitation of living and non-living resources, protection and preservation of the marine environment, marine scientific research and the settlement of relevant international disputes.

It has contributed to setting up the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the International Seabed Authority and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

The maritime accord also provides the basis for the equitable utilization, protection and preservation or resources in the oceans and seas.

The livelihoods of 12 per cent of the world’s population depend on the fishing sector. On average, 17 per cent of global animal protein intake comes from fisheries and aquaculture, and demand for fish protein is expected to double in the next 20 years, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has reported, yet some 28 per cent of global stocks are already overfished.

“We must address the many pressures facing the oceans as a result of overfishing, acidification, land-based activities and, above all, climate change,” he said, echoing his message for World Oceans Day, which this year underscored the power of collaboration to keep oceans and seas clean and healthy.

Ban will host a summit in September to further highlight the importance of climate change and sustainable development, and general momentum towards a universal UN-backed treaty on climate change by 2015 which would enter into force by 2020.

Ahead of this summit, and in line with the UN General Assembly’s declaration of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States, the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States will be held in early September in Apia, Samoa, to focus on partnerships for sustainable development those nations.

 

Source: www.islandsbusiness.com

Marine Life & Conservation

Save the Manatee Club launches brand new webcams at Silver Springs State Park, Florida

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manatee

Save the Manatee® Club has launched a brand-new set of underwater and above-water webcams at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala, FL. These new cameras add to our existing cameras at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida, and Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, in Homosassa, Florida, which are viewed by millions of people worldwide. The cameras are a collaboration between Save the Manatee Club, Explore.org, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, who made the new live streaming collaboration possible via support of their interpretative program.

The above-water camera is a stationary pan/tilt/zoom camera that will show manatees and other wildlife from above water, while the new underwater camera provides the viewer with a brand new, exciting 180-degree viewing experience. Viewers can move the cameras around, trying to spot various fish and manatees.

The Silver River, which originates at Silver Springs, provides important habitat for manatees and many other species of wildlife. Over recent years, more manatees have been seen utilizing the Silver and Ocklawaha rivers. “The webcams provide a wonderful entertainment and educational tool to the general public, but they also help us with the manatee research,” says Patrick Rose, Executive Director of Save the Manatee Club. “We have learned so much through observing manatees on our existing webcams, and the new cameras at Silver Spring can add to the existing manatee photo-ID research conducted in this area, as well as highlighting Silver Springs and the Silver River as an important natural habitat for manatees.”

The webcams are streaming live during the daytime, with highlights playing at night, and can be viewed on Explore.org and on Save the Manatee Club’s website at ManaTV.org.

Save the Manatee Club, established in 1981 by the late renowned singer-songwriter, author, and entrepreneur Jimmy Buffett, along with former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, is dedicated to safeguarding manatees and preserving their aquatic habitat. For more information about manatees and the Club’s efforts, visit savethemanatee.org or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646).

Photo: www.avalon.red

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Marine Life & Conservation

Stranded dolphin rescued from muddy inlet

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At around 11:40 on Friday 16 February, a lone common dolphin was reported to British Divers Marine Life Rescue circling in the shallows in an inlet at Place, near Portscatho, in Cornwall. A couple of volunteer Marine Mammal Medics were sent down initially to monitor the animal in hope it would be able to get away by itself, and further assess the situation.

After an hour and a half or so of observation, the risk of stranding increased significantly as the tide went out as the inlet is very shallow, muddy and almost completely dries out over low tide. Therefore, a larger response team was dispatched with more equipment in preparation for a stranding. Indeed, the animal did soon strand in the mud and fell onto its side, submerging the blowhole. Luckily the team were on hand to help get it upright again quickly, then bring it ashore for a health assessment and to begin providing first aid. No obvious injuries could be found and it measured 2.03m, later confirmed as female.

dolphin

The team were soon joined by two vets, who were able to confirm the animal to be in moderate nutritional condition and appeared otherwise okay following a more detailed health check, and so was suitable for the team to attempt to refloat. However, it was not possible to refloat it safely in the inlet due to the nature of the geography, substrate and tide there it seemed the most likely reason this dolphin had stranded was due to getting disoriented in this location, and would struggle to get out again. Luckily a local resident had his boat tender moored nearby and was happy to use it a transport craft to take the dolphin out to deeper water.

dolphin

With help, the boat was slid across the mud and launched near the mouth of the inlet. A surfboard was placed on one side with a soft mat on top for the dolphin to lie comfortably on during the journey. When ready, the dolphin was carried across in a tarpaulin, transferred to a mesh stretcher and loaded on board with a team of four Medics including a vet.

The boat then carefully made its way out to the mouth of the Percuil River, facing into Carrick Roads and close to open sea, which was the most ideal site for release where the chance of returning and re-dolphinstranding was lower. The dolphin was carefully hauled overboard in the stretcher and held alongside briefly, though as she started kicking strongly almost straight away it was hard to keep hold and so she was released quickly. The boat retreated and the team observed her circling in the middle of the channel until she was lost from sight. The team returned to the inlet before darkness fell.

dolphin

The area will be monitored over the weekend for re-sightings or re-strandings, but it is hoped that she will recover successfully and continue back out to sea. In the meantime BDMLR would like to thank the volunteer team, local residents and members of the public for all their efforts and support throughout this incident.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue is an international marine animal rescue organisation based in the UK and is a registered charity.  The aims of the organisation are to provide a rescue service for marine wildlife, to support existing rehabilitation centres and to develop new methods of rescue, treatment, transport and care.  Website www.bdmlr.org.uk.

Photos: Dan Jarvis

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