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Concerns over Pacific bluefin tuna stocks as meeting with Japan ends in stalemate

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Meeting ends with no move to save endangered fish as campaigners warn bluefin tuna stocks will continue to plunge unless urgent action is taken

Campaigners have warned that global stocks of bluefin tuna will continue their dramatic decline after Japan – the fish’s biggest consumer – and other countries failed to agree on new conservation measures.

A four-day meeting in Sapporo, northern Japan, of countries that monitor stocks in most of the Pacific Ocean, made no progress towards helping fish populations recover from decades of overfishing, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Faced with the collapse of bluefin stocks, last year members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission made the decision to halve the catch of tuna under 30kg from its average level in 2002-2004, although conservation groups had called for a moratorium to give stocks time to recover.

But campaigners say urgent action is needed to help the bluefin tuna population, which in 2012 was estimated to have plummeted by 96% from unfished levels during nearly a century of overfishing.

“Unfortunately, the only outcome of this week’s meeting is a guarantee that the Pacific bluefin tuna population will decline even further because of the continued inaction of 10 governments responsible for the management of this species,” said Amanda Nickson, Pew’s director of global tuna conservation.

Nickson criticised Japan for not supporting extra conservation measures that would enable the fish, which spawn millions of eggs a year, to recover quickly.

About 80% of the global bluefin catch is consumed in Japan, where it is popular served raw as sashimi and sushi.

Soaring demand in China and other parts of Asia are hastening the Pacific bluefin’s demise, prompting the International Union for Conservation of Nature to move it from the “least concern” to the “vulnerable” category on its red list of threatened species last year.

The IUCN estimates the Pacific bluefin population has declined by 19% to 33% over the past 22 years, mainly to satisfy demand in Asia. According to an analysis, Pacific bluefin stocks will continue to decline through 2018, even with full implementation of existing conservation measures.

The institute predicts that over the next 10 years, there is a one in three chance that the Pacific bluefin population will fall to its lowest level ever recorded.

While researchers in Japan have made progress developing farmed Pacific bluefin that is acceptable to Japanese consumers, they account for only a tiny portion of the market.

“It is disappointing that the Japanese government did not support a strong rebuilding plan for Pacific bluefin considering Japanese fishermen have the most to gain if the population rebuilds, and the most to lose if the population of this valuable species collapses,” Nickson said.

“Since the member governments again failed to agree on needed protections, the international community may be forced to look at a global trade ban to help save this species.”

Source: www.theguardian.com

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Get moving with the new RAID DPV training programs

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The thrill of speeding through the water behind a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) is an experience that really gets the blood racing. Using a DPV provides divers both immense fun and the means to achieve goals that would be impossible without their use.

RAID is proud to announce the new two-tier DPV training program with certifications for DPV and Advanced DPV.

Why DPV and why now?
Recreational and technical divers are using DPVs to access sites that would be difficult to reach and explore using traditional propulsion methods; to help propel large amounts of heavy equipment; to increase the safety of dives in areas of strong current; or just for the pure exhilaration of shooting through the water at speed and performing underwater acrobatics.

By extending your capabilities and extending your range, using a DPV opens new vistas for exploration and fun.

DPV
This certification option is aimed at the recreational diver who wishes to learn how to use a DPV to enhance their diving by using mainly natural navigation.

Advanced DPV
This certification option is available to anyone who is familiar with longhose configuration, has logged a minimum of 20 dives and is certified as Navigation specialty divers.

This certification option is aimed at the slightly more experienced diver with preexisting navigational training and diving on a single, twin or sidemount setup with a longhose. Although this level is slightly more challenging, the more advanced navigation exercises provide an important base for more complex types of DPV diving within a team.

PREREQUISITES
You must:

  • Be a minimum of 12 years old.
  • Be certified as RAID Open Water 20, Junior Open Water or equivalent.

Just visit www.diveRAID.com to put some extra dash into your dives.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Beers raise cash for ocean clean-up

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The Driftwood Spars Brewery, a pioneering microbrewery based on the North Cornwall coast, is donating a percentage of all profits from its Cove range of beers to Fathoms Free, a certified charity which actively cleans the ocean around the Cornish peninsula.

Each purchase of the small-batch, craft beers – there are four different canned beers in the Cove range – will help generate funds to purchase a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and fund retrieval dives; every brew will raise the equivalent cost of a fully-funded dive. 

Fathoms Free is a Cornwall-based charity whose day-to-day mission involves dives from their fast-response specialist vessel to recover ghost fishing gear; abandoned nets, pots, angling equipment and other plastic causes severe damage to the marine environment and the death of countless seabirds, seals, dolphins and other sea life.

The campaign to raise funds for an ROV is a new initiative which will take the clean-up work to a new level; the highly manoeuvrable underwater vehicle will be used to scour the seabed, harbours and remote parts of the coastline for abandoned fishing gear and other marine litter.

Project Manager Natallia Paliakova from Fathoms Free said: “Apart from helping us locate ghost gear underwater, the ROV will also be capable of recording underwater video which is always great for raising awareness about marine pollution issues.”

She added: “We are really excited to be partnering with The Driftwood Spars Brewery and appreciate the proactive support of Mike and his team in bringing the purchase of an ROV a step closer to reality.”

Head Brewer Mike Mason personally approached the charity after their work was featured on the BBC 2 documentary, ‘Cornwall with Simon Reeve’.    

He said: “As a keen surfer I am only too aware of the problem of marine litter and had heard about Fathoms Free, but seeing them in action prompted me to find a way of contributing. The scale of the challenge is scary, but the determination of organisations like Fathoms Free is inspiring.”

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

The Driftwood Spars Brewery was founded in 2000 in Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes; the microbrewery is just a few steps away from it’s co-joined brewpub, The Driftwood Spars; both pub and brewery are well-regarded far beyond the Cornish cove they call home. 

You can hear the waves and taste the salt on the air from the door of both brewery and pub, and the rough seas along the rugged North coast often throw up discarded nets and other detritus; Louise Treseder, Landlady of The Driftwood Spars and a keen sea swimmer, often collects washed up ghost gear on her daily beach excursions.     

Louise commented: “This is a great partnership to support a cause close to our hearts – I know the money we raise will have a positive and lasting impact. The Cove range was inspired by our unique surroundings and the artwork – by local artist Jago Silver – reflects that. Now donations from each purchase will contribute towards the vital ocean clean-up taking place right on our doorstep.”

The Cove range can currently be purchased online here, and is available in good independent bottle shops in Cornwall.

To find out more about Fathoms Free visit their website here.

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