Rachel's Precaution Reporter #91
Wednesday, May 23, 2007

From: Coalicion Ciudadana Anti-Incineracion (Argentina) ..[This story printer-friendly]
May 22, 2007


[Rachel's introduction: Argentina adopts a precautionary approach to solid waste incineration, favoring alternative technologies.]

Buenos Aires -- The National Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development submitted its National Implementation Plan of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (the "POPs Treaty"), where it recommends promoting alternative to incineration for managing wastes in order to reduce emissions of dioxins and furans.

The Stockholm Convention on POPs*, signed in 2001 under the framework of the UN, aims to reduce, with the final goal to eliminate, the emissions of the most toxic chemicals known. The initial list of substances to eliminate includes 9 pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, dioxins and furans. Five other chemicals where added to the list in the last Conference of the Parties. Argentina ratified the Convention in January 2005, and presented its National Implementation Plan (NIP) as a following procedure.**

Waste incineration is classified in the Convention as one of the main sources of dioxin and furan emissions to the environment. Argentina still has dozens of incinerators of industrial, medical and urban waste under operation. Despite the fact that Argentina ratified the Stockholm Convention, there are still many incinerator proposals in the country, added to a promotion of waste-to-energy.

In the NIP, Argentina describes the steps it plans to take to meet its obligations under the Convention, to reduce emissions of these toxic substances. To reduce dioxin and furan emissions from municipal solid waste management, the submitted Plan recommends "promoting a ban over incineration as a treatment and disposal technology for this type of waste, including the use of waste as input to produce energy."

In relation to the emissions coming from medical waste management and treatment, it is stated that "waste management manuals should be developed to reduce the volume of wastes produced at animal and human healthcare centers, both public and private, oriented to use treatment and disposal technologies that don't produce POPs."

The Anti-Incineration Citizens Coalition [Coalicion Ciudadana Anti- Incineracion] celebrates the inclusion of these measures, which aim at preventing dioxin and furan emissions in the first place, through the implementation of methods and technologies that don't produce these pollutants.

"The fact that the Stockholm Convention National Implementation Plan recommends banning incineration is an important step to prevent pollution, but equally important is that this gets reflected in concrete measures. Given that there are waste management systems that don't produce POPs, no new incinerator should be allowed in the country, and a plan to close the existent incinerators should be implemented", said Luis Tuninetti, Director of Eco-Sitio and member of the Coalition.

The Anti-Incineration Citizens Coalition [Coalicion Ciudadana Anti- Incineracion] is a national network of citizens and NGOs that live next to waste incinerators or face incinerator proposals in their communities. Since its foundation in 1995, the Coalition works to eradicate waste incineration, promoting at the same time sustainable waste management methods. During these years, the Coalition was a key factor in getting 17 municipalities to ban or restrict waste incineration in the country.***

Press contact:

Silvana Bujan: Tel: (54 223) 479-2474 Mobile: (54 223) 155 019937



* The Stockholm Convention is available here: http://www.pops.int/documents/convtext/convtext_sp.pdf

** The National Implementation Plan can be downloaded here: http://www.pops.int/documents/implementation/nips/submissio ns/argentina_NIP.pdf

*** The municipalities that have banned or restricted waste incineration in Argentina are: Buenos Aires city, Rosario, Granadero Baigorria, Coronel Bogado, Totoras, Casilda, Capitan Bermúdez, Villa Constitucion (province of Santa Fe), Villa Allende, Marcos Juarez and Villa Nueva (Cordoba), Esquel (Chubut), Palpala (Jujuy), San Juan, General Pueyrredon and Tres Arroyos (province of Buenos Aires) and Crespo (Entre Rios). The texts of the ordinances and laws are available here: http://noalaincineracion.org/argentina/prohibiciones



From: Newswire.co.nz ......................................[This story printer-friendly]
May 22, 2007


[Rachel's introduction: The fisheries bill will place sustainability concerns ahead of commercial interests when there are gaps or flaws in information about fish stocks -- a precautionary approach. Opponents fear this will allow the fisheries minister to cut the total allowable catch without any basis.]

Labour's Maori MPs [members of parliament] and a parliamentary committee considering contentious legislation widening scope to cut the fishing catch are trying to apply brakes to the process.

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton has accused the industry and some MPs of being fanatical in their opposition to the bill amending the 11- year-old Fisheries Act.

He wants the bill passed into law before the October deadline for setting the next round of allowable catches, and has given MPs on the primary production select committee till June 12 to report back to the House.

But the committee has asked for more time. And Labour's Maori MPs are about to meet Mr Anderton to thrash out their concerns about the bill.

Select committee chairman, National MP David Carter, said the committee wanted to get more advice from the Fisheries Ministry.

"We just cannot get it back in a reasonable form in that time," he said. He would be seeking an extension till early August.

The bill will place sustainability concerns ahead of commercial interests when there are gaps or flaws in information about fish stocks.

Opponents fear this will allow the minister to cut the total allowable catch without any basis.

Mr Carter said if the law were to err on the side of sustainability when there was uncertainty about fish stocks, there would be a risk to the reasonable use of the stock.

Maori MPs generally are unhappy about the bill's potential to impact on income flow from the 1992 Sealord fisheries settlement.

The Maori Party has publicly stated its opposition to the bill, while Labour's Maori MPs invited Mr Anderton to meet them tonight.

Mr Anderton argues that international best practice is for fishery managers to adopt a precautionary approach when information is uncertain.

In an angry speech to the seafood industry today he took his critics to task, denied the bill would undermine the Sealord settlement and insisted that it would not lead to wholesale changes in current catch limits.

"What I don't expect from a responsible industry is attempts to ambush a responsible long-term, sustainable policy programme built around the internationally recognised and accepted precautionary principle," Mr Anderton said.

Copyright Newsroom 2007


From: Scoop (Wellington, New Zealand) .....................[This story printer-friendly]
May 22, 2007


[Rachel's introduction: Simply put, this is the precautionary approach: If information is uncertain, we should lean on the side of protecting the fishery, not risking its destruction. Fish left in the sea, are fish in the bank. To keep on taking fish when you don't have a good idea of how many are left is, in my view, like robbing the bank.]

By Jim Anderton

[Jim Anderton is the Fisheries Minister of New Zealand.]

Thank you for the opportunity to join you again for your conference. I have a simple message for you today: Our fishing industry has an exciting future; but it has to confront some difficult issues to maximise the opportunities ahead.

Fishing in New Zealand has twin long-term challenges: Development of the industry to realise its strong commercial potential. And ensuring our development is sustainable, so that our resource is managed for today and tomorrow.

Both the future profitability and the ongoing sustainability of the industry need to be addressed together; that's only going to happen through constructive, forward looking relationships with the government and across the industry.

I am not going to pretend it is all champagne and roses in getting to where we want to go. In fact, I think we need to lift our act by being realistic about the challenges we need to meet and in making serious efforts to find solutions we can all accept.

I want to be very clear about where the opportunities exist -- about where we need to do better, faster. And I'm warning that I'm disappointed with progress in some sectors. If you think I'm going to leave it there, you don't know me very well. The overall context is good. The world market for seafood is thriving. As world demand grows, demand for our exports will grow. Fishing is seven times bigger today than it was twenty years ago. Our seafood exports are worth over $3 million a day to New Zealand.

I know exporting businesses aren't helped by the high value of the dollar, high interest rates and fuel costs. In some ways the New Zealand economy has been a victim of its own success. Over the last seven years as we've powered through the longest continuous period of economic growth in decades, some imbalances have arisen. Domestic demand is racing ahead of our export receipts.

The government is doing what it can to meet those challenges -- for example, running strong fiscal surpluses, saving through the National Superannuation Fund and now introducing Kiwisaver. These initiatives will help to divert domestic demand from spending to saving, make more capital available for business and take pressure off inflation, interest rates and the dollar.

In the budget last week, we cut business tax for the first time in twenty years. We introduced the most comprehensive package of research and development incentives, export market development and international investment tax reforms in a generation.

These measures will make a substantial difference over the long haul. But anyone who thinks there are short-term solutions to the issues is telling tall fishing tales.

And we can't do much about the low US dollar or high international fuel prices. Instead, we have to get on with meeting our long-term challenges. I'm being frank today: We need to do better at pulling together to achieve both development and sustainability.

Everyone has to give something. I'll turn to some specifics in a moment. But first I want to recap some of our successes from co- operating. I am encouraged by the positive successes we have had where the industry has worked well and co-operatively, and worked in partnership with the government. In aquaculture, Benthic Protection Areas, the Deepwater Memorandum of Understanding and the paua fishery - these are examples we can build on.

It's worth recapping these, because they show the way we need to go in other areas. Aquaculture, for example, has a big part to play in our future and the sector has produced a compelling strategy. It's vision is to create a billion dollar industry by 2025. I think the vision is realistic.

To give you an idea of the rate of global growth -- a United Nations study said demand for seafood around the world would grow by a third over the next ten years. There are not enough fish in the sea to meet the demand, so the rapidly expanding demand will have to be met from fish farming.

I was in Tokyo last month and I went to see the Tsukiji [sue-key-gee] fish market. It's the biggest seafood market in the world -- in fact one of the world's largest food markets of any kind, selling everything from sardines to tuna and caviar. Seven hundred thousand tonnes of seafood a year are handled by the market -- worth close to ten billion New Zealand dollars. Forty-four percent of the market's produce -- nearly half of it -- is from aquaculture. That's just in one -- very large -- market -- and there are another eighty-seven markets in Japan alone.

So this is a sector with an exciting future, and the government is engaging with it. When Aquaculture New Zealand is launched next month, on the 7th of June, the government will release its response to the sector strategy.

In the meantime, we've been very active. When I was Minister of Economic Development and the aquaculture industry needed a strategy to chart a future course for the sector, the Government provided $112,000 to develop one.

Last year when a new industry body was required to implement the strategy the Government provided a further $70,000 to get this off the ground.

Last year the Government allocated $2.9m for assisting the aquaculture industry and Regional Councils to progress aquaculture management areas through the planning process.

We set up a ministers' group and ministry chief executives' group to oversee the work of government departments on aquaculture. We will also set up a regular forum where central and local government and industry leaders can discuss aquaculture growth at senior levels.

So the government is playing its part. And when we look at some of the details, there is more to think about. National standards will be one of the pillars of the aquaculture sector's development. Why? Because it suits our industry to be able to demonstrate we have world class standards of industry and environmental management.

Consumers are demanding it; and if consumers want it -- and we can show we are achieving high standards while other countries can't -- then that will help our industry as a whole. There is no point in joining a race to the bottom. There is nothing in that for New Zealand long term.

We can achieve a premium and avoid being punished by international markets if we have standards in place that show strong commitment to the sound environmental management of our fishery. This is not just theoretical. This is a shark that is already circling our boat.

When I was in Europe last year the hot issue was carbon costs and 'food miles' -- targeting the carbon used in transporting food long distances. Clearly, as the world's most remote food producer, we have to respond to these issues and get ahead of the game.

Concerns over food miles and the like are also an opportunity for us. Last month, Ireland's Minister for Fisheries expressed strong support for initiatives to ensure that fish products sold in Europe carry eco- friendly labelling. This is an opportunity for New Zealand, because we can show that our products are eco-friendly. We can claim to be as ecologically careful as any nation on earth.

National standards will be part of the package of our response. The aquaculture industry made national standards one of the pillars of its strategy for development, and I see this as a sign of a far-sighted, encouraging and realistic approach. It's a good example of where the industry and government can work together.

I want this lesson to be studied in other areas. The Ministry has recently completed consultation on three standards and is about to begin consultation on the next batch.

I know there have been industry concerns. I want to make it clear that whether or not we have standards will not be up for debate. Standards are an integral part of objectives based fisheries management. That is the way we are going to manage fisheries in the future, so standards are here to stay.

There is room for debate around development and setting of standards. But it's a waste of everyone's time to debate whether standards should exist at all. Standards benefit the industry. Standards make Government bottom lines transparent. Standards give you more certainty about what you have to achieve.

The devil is in the detail and we need to pay careful attention to ensuring the standards that are put in place achieve what we want at least possible cost. This is where your input is important. I urge you and the rest of industry to make the most of your opportunity to contribute to their development.

I believe the government is being a very constructive partner in engaging with the industry. We demonstrated that in the recent, pioneering Benthic Protection Areas initiative. It will see a diverse range of New Zealand's underwater habitats protected from bottom- trawling and dredging. Through this one initiative, we will protect thirty percent of our seabed. It took many decades to achieve something similar on land. This is a substantial leap forward for marine protection and I congratulate the industry for its responsible attitude.

And while I have some tough messages today for the industry -- I also believe this settlement shows the need for others with a view about fisheries to show some goodwill too. I was not impressed with criticism by some NGOs of the Benthic initiative. When the industry takes proactive steps, it deserves recognition and support. I am disappointed that some groups -- including some of my parliamentary colleagues -- behaved fanatically, rather than welcoming this pleasing development.

When I say I want everyone with a stake in fishing to work co- operatively, I mean *everyone*, not just the industry. Those who don't are not being responsible and not helping anyone -- not even themselves.

The Deepwater Memorandum of Understanding is another example of a positive partnership. The agreement between the Ministry of Fisheries and deepwater quota owners provides a forum for frank discussions and it is already proving successful. For example, I am very satisfied with the way the squid fishery operated this year, including the efforts to reduce incidental sea lion mortality. What we are seeing is the benefit of working with co-operation and goodwill. The paua fishery is another example where good co-operation between the ministry and the industry produces mutual benefits.

I am disgusted with poaching and the black market paua trade. Every year about three hundred tonnes of paua are taken illegally. In places like Hong Kong a kilogram of paua can fetch up to $100. So the incentive to export illegally harvested shellfish is high. But it is stealing and it harms legitimate fishing, threatens the future of the resource and decreases the value of one of our most valuable fisheries.

Recreational fishers and the industry have joined in the "Poaching is Theft" campaign. The 0800 4 POACHER freephone gets around two hundred phone calls a month from the public and it helped us prosecute over seventy poachers since July last year. At the Auckland and Christchurch airports and the international post office, two paua- sniffing dogs have been screening baggage and mail.

There is a lot of work going on beyond enforcement, as well. With support from Paua Management Action Committees and the Paua Industry Council, we have been able to improve fishing data and reseed depleted stocks. There has been education for divers on how to harvest or return paua so that its chance of survival is maximised.

One of the best advances has been the ability of the industry to create and apply their own management decisions. It has enabled us all to better monitor the effects of change. This has only been achieved by moving from an industry made up of individual harvesters to a unified collective of responsible fishers that look after the resource with identified management frameworks.

So there are some positive examples of partnership and goodwill that have produced good results. It is crucial for the industry to recognise the gains as we deal with other, tough issues.

Cost recovery is a complex and contentious example. A Joint Crown- Industry Working Group was set up early this year, to review the cost recovery rules and how they are applied to fisheries and conservation services. It's going slower than planned, but I understand it is still maintaining a constructive approach. I am keeping an open mind until I receive its report. But I urge everyone involved to find solutions which everyone can accept.

I believe the government, for its part, is showing goodwill. You asked that the Government not use the Cost Recovery Review to increase costs on the industry and we listened and agreed to cap current costs for current services.

The draft statement of intent for the coming year included around $6m of cost-recovered services from the industry. When I met with the SEAFIC policy council earlier this year your representatives argued that such cost increases would be crippling. They asked me not to introduce them at a time when the industry is suffering significant cost pressure from the exchange rate and fuel costs.

I took those messages on board and I directed the Ministry to defer these initiatives at this time, other than the update of the inshore trawl form which I understand the industry supports. So you can be reassured that I will respond co-operatively to reasoned representation.

I would like to be able to report similar constructive co-operation around discussions on shared fisheries. But what I have actually found is defensiveness. The commercial sector -- and others -- need to wake up.

Let me make this clear: The current management of shared fisheries is unsatisfactory. It has to get better. And in the process of making it better, I have invited you to be in the boat. But the alternative is that you won't be aboard. The ship will still sail.

The current shared fishing management system is not acceptable. There is a lack of guidance. There is uncertainty about allocation decisions. There is uncertainty about provision for recreational and Maori customary take.

Shared fisheries proposals are not designed to take anyone's rights away, but to clear up uncertainty. I am yet to hear anyone tell me why it's a good idea to leave important issues in a state of uncertainty. Uncertainty threatens investments by the commercial sector. Uncertainty discourages conservation efforts. And uncertainty gets in the way of constructive cooperation amongst stakeholders.

The submission process showed that there is considerable support for change across the areas identified in the public discussion document. So if you accept that, then you accept there is a need for a better system. And therefore we should be able to resolve it; but it needs everyone to come out of their corners. I know some industry figures took exception to my observation that some of the reaction to Shared Fisheries had been "hysterical". For their benefit, let me again repeat my view that the outrageous analysis of Shared Fisheries proposals I've seen have indeed been "hysterical". I went to considerable lengths to ensure that compensation was the benchmark for any reallocation. On many occasions I have reiterated that any reallocation should be on a willing buyer willing seller basis.

The Government will not, under any circumstances, undermine the Deed of Settlement or the Quota Management System. We have made this clear from day one but those with an agenda to create hysteria claimed we would.

Those who thought they were being clever by trying to torpedo the Shared Fisheries project got a rude shock when Justice Harrison handed down his findings on the kahawai case. The judgement has profound implications for the commercial sector.

If the Shared Fisheries process now fails we will be falling back on the existing legislation -- and if the Court of Appeal upholds the findings of Justice Harrison then I, and future Ministers, will be providing for the social, cultural and economic well-being of recreational fishers without much guidance or certainty. And we will be making such decisions before we turn to the TACC. The Court have not provided me with guidance on how we take into account commercial rights and values and Settlement rights.

So that wasn't a great strategy was it? Agitators who whipped up anxiety about Shared Fisheries will have torpedoed the one framework that would have seen reallocation happen on a compensated willing buyer willing seller basis. Everyone who told you they were acting in your interests was doing exactly the opposite. In an effort to get themselves a Rolls Royce, they got everyone else, including themselves, a moped.

I am willing to give Shared Fisheries another try. I am a patient person. I am prepared to recommend to Cabinet a negotiated process between the major parties. But I can't guarantee Cabinet will want to continue with the matter because of the anxieties already stirred up. There is a saying I use often, "be careful what you wish for because you just might get it".

While we are on the subject of clearing up uncertainty, you will know I want to see an amendment to the Fisheries Act to clarify the law and provide clearer direction to those making fisheries management decisions where information is inadequate.

Simply put, this is the precautionary approach. If information is uncertain, we should lean on the side of protecting the fishery, not risking its destruction. Fish left in the sea, are fish in the bank. To keep on taking fish when you don't have a good idea of how many are left is, in my view, like robbing the bank.

And let's just be clear about this -- why would anyone interested in the long term vitality and growth of the fishing industry want to risk destroying the very resource it is based on? Why would anyone want to risk the public odium, and the backlash in international markets to our efforts to achieve a premium for our sustainable management? A short-term focus, based on narrow self-interest is not just selfish and myopic. It is indefensible.

My amendment will make clear that where information is uncertain, decision-makers should be particularly careful and not delay to ensure the resource is managed sustainably. Decision makers will still be required to think about how their decisions affect both sustainability and utilisation. Decisions will still need to be consistent with the purpose of the Act, which will remain unchanged. That is "providing for utilization while ensuring sustainability".

But it will help ensure a more sustainable resource base and that's good for the industry and good for New Zealand.

This is not about undermining the Deed of Settlement. This is about future proofing the settlement and safeguarding the resource for our mokopuna. These amendments will not lead to wholesale changes in current TACCs. Over time, in some situations where information is uncertain and there are signals for concern, there may well be some constraints in short-term utilisation of some fisheries, but only where caution is required. Short-term inconveniences will help to ensure a more sustainable base for the industry in the long-term.

I have to say that I am unimpressed that parts of the industry do not show more leadership in protecting the sustainability of our precious marine resource base.

How does it help any fishing business in the long term if stocks are ruined? What sort of basis for building an industry is that? Some among your ranks have claimed there is no problem with the Act as it is currently written. Why then did I see an industry submission last year that said, and I quote: "There is no presumption in favour of preserving the resource for future generations that the Minister should revert to... the Ministry's approach to the principle that 'decision makers should be cautious' is that long-term sustainability issues should be preferred. But this is to misapply this information principle... Making a decision that involves a very significant cut to the current levels of utilization of that resource is not to be 'cautious' at all."

This industry submission was made in relation to Orange Roughy One, where there had been misreporting and criminal behaviour. Faced with an Adaptive Management Plan, (which I consider to be a privilege, not a right) where I could not have confidence in the stock information, but where the apparent catch was well under the TACC, I made the call that this AMP should be cancelled and the TACC returned to the level at which it had been originally set. On seeking an injunction, the judge sympathised with the industry submission and said in effect 'carry on fishing', so how does that work?

Contrary to popular belief the Courts have not provided a clear statement that section 10 requires decision makers to ensure sustainability when information is uncertain. Rather they have suggested that this section requires a balancing.

You can't balance, or trade off, sustainability with utilisation. Sustainability is a bottom line, within which utilization must be accommodated.

This has not been the interpretation your industry has always put forward. Just last December SEAFIC wrote to me and said: "The cautious approach that section 10 requires relates to both the utilization of the resource as well as its sustainability (and is therefore wider than typical expression of the "precautionary approach" in literature and law)."

And then this morning I heard the chief executive contradicting this by saying the current section 10 is entirely consistent with international law.

The UN Fish Stocks Agreement, the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Fishery Resources in the South Pacific, the Western and Central Pacific Ocean Fish Stocks Convention and the FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries all state that where information is lacking caution should exercised in order to protect and conserve the marine environment, not provide for utilization.

Back in 2002 in the seamount litigation industry lawyers argued that by closing certain seamounts the Minister acted contrary to section 10. In particular, they argued he acted contrary to his obligations under section 10 to provide for utilisation. There are other examples similar to this.

So your lawyers have tangled you up in inconsistencies and confusion - this is what lawyers do. I want to amend the Act so it is absolutely crystal clear that sustainability is the priority and no lawyer or court can cast any doubt on it. Sustainability is too important for us to be in any doubt about its priority.

What I want is for us to agree that sustainability is the bottom line and to make this clear in section 10 so the lack of information is not used as a reason to delay taking measures to protect fisheries.

I said to you last year, don't waste your money on lawyers. Work with me and judge me on overall results. I said to you that sometimes decisions would go in your favour, like increasing the in-season FRML in the squid fishery last year or delaying introduction of albacore and skipjack into the QMS. But sometimes I will have to make difficult calls that you won't like. We have to take a mature approach to this and reverting to the Courts, is not in my view a sensible use of yours or the Ministry's time and resources.

Lawyers love litigation and they will goad you into taking me to Court but if I find I can't protect the sustainability of our fisheries I will have to try to change the law so that I can. And this is what I am now doing.

For all that, the government is committed to engaging co-operatively with the industry. I am personally committed to your industry's development -- always have been -- and I will listen reasonably to any pragmatic and sensible concerns about its development. I demonstrated that in responding to concerns over cost recovery, as I mentioned.

I will remain your strongest advocate in public and at the Cabinet table, and I have defended you time and again and for my efforts I get mother's day cards from orphaned sealions. But I expect that from NGOs.

What I don't expect from a responsible industry is attempts to ambush a responsible, long-term, sustainable policy programme built around the internationally recognised and accepted precautionary principle.

I believe the issues I've just outlined show the industry can do more to show its commitment to partnership and sustainability. I invite you to work on the relationship with government and its agencies because that is the best way to maximise your input and secure the best outcomes as you see them.

As a gesture of the Government's goodwill, I am announcing today $4.6 million to fund environmental certification of our fisheries exports. This initiative is designed so you can get higher premiums for your products in international markets and be rewarded for taking a sustainable approach to fisheries management.

However, if you persist in opposing aligning the Fisheries Act with international best-practice then it will be hard to convince your customers, and the New Zealand public, that your commitment to sustainability is anything but skin deep.

No one is going to get everything they want. But with goodwill we can all get what we can accept. Goodwill means recognising the variety of valid perspectives. It means recognising that everyone has a stake in the development of the industry and in managing it to mutual advantage.

What will not work is taking a short-term view. What will not work is ignoring facts and evidence. What will not work is holding out for narrow self interest. Any solution to any problem that doesn't reflect a reasonable consensus will be unstable and ultimately it will fail. And what will not work is thinking I am going to be swayed by self- pity, self-interest or obstruction.

I want to finish on a positive note. I've had some tough messages for you today, but they are tough because I believe you are tough enough to take them and I want to be tough about making the most of the opportunities our fishing industry has ahead of it.

Sustainable management of our fisheries is crucial if we are going to protect our resource. Sustainable management is crucial if we are going to develop the industry, battle away the growing protectionist threats we are facing and achieve a premium for our fish exports.

We all have a responsibility to row the boat. And I see awareness is growing everywhere that we can benefit from careful management.

I welcome the partnerships that have furthered our progress on these fronts to date. And I look forward to the industry taking steps to strengthen its relationships with the government even further in the future.


From: Scoop.co.nz .........................................[This story printer-friendly]
May 21, 2007


[Rachel's introduction: "The precautionary approach (an internationally accepted standard) ought to help ensure sustainability and address the impacts of fishing on the aquatic environment."]

[We saw last week that the Maori Fisheries Trust believes the precautuionary principle is being used as a ploy to reduce Maori fishing rights. This week another Maori fisheries group disagrees.]

The Hokianga Accord -- the mid north iwi regional fisheries forum -- ratified calls for a more precautionary approach in fisheries management and opposes the argument to withdraw the Fisheries Amendment Bill from Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Maori Fisheries Trustee.

The intention of the amendment is to enable the Minister of Fisheries to take precautionary measures to ensure sustainability, if the available information is uncertain.

"Our position is clear. Food on the table for the whanau and our mokopuna must take priority over commercial interests. Ministerial caution when making decisions is in the interests of all sector groups to ensure ongoing sustainability of the resource," said Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi representative, Paul Haddon.

Ngapuhi, New Zealand's largest iwi, has been an integral part of the Hokianga Accord. The forum is dedicated to working on behalf of all New Zealanders to achieve the objective of more fish in the water / kia maha atu nga ika i roto te wai.

"Making allocation decisions without adequate caution would be counter-productive and in nobody's long term interests. Our objective is supported by iwi and many recreational fishing groups -- both Maori and Pakeha -- who make up the Hokianga Accord."

"Ngapuhi believe that this approach is critical to its substantial commercial interests' long-term sustainability. We will support measures that aim to improve abundance and achieve environmental sustainability for the wellbeing of all people."

Mr Haddon also pointed out that Te Ohu Kaimoana's argument for the Bill to be dropped is flawed because past allocation decisions have resulted in fisheries not recovering quickly enough, meaning less fish are available when New Zealanders fish to feed their families.

"When Maori go fishing for a kai, 99.99% of the time we are categorised as recreational fishers. Iwi working closely with other recreational fishing groups is resulting in a valuable, ongoing working relationship.

"The Hokianga Accord is proof that when it comes to the sea both Maori and Pakeha want the same thing, improved fisheries, a healthy marine environment and increased understanding of the benefits of communities working together."

A draft submission supporting the intention of the Bill was presented and debated during a recent Hokianga Accord hui held at Oturei marae, Dargaville. The forum expects any changes to the Act to be consistent with the recent High Court kahawai case that confirmed the Minister's obligation to allow for both customary and recreational fishing interests, to enable people to provide for their wellbeing.

The precautionary approach (an internationally accepted standard) ought to help ensure sustainability and address the impacts of fishing on the aquatic environment.


From: Fish Farmer .........................................[This story printer-friendly]
May 21, 2007


[Rachel's introduction: In Australia, fish farmers are worried that imported "ornamental" fish carry novel disease organisms that could infect commercial species.]

It has been suggested by University of Sydney Professor, Richard Whittington, a specialist in the health of aquatic animals, that the 8 to 10 million ornamental fish imported into Australia carry a "plethora of exotic pathogens and parasites recorded and not yet recorded".

"There is no doubt that aquarium fish that are being imported into Australia every week carry pathogens that have the potential to cause severe ecological impacts," he was reported as saying. Professor Whittington and Dr Roger Chong, of Queensland's Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, report on the serious threat posed by imported ornamental fish, in an article published online prior to its publication in a peer reviewed journal.

As has been claimed by the Australian aquaculture industry, Whittington says that whilst this country has some of the most stringent customs and quarantine standards for importing ornamental fish, they are not good enough.

According to Growfish, one of the reasons he claims stems from international trade rules that only allow blocking the imports of ornamental fish where there is recognised scientific data to back up the ban.

The issue, Whittington claims, is the situation where collecting such detailed information on fish diseases is both "laborious and expensive" and that the majority of imported ornamental fish are from developing countries where disease surveillance is comparatively limited.

"Those [trade] rules need to be revised to enable us to protect ourselves," he was reported as having said.

He says Australia needs to be able to block imports of fish whose diseases (and parasites) have not been studied.

Biosecurity Australia (BA) advise that the rules require that imported fish must spend up to 21 days in quarantine. There is an initial inspection when the fish first arrive and any diseased fish must be re-exported, destroyed or treated by the importer, a BA spokesperson stated.

Whittington pointed out that this regime was ineffective in 2003 when there was a highly damaging outbreak of a serious viral disease, which stemmed from imported gourami fish.

A Murray cod farm in Victoria lost 90% of its stock to gourami iridovirus. Had the farm used the common practice of discharging its waste into local water ways the already threatened species could have been devastated, fortunately this was not the case on this farm. Whittington also noted that inspection of imported fish on arrival clearly cannot pick up non-systematic pathogens that aren't evident at the time, including those that don't impact on the imported ornamentals but are potentially dangerous to natives.

Further, he claims that inspections are ineffective and inspections won't be much use for new diseases that little is known about, he says.

A spokesperson for BA claimed there is a review of quarantine policy for ornamental fish with regard to iridoviruses currently underway and that BA organisation is closely examining Whittington and Chong's paper.

However, Whittington, is of the view that Australian regulators are constantly "one step behind" the latest threats, because a problem must occur prior to them getting the scientific data upon which to base a meaningful risk analysis.

"It's after the event every time," he was quoted as saying. Given the likelihood of problem diseases in imported ornamental fish, Wittington claimed BA should actively lobby internationally for Australia's right to use the precautionary principle where data is unavailable or suspect.

BA's spokesperson pointed out that the organisation is already involved in determining international standards for a "robust science- based approach to quarantine".

"We would review quarantine policies in light of any new science that may become available," the BA spokesman was reported to have said. But he claimed, however, that it is beyond BA's remit to make an official comment on Whittington's call for a more rigorous precautionary approach.

Wittington called attention to the fact that the Australian government has long held concerns over the disease potential of ornamental fish going back to the 1980s, following the entry into Australia of the bacterial pathogen Aeromonas salmonicida with imported goldfish from Japan.

As some of the goldfish were used for bait and unwanted animals were disposed of by members of the public into local waterways, he claimed that wild fish and fish on farms were infected with grave concerns held for the Atlantic salmon farms in Tasmania.

Wittington and Chong's paper also details the problems caused by fighting fish imported from Singapore in the 1980s and their threat to wild eels and farmed rainbow trout.

"There are examples of 22 species of imported aquarium fish that have set up breeding populations in rivers in Australia," says Whittington in local media.

"These infectious diseases could be the straw that leads to the extinction of endangered species, like the Murray cod."

www.fishfarmer-magazine.com is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publishes FISHupdate.com, FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.


From: icWales.co.uk .......................................[This story printer-friendly]
May 21, 2007


[Rachel's introduction: Biologist Roger Coghill, of Pontypool-based Coghill Research Laboratories, has warned parents not to use wi-fi until the science is proven. "It's a precautionary principle I'm advocating," he said.]

By Rhodri Clark, Western Mail

A Welsh radiation expert has warned of the dangers posed by wireless internet technology to sleeping children.

The fears come amid claims that so-called "wi-fi" internet connections in schools could damage children.

An episode of BBC's Panorama will tonight investigate claims that wi- fi networks in schools can give off greater levels of signal radiation than a typical mobile phone mast.

Government advice recommends masts [towers] are not sited near schools without consultation as children are thought to be more vulnerable to radio frequency radiation emissions than adults, the series states.

But with more and more homes installing wi-fi (wireless fidelity) as phone companies offer the necessary equipment free to new subscribers, fresh concerns have been raised about its suitability in the home.

Biologist Roger Coghill, of Pontypool-based Coghill Research Laboratories, has warned parents not to use wi-fi until the science is proven.

"It's a precautionary principle I'm advocating," he said.

"The risk is probably greater in the home than in schools because people don't sleep at school. Sleep is the principal time when we repair our cells."

Wi-fi allows laptop and other computers to access the internet from anywhere in the house, and often from the garden.

Games consoles can already use wi-fi for online gaming, and other devices are likely to require wi-fi in the future.

Scientific evidence about the health impact of wi-fi has yet to be generated because the technology is only now being taken up widely after hotels, airport lounges and other public areas led the way.

Mr Coghill said wi-fi in the home would add to the electromagnetic fields there -- on top of those from sources such as mobile-phone masts.

Mr Coghilll, a member of the Government's advisory committee on electromagnetic fields, will attend a conference in Japan next month to hear about the latest research on wi-fi's possible health effects.

He said, "What we can say, based on the laws of physics, is that all electric fields are super-positive, so that if you have a base level of radiation in your environment and you bring out a new source, it does actually add to it. As it builds up, that impact increases. It's worse for children than adults because they are still growing," added Mr Coghill.

Electromagnetic radiation disturb the body's own electrical fields, for example ones controlling heart beat or cell development.

Wi-fi kits feature a box with an antenna which creates a field in which computers can communicate wirelessly with the internet.

Mike Reddy, an expert in future technology at the University of Wales, Newport, said some antennae had a range of 350ft butthe ones given away free to domestic consumers would normally have a range of 35-70ft in all directions.

He said consumers should ask themselves whether they needed to use the free wi-fi kit they got from their phone company, or whether wired connections -- faster than wi-fi -- were practical.

"People will say, 'I've got this thing anyway, so I'll use it.' Or they'll think, 'Now I can have internet access in every room.' But do you really need it in every room?" said Dr Reddy.

"The strength of the signal can be turned up and down. If you feel you have to use wi-fi, set it so that the signal you have just works - rather than putting it on to full strength.

"If you want to be cautious, keep your children away from your wi-fi."

He said users should turn off their wi-fi boxes whenever they weren't connecting wirelessly, to prevent people outside the house using the connection as well as guarding against possible health impact.

Mr Coghill, whose lab has been researching electromagnetic fields for 25 years, said electronic technology should be subjected to similar rules as medicines, with trials to prove the safety of new products before they went on sale.

Parental warnings

The advice about avoiding home wi-fi if possible is the latest worry for parents to contend with. Others include:

Too much TV: Psychologist Aric Sigman recently told MPs that children under three should watch no TV at all, to reduce the chances of them becoming couch potatoes.

The dangerous outdoors: Worries about road accidents and stranger danger mean children spend less time playing with friends in the streets than a generation or two ago.

Too little exercise: Parents should feel guilty if their children aren't taking enough exercise. Even if the kids aren't overweight now, they could develop lifestyles that could harm their health later.

Internet entrapmentPaedophiles can pose as teenagers in internet chat rooms and set up clandestine meetings with inexperienced young people.

Mobile-phone radiation: The effects on children of radiation from mobile-phone masts, and the use of mobile phones by youngsters, are still being debated.

Salt, fat and sugar: Parents are constantly told that children's bad diet is threatening to overwhelm the NHS with future ailments including diabetes.

Drugs: Mind-altering substances -- not to mention alcohol, tobacco and classified drugs -- are widely available, even in rural areas.

Car crashes: Teenagers are disproportionately likely to be killed or injured in road crashes. Even if you stop your son or daughter having a car, they could die as passengers of a friend who loves to show off at the wheel.

Western Mail & Echo Limited 2007


Rachel's Precaution Reporter offers news, views and practical examples of the Precautionary Principle, or Foresight Principle, in action. The Precautionary Principle is a modern way of making decisions, to minimize harm. Rachel's Precaution Reporter tries to answer such questions as, Why do we need the precautionary principle? Who is using precaution? Who is opposing precaution?

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