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Wetstuff News 21 June 2006

IN THIS EDITION:

NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
1. World's Oceans Reaching Point of No Return, Says UN (International)

MARINE PROTECTED AREAS
2. State-Federal Row Erupts over Reef Heritage Listing (WA)
3. Bush Plans Vast Protected Sea Area (Hawaii)
4. Bush's Ocean Sanctuary Pleases Green Groups (USA)
5. Conservation Benefits of Temperate Marine Protected Areas: Variation among Fish Species (International)

FISHERIES
6. Cray Industry Agrees to Wildlife Protection Changes (WA)
7. Senate Passes Tough New Illegal Fishers Legislation (Australia)
8. Demise of Australian Seafood Industry Council (Australia)
9. Torres Fisheries Allocation Advisory Panel (Torres Strait)
10. The French Polynesian Capital Still Facing Blockades by Disgruntled Fishermen (French Polynesia)

AQUACULTURE
11. Study to Assess Pearling's Environmental Impact (WA)

INTRODUCED MARINE PESTS
12. National Centre for Marine and Coastal Conservation Develops International Linkages (Australia)

MARINE SPECIES
13. Pro-Whaling Nations Win Vote (International)
14. Japan Fails to Abolish Southern Ocean Sanctuary (International)
15. Greenpeace to Continue Anti-Whaling Action in Southern Ocean (International)
16. Conservationists' Tactics Now Used by the Whalers (International)

CLIMATE CHANGE
17. Humans Cause Sea Change in Reefs (International)

COASTAL DEVELOPMENT
18. Acid Concerns Raised over Ceduna Keys Development (SA)

HERITAGE
19. Point Nepean added to National Heritage List (Australia)

RESEARCH
20. Underwater Camera to Aid Coastline Research (WA)

POLLUTION
21. EPA to Test Darwin Harbour for Contamination (NT)

WORKSHOPS, CONFERENCES AND EVENTS
22. Catchments to Coast 9 – 14 July 2006, Cairns (Queensland)
23. CoastGIS: 7th International Symposium on GIS and Computer Cartography, 12-16 July 2006 (NSW)
24. Parks and Protected Areas Management Congress - 2-3 August 2006, Queanbeyan (NSW)
25. INTERACT 2006 - 24-28 September, Perth WA (International)

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NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

1. World's Oceans Reaching Point of No Return, Says UN (International)
Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2229211,00.html
16 June 2006
The UN has warned the world's governments that humankind's exploitation of the sea could be passing the point of no return.
A report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found that more than half of the world's fish stocks are being exploited to their full extent, with nearly a quarter suffering from over-fishing.
Meanwhile, pollution, litter and deep sea drilling are all reaching into the depths of a marine environment hitherto preserved from the hand of man.
In the Central Pacific, the study found, there is now up to 6lb of marine litter to every 1lb of plankton. Elsewhere, there are around 46,000 pieces of plastic litter for every square mile of the world's oceans.
Achim Steiner, UNEP’s new executive director, said that particular attention must be paid to the 60 per cent of the world's oceans that are beyond the reach of national jurisdictions and conservation efforts, where modern technology and a lack of regulation is combining to harm the environment.
"Humankind's ability to exploit the deep oceans and high seas has accelerated rapidly over recent years," he said.
"It is a pace of change that has outstripped our institutions and conservation efforts whose primary focus have been coastal waters where, until recently, most human activity like fishing and industrial exploration took place. We now most urgently need to look beyond the horizon and bring the lessons learnt in coastal water to the wider marine world."
According to the report, just 1 per cent of the world's 3.5 million fishing boats are thought to be large, industrial vessels, but the giant loads they trawl from the deep sea account for around 60 per cent of all the fish caught on the planet.
Industrial fishing has helped to drive down the world's stocks of tuna, cod, swordfish and marlin by as much as 90 per cent in the last century.
Adding to the strain on the oceans, the UN estimated that nearly $10 billion of fish are caught illegally each year, up to 30 per cent of which is taken from unregulated waters.
Illegal longline fishing also kills more than 300,000 seabirds every year, including 100,000 albatrosses. Nineteen out 21 albatross species are now threatened with extinction.
The report also described a range of activities, including energy development and scientific research such as "bioprospecting" - the collection of biological artefacts for new products - that encroach on waters up to 2,000m below the ocean surface.
"Throughout the oceans, shipping, military operations and seismic exploration have intensified with growing impacts on deep water and high sea ecosystems and biodiversity," said Kristina Gjerde, a UN High Seas Policy Advisor who wrote the report.
"The spectre of climate change and its impacts such as ocean warming and acidification underscore the need to reduce direct human impacts, because healthy ecosystems are better able to respond to changing oceanic conditions."
Reacting to the report, Tim Yeo, the Conservative MP who is chairing a study of the Government's plans for a Marine Bill, said that Britain should take the lead in devising a new regulatory framework for the world's open waters.
"For generations we have regarded the sea as a resource we can all deplete at will. Those chickens are now coming home to roost," he said.
See also: Action Urged to Protect Deep Seas 16/6/06
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5086506.stm
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MARINE PROTECTED AREAS

2. State-Federal Row Erupts over Reef Heritage Listing (WA)
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1662448.htm
14 June 2006
The Western Australian Environment Minister says his federal counterpart is holding the State back by refusing to support a nomination for the Ningaloo Reef, in the state's north-west, to be added to the World Heritage List.
Mark McGowan says Senator Ian Campbell has told him he will not take the listing to the United Nations as long as there is opposition from even one pastoralist in the area.
But Mr McGowan says the proposal has the support of the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA).
He says heritage listing would mean greater protection for the environment.
"World heritage listing means that the values that are in such an area are protected forever," he said.
"It's what's put additional protection on the Great Barrier Reef and wet tropics in Queensland, that sort of protection really does mean that people can be confident that the area will be saved and preserved for the future."
Mr McGowan says the Minister should take the lead of the PGA.
"Obviously he's acting on the concerns of perhaps one pastoralist, but the Pastoralists and Graziers Association thinks that our proposal was sensible, we would urge him to listen to the peak body and take forward environmental initiatives, not oppose them," he said.
See also: PGA clarifies claims of support for reef heritage listing. 15/06/2006. http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1663439.htm
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3. Bush Plans Vast Protected Sea Area (Hawaii)
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/15/science/earth/15hawaii.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin
15 June 2006
President Bush will create the world's largest protected marine area today, designating as a national monument a 1,200-mile-long chain of small Hawaiian islands and surrounding waters and reefs that are home to a spectacular array of sea life, senior administration officials said last night.
In his second use of the 100-year-old National Antiquities Act, which empowers the president to protect important cultural or geological resources instantly, Mr. Bush will enact a suite of strict rules for the area, including a five-year phasing out of commercial and sport fishing, officials said.
The chain of largely uninhabited atolls, seamounts, reefs and shoals, which sweeps northwest from the big islands of Hawaii, is called the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and is home to some 7,000 species of marine life, including endangered green sea turtles and Hawaiian monk seals and millions of breeding seabirds.
Earlier yesterday, the region, which at 140,000 square miles is nearly the size of California, was to have been named a national marine sanctuary, a different kind of protection that could have taken a year to enact.
But Mr. Bush, in a last meeting to consider the plan and timetable, decided to cut things short, said a senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to take attention away from Mr. Bush's public statement today. "He said, Look, I've got this authority, I'm going to use it," the official said.
Full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/15/science/earth/15hawaii.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin
See also: Hawaiian Islands Become World's Biggest Marine Reserve 16/6/06
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1664425.htm
US to create world's largest marine sanctuary 15/6/06
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9338-us-to-create-worlds-largest-marine-sanctuary.html
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4. Bush's Ocean Sanctuary Pleases Green Groups (USA)
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2006/s1664516.htm
16 June 2006
TONY EASTLEY: While environment groups worry about the future direction of the IWC (International Whaling Commission) at St Kitts, they're celebrating a decision taken in the United States at least.
The US President has created the world's biggest ocean sanctuary, surpassing Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
It covers the coral reefs and waters around the North-Western Hawaiian Islands, home to more than 7,000 marine species.
US President, George W. Bush, has designated the area a national monument, a move which has won the praise of environmental groups.
North America Correspondent, Kim Landers, reports.
KIM LANDERS: The North-western Hawaiian Islands are scattered over 350,000 square kilometres, an area slightly bigger than Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
About a quarter of the species living there are found nowhere else on earth.
GEORGE BUSH: These undersea forests and mountain ranges comprise the largest remote reef system in the world, and we're going to preserve it.
KIM LANDERS: President George W. Bush has done that by declaring the area a "national monument", giving the coral reefs and islands instant protection.
Elliott Norse, the President of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute, says the US has now claimed some important marine bragging rights.
ELLIOTT NORSE: The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has been the shining example of protecting places in the ocean around the world. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has more species of many kinds, there are more endemic species in the North-Western Hawaiian islands.
KIM LANDERS: American environmentalists are stunned and delighted by the President's move.
Stephanie Fried is a senior scientist at Environmental Defence.
STEPHANIE FRIED: We believe it to be unparalleled on earth. There's an extraordinary level of biodiversity, there are over 7,000 species of which about a quarter of them are found nowhere else on earth.
KIM LANDERS: And she says the designation also allows the Federal Government to immediately begin a five-year phase out of commercial fishing.
STEPHANIE FRIED: Interestingly enough, because the area is so remote, there are only eight existing commercial fishing vessels in the area. The vessels are actually fairly high-impact vessels, but it's not a large population or a large income generator.
KIM LANDERS: It's only the second time this President has used his "national monument" powers.
Lisa Speer from the Natural Resources Defence Council is pleased it's for marine protection.
LISA SPEER: We lag way behind Australia. So this designation of a marine protected area of this size and scope is a major departure for the administration, and I think it signals a commitment on the part of the United States to get more serious about conserving and protecting our ocean resources.
KIM LANDERS: Others, like Elliott Norse, say the challenge now for Australia is to beat it.
ELLIOTT NORSE: I hope this sends a message that Australia's example has worked internationally, that the United States has taken up the challenge, and I hope Oz does everything it can to regain the lead.
TONY EASTLEY: President of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute, Elliott Norse, ending that report from our North American Correspondent Kim Landers.
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5. Conservation Benefits of Temperate Marine Protected Areas: Variation among Fish Species (International)
Source: Conservation Biology - Volume 20 Issue 3 Page 811  
June 2006
Authors: Robert E. Blyth-Skyrme, Michel J. Kaiser, Jan G. Hiddink, Gareth Edwards-Jones, and Paul J. B. Hart
Abstract: Marine protected areas, and other fishery management systems that impart partial or total protection from fishing, are increasingly advocated as an essential management tool to ensure the sustainable use of marine resources.
Beneficial effects for fish species are well documented for tropical and reef systems, but the effects of marine protected areas remain largely untested in temperate waters. We compared trends in sport-fishing catches of nine fish species in an area influenced by a large (500-km2) towed-fishing-gear restriction zone and in adjacent areas under conventional fishery management controls. Over the period 1973–2002 the mean reported weight of above-average-sized (trophy) fish of species with early age at maturity and limited home range was greatest within the area influenced by the fishing-gear restriction zone. The reported weight of trophy fish of species that mature early also declined less and more slowly over time within the area influenced by the fishing-gear restriction zone.
Importantly, the mean reported weight of trophy fish of species that mature late and those that undertake extensive spatial movements declined at the same rate in all areas. Hence these species are likely to require protected areas >500 km2 for effective protection. Our results also indicated that fish species with a localized distribution or high site fidelity may require additional protection from sport fishing to prevent declines in the number or size of fish within the local population.
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FISHERIES

6. Cray Industry Agrees to Wildlife Protection Changes (WA)
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1665993.htm
19 June 2006
The crayfishing industry has agreed to change the design of its pots along part of the Western Australian coast next season to protect wildlife.
The Minister for Fisheries says he is confident that sea lion exclusion devices will be mandatory for fishermen between Wedge Island near Lancelin, north to Freshwater point, south of Dongara, from November this year.
The devices will consist of a rod extending up through the entrance to the pot, designed to prevent sea lion cubs from becoming trapped in pots.
Fisheries Minister Jon Ford says winning the industry's confidence has been crucial.
"It was more about industry having confidence in it and the pragmatic, practical way of how compliance would be dealt with and how they would fit these devices and make sure that they were fitted according to the regs, there's been some innovative ideas about how that will come about," he said.
The industry says while it accepts that the devices are necessary, the Government needs to explain how they must be fitted as soon as possible.
The Western Rock Lobster Council's executive director, Steven Gill, says any further delays will make it difficult for fishermen to fit the devices to every pot in time for next season.
"The sooner the Minister makes the announcements public and industry can get on and do the business I think the better off we'll all be," he said.
"I mean one of the things is the uncertainty is creating some problems with industry and the sooner the Minister makes the announcements the better off we'll all be."
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7. Senate Passes Tough New Illegal Fishers Legislation (Australia)
Source: http://www.mffc.gov.au/releases/2006/06064a.htm
16 June 2006
Last night, the Senate passed Howard Government legislation that will see illegal foreign fishers jailed if they are caught in our territorial waters.
“This bill allows for jail terms of up to two or three years, depending on size of the vessel illegal fishers are using, as well as substantial fines of up to $825,000, or both, for those caught illegally fishing in our territorial waters,” the Minister said.
“These new penalties are among the toughest in the world, and are an important part of the Government’s new $500 million ‘get-tough’ measures in its fight against illegal foreign fishing.
“This legislation sends a clear message that we are absolutely serious about protecting our fish stocks and our borders from illegal foreign fishers.”
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8. Demise of Australian Seafood Industry Council (Australia)
Source: http://www.mffc.gov.au/releases/2006/06063a.htm
14 June 2006
Australian Fisheries Minister Senator Eric Abetz said today he was disappointed by the recent demise of the Australian Seafood Industry Council (ASIC), and urged the Australian seafood industry to quickly move to establish a replacement, single representative body.
“It is important to remember that, over the years, ASIC did a lot of good work for the fishing and seafood industry,” the Minister said.
“For example, the organisation’s work in coordinating the various sectors of the fishing industry in the recent debate about the boundaries of the new South East Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) was especially valuable, and there is little doubt the industry wouldn’t have achieved the result it did without ASIC.
“Any industry needs a single, coherent voice if it is to effectively advocate its interests — and the fishing and seafood industry is no different.
“I urge the industry to quickly move towards establishing a new representative body, and I will do everything I can to assist the industry in this challenge.”
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9. Torres Fisheries Allocation Advisory Panel (Torres Strait)
Source: http://www.mffc.gov.au/releases/2006/06062a.htm
14 June 2006
The Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) has set up an independent panel to advise on the allocation of concessions in the non-Indigenous sectors of the Torres Strait Tropical Rock Lobster and Finfish Fisheries, Australian Fisheries Minister, Senator Eric Abetz, announced today.
Senator Abetz, who is also the Chair of the PZJA, said the Allocation Advisory Panel would comprise former Federal Court Judge Jeffrey Miles AO, respected fisheries economist Sevaly Sen, and an independent fisheries representative, Brett McCallum, from the Pearl Producers Association.
“They have the skills and experience to provide the PZJA with independent advice on the most appropriate ways of allocating the transferable quota and effort units in these fisheries that form part of new management measures that will be introduced in 2007,” he said.
“We also want to hear the views and suggestions of industry stakeholders.  With that in mind, there will be public meetings later this month in Cairns and Thursday Island.
“People can let the panel know first-hand how they believe the allocation process should take place.  They will also have the chance to pass on other comments the panel may need to take into consideration before it provides its advice to the PZJA.
“I encourage all stakeholders to attend the meetings, and ensure your voice is heard and your views taken into consideration.”
Meeting schedule:
Cairns — Sunday 25 June (Finfish Fisheries)
Thursday Island — Monday 26 June (Finfish Fisheries)
Thursday Island — Tuesday 27 June (Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery), and
Cairns — Thursday 29 June (Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery).
People wanting to attend one of the meetings or provide a written submission should contact the Allocation Advisory Panel Secretariat Officer on (02) 6272 3752 or email PZJA.Allocation@daff.gov.au.
More information is available on the PZJA web site — www.PZJA.gov.au
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10. The French Polynesian Capital Still Facing Blockades by Disgruntled Fishermen (French Polynesia)
Source: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/bulletins/rnzi/200606161818/17864783
16 June 2006
French Polynesia continues to be faced by blockades in the capital, Papeete.
A group of workers led by Rere Puputauki, who is an associate of the former president, has kept the access to the port blocked for a second day.
This is in response to an alleged breach of an agreement over port work routines for employees loyal to Mr Puputauki who is the former head of the GIP intervention force.
Although the French state is responsible for the freedom of movement, it has not intervened despite a court ruling declaring the blockade illegal.
Mr Puputauki has dismissed the call to lift the blockade, saying the French state did nothing to end the occupations in 2004 by those who are now in government.
Disgruntled fishermen have also joined the protests and dumped a truckload of rotten fish outside the territorial assembly, a day after doing the same outside the presidential palace.
They seek government support to cope with problems facing the industry.
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AQUACULTURE

11. Study to Assess Pearling's Environmental Impact (WA)
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1664462.htm
16 June 2006
Western Australia's pearling industry has joined forces with Newcastle University to monitor the marine environment at pearl farms in the Kimberley.
The $1 million research program at three remote farms aims to determine whether there is any environmental impact from the cultivation of pearls.
The four-year project is being funded by the industry and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.
Pearl Producers Association spokesman Brett McCallum has welcomed the study, saying it will confirm the industry's strong environmental record.
"Anybody that uses marine areas for their businesses obviously have to go through some sort of environmental reviews, and the pearling industry is not an orphan in that case, and what we are wanting to do is to ensure that the broader community is very clear that the pearling industry is an environmentally friendly industry," he said.
Newcastle University researcher Scott Gifford says the study aims to ensure there is no impact on the sea floor from the farms above.
"We're looking if there's a build up of any material on the sediments below the lease, any changes in the sediment chemistry and any changes in the ecology or the worms or crustaceans, molluscs living below the farm and we'll compare that with several reference sites a kilometre or so from the actual pearl lease," he said.
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INTRODUCED MARINE PESTS

12. National Centre for Marine and Coastal Conservation Develops International Linkages (Australia)
Source: MCCN Email – www.ncmcc.edu.au
June 2006
The National Centre for Marine and Coastal Conservation, a division of the Australian Maritime College (AMC), has received support from the Department of Environment and Heritage to coordinate international education in Marine Biosecurity.  Concentrating on ways to reduce environmental impact of introduced marine pests, the education programs will involve participants from Australia, the USA, New Zealand, Chile and South Pacific nations. 
Further information: Dr Marnie Campbell, Australian Maritime College, (03) 5950 2063
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MARINE SPECIES

13. Pro-Whaling Nations Win Vote (International)
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2006/s1666717.htm
19 June 2006
KERRY O'BRIEN: Welcome to the program. And later we'll also cross to Munich to discuss the Socceroos' World Cup campaign in the wake of last night's defeat at the hands of Brazil. But first, 20 years after it was banned by the international community, commercial whale hunting now appears one step closer to being resumed, despite the best efforts of anti-whaling nations, including Australia. A bloc of pro-whaling nations today narrowly won its first vote in two decades at the International Whaling Commission meeting on the Caribbean Island of St Kitts. While the win, at this stage, is largely symbolic, it's seen as evidence that the balance of power inside the IWC is steadily shifting towards pro-whaling nations like Japan. Nick Grimm reports.
WILL FORD, CRUISE OPERATOR: Just getting a little bit ahead of them on the side.
WOMAN TOURIST ON CRUISE: It's completely magical when everyone first sees the whales. You know, there's a sort of a big "Oh" goes around the boat. Yeah, it's just one of those things that's sort of larger than life.
NICK GRIMM: At this time of year, Sydney's whale-watching fleet has little trouble finding humpbacks swimming just off the city's coast as they undertake their northern migration. The tour operators have little difficulty filling their boats, either. Among those hoping to get up close to the whales are visitors from Japan.
JAPANESE WOMAN: This is the first time for me to see whales, so I was so impressed.
WILL FORD: The Japanese probably get the most excited out of all of our different passengers. I mean, they all get excited, but the Japanese really get into it.
NICK GRIMM: In fact, while these Japanese whale spotters were enjoying their brush with nature, half a world away their government was lobbying for the right to kill more of the animals.
SENATOR IAN CAMPBELL, ENVIRONMENT MINISTER: So this is what's done in the name of science. This is how Japan, in the name of science, collects whale meat, takes it back to Japan, sticks it in warehouses, tries to get schoolchildren to eat it, get old people to eat it now and, of course, we know from some evidence that they're also feeding it to dogs - all in the name of science.
NICK GRIMM: Yet, in spite of messages like that from Australia's fervently anti-whaling Environment Minister, this year's meeting of the International Whaling Commission has seen pro-whaling nations like Japan get closer than ever to overturning the 20-year-old ban on commercial hunting. Earlier in the weekend, Senator Campbell had been celebrating saving the whales after narrowly defeating a number of pro-whaling motions. But there's less cause for the Australian camp to cheer today after the latest vote, one that reflects a significant sea change for the IWC. For the first time in 20 years, the pro-whaling nations have won by a single vote a resolution declaring that the moratorium on commercial whaling is only a temporary measure.
JOJI MORISHITA, JAPANESE DELEGATE: My understanding is more about emotions, so-called 'public opinion' in many countries. Maybe it's time for us to look at this issue more seriously.
NICK GRIMM: The vote won't force dramatic change in the short term because pro-whaling nations would need the support of 75 per cent of IWC members to overturn the ban on commercial whaling…
http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2006/s1666717.htm
Pro-whaling nations win symbolic victory 19/6/06
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9361-prowhaling-nations-win-symbolic-victory.html
Win for Whales at IWC 19/6/06
http://www.deh.gov.au/minister/env/2006/mr19jun06.html
Vote a symbolic victory for whalers 19/6/2006 
http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1666136.htm
NZ angry over Pacific islands' pro-whaling votes. 20/06/2006. http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1667140.htm
Greenpeace survives IWC vote. 20/06/2006.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1666825.htm
Campbell attacks Japan over 'horrendous' whale hunts. 18/06/2006.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1665561.htm
Australia leads delegation to stop whaling 14/6/06
http://www.deh.gov.au/minister/env/2006/mr14jun206.html
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14. Japan Fails to Abolish Southern Ocean Sanctuary (International)
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1665832.htm
19 June 2006
An attempt by Japan to abolish the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary has failed to secure majority support at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in the Caribbean.
The proposal by Japan would have allowed it to conduct so-called scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary and abolish protection for minke and humpback whales.
Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell described the plan as mind-boggling.
"It is quite bizarre and is entirely out of character with Japan's otherwise superb contribution to international global environmental initiatives," he said.
When it came to a vote, 33 opposed the plan and 28 supported it, delivering anti-whaling nations yet another victory at this year's IWC meeting in St Kitts.
"This is the fourth vote Japan and the pro-whalers have lost in a row, another good result for the whales," Greenpeace spokesman Mike Townsley said.
Despite the defeat, Japan led pro-whaling nations in a new attack on the 20-year moratorium on commercial hunting.
A non-binding resolution circulating at the annual meeting invites member states to declare the moratorium was a "temporary" measure which is no longer valid - thanks to rising whale stocks.
A cherished victory for the environmental movement, the moratorium is not itself in danger, as it must be opposed by a currently unobtainable super-majority of 75 per cent of IWC members to be overturned.
But passage of the so-called St Kitts and Nevis declaration would hand Japan a political weapon, and allow it to argue that more states than not on the 70-nation IWC body believed the moratorium should be overturned.
Fierce debate was expected on the issue, with Japan apparently given a chance of finally lining up a simple majority of pro-whaling states.
Japan loses pro-whaling vote. 18/06/2006.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1665641.htm
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15. Greenpeace to Continue Anti-Whaling Action in Southern Ocean (International)
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1665539.htm
18 June 2006
Greenpeace will return to the Southern Ocean later this year as part of its ongoing campaign to stop Japan's whaling activities.
The group says it welcomes yesterday's results at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in the Caribbean, which saw Japan fail in its bid to introduce secret ballots and to end the commission's conservation work with dolphins.
But Greenpeace spokesman Danny Kennedy says while the results are positive, it is not a time to be complacent.
"Further steps need to be taken both at the International Whaling Commission and outside it, which is why Greenpeace has announced we'll be going to the Southern Ocean this summer to take the Arctic Sunrise to interfere again with the hunt," he said.
"Because it's a hunt, it's not a scientific program whatsoever and we need to stop them from killing these whales"…
Full article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1665539.htm
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16. Conservationists' Tactics Now Used by the Whalers (International)
Source: http://www.newscientist.com
17 June 2006
Japan is inching closer to forcing the resumption of commercial whaling. Over the next few days, it may wrest control of the International Whaling Commission, which has imposed a global ban on commercial whaling for 20 years. Environmentalists are accusing Japan of buying votes on the IWC by promising foreign aid to small island nations that agree to join the commission and vote with it. But such tactics are not new: the claims are reviving memories of how conservationists secured the moratorium in the first place.
That campaign was led by Peter Scott, head of the then World Wildlife Fund. A quarter of a century ago he mounted what was in effect a coup d'état at the IWC, which at the time was a small group of 15 whaling nations established in 1946 to manage the worldwide whaling industry.
Scott called the IWC a "butchers' club". He also noted that any nation could join, regardless of whether it had any whaling ships. As he travelled the world meeting national leaders, Scott "began quietly encouraging island states to join the commission so they could vote for a moratorium," as a WWF history, Treading Light, notes.
Between 1979 and 1982, 19 nations signed up, mostly at Scott's prompting and often with help to provide suitable delegates and expenses. They included Costa Rica, Monaco, Oman, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Seychelles, which appointed Scott's friend, the renowned marine biologist Sidney Holt, as one of its representatives. Holt went on to chair the commission's crucial scientific committee for many years.
Scott even persuaded China, then an inward-looking country with little interest in whaling or conservation, to join the IWC and vote for the moratorium. According to Scott's biographer, Elspeth Huxley, China's decision to join was influenced by a WWF promise to provide $1 million to fund a panda reserve.
To impose the moratorium required a three-quarters majority of voting nations. Scott finally achieved this in 1982, and the moratorium came into force in 1986. Ever since, Japan has been making efforts, which have peaked in the past four years, to woo nations back to its side. Another 30 nations, culminating in recent weeks with Cambodia, Guatemala, Israel and the Marshall Islands, have joined the commission, bringing its membership to 70. Most support the Japanese cause.
If Japan succeeds in winning more than half of the votes at this year's IWC meeting, which opens on 16 June, there would not be an immediate return to whaling. However, Holt says a simple majority would allow supporters of whaling to make voting at the commission secret, reorder the priorities of its critical scientific committee and abolish the recently created conservation committee, which effectively turned the IWC from a whaling organisation into a conservation one.
While most conservationists oppose whaling in principle, the moratorium was imposed for a different reason: to help whale stocks recover from past slaughters. The Japanese argue that many species are now recovering fast, and are an increasing threat to fish stocks. Meanwhile the environmental lobby is not sitting back. Last month, the day before the Marshall Islands joined the IWC, Australian environment minister Ian Campbell warned its leaders that they could face "international outrage" if they voted with Japan next week.
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CLIMATE CHANGE

17. Humans Cause Sea Change in Reefs (International)
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1667219.htm
20 June 2006 
Coral reefs have suffered more damage since the 1970s than any time in the last 220,000 years, according to a study that warns of the threats of overfishing and coastal development.
Scientists from Australia have found that coral reefs in the Caribbean island of Barbados were relatively unchanged for about 100,000 years before the arrival of humans, despite rising and falling sea levels.
But according to the paper published in Ecology Letters, modern day reefs now look startlingly different and are dominated by algae and seaweed.
Associate Professor John Pandolfi, of the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, says human activity has made reefs far more susceptible to change.
"When you compare that typical coral community in the geological past to the coral community that we see today in Barbados it's fundamentally different," says Pandolfi, who led the study.
"It's clear that these modern coral reefs have been significantly altered and the only thing that's different is that humans are around.
"We see that the impact of overfishing and coastal development has had a huge effect the likes of which we haven't seen for hundreds of thousands of years."
Full article: http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1667219.htm
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COASTAL DEVELOPMENT

18. Acid Concerns Raised over Ceduna Keys Development (SA)
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1667057.htm
20 June 2006
An Adelaide doctor has raised concerns about the effect the Ceduna Keys Marina will have on the environment, saying it could lead to sulphuric acid leaking into the water.
Dr Peter Wood has prepared his own report on the development and says soils around the site, on the far west coast of South Australia, have been identified as potentially containing sulphate - which could turn into acid if disturbed.
Dr Wood says if that happened, surrounding marine life, including oysters, could die.
He says the environmental impact reports prepared for the proposal are vague.
"The Acid Sulphate Soils Management Plan doesn't even talk about what happens with dredging the channel," he said.
"Also it underestimates a lot of the risks."
However, the developer behind the marina says the company has known about the soil for a long time, and has employed engineers and scientists to ensure it is not disturbed.
David Kelsey says it is disappointing the issue is being raised now, because people have already had ample opportunity to comment.
He says current environmental regulations are strict enough.
"In this day and age, developers worth their salt take all these issues on from day one," he said.
"[They] have to make sure that the environment is well and truly protected for all participants in the area, before you even think you might even start designing a project up."
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HERITAGE

19. Point Nepean added to National Heritage List (Australia)
Source: http://www.deh.gov.au/minister/env/2006/mr16jun06.html
16 June 2006
The Treasurer announced today that Point Nepean has been included on the prestigious National Heritage List in recognition of the site's outstanding heritage value to the nation.
Point Nepean in Victoria has played an important role in Australia's coastal defences and quarantine protection. The National Heritage Listing, combined with the announcement today of an additional $27 million Australian Government funding for the protection and rehabilitation of Point Nepean, will ensure that future generations will be able to better use and enjoy the precinct.
Point Nepean is renowned for its historic features, outstanding coastal scenery and panoramic views of Bass Strait, the Rip and Port Phillip Bay. The site has also played a vital role in our nation's defence against the dual threats of disease and foreign attack for over a hundred years.
In 1852 Point Nepean opened as a maritime quarantine reserve to prevent the outbreak of serious diseases such as cholera, typhoid and small pox that otherwise would have decimated the population.
In addition to its role as a quarantine station the area's line of fortified defences contributed to Melbourne being known at the end of the nineteenth century as the 'best defended commercial city in the British Empire'.
This claim was tested in World War I with the first shot fired by Australian forces in the conflict, when the German steamer Pfalz was prevented from departing Port Phillip Bay.
The site has also played an important social role in our nation's heritage and is enmeshed in Australia's migration history. Within a year of the first discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851, around 100,000 people arrived in the colony by sea. The Quarantine Station became the first point of contact for thousands of migrants, seeking a new home on Australia's shores.
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell made the decision to include Point Nepean as the 30th place to be included on the National Heritage List. Other outstanding places include the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, the Sydney Opera House, Port Arthur in Tasmania and Fremantle Prison in Western Australia.
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RESEARCH

20. Underwater Camera to Aid Coastline Research (WA)
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1664467.htm
16 June 2006
The Leeuwin Ocean Foundation has a new research tool in its quest to discover more about the Kimberley coastline.
The Leeuwin II will this year use an underwater camera to explore the marine environment along the coast.
The tall ship is currently on its way to Broome.
Leeuwin Ocean Foundation training and development co-ordinator Stuart Field says the new device will complement the ship's other activities such as beach clean-ups and wildlife monitoring.
"By defining what's there and drawing boundaries to those different habitats, we help management agencies to make decisions about saying what's actually in the region," he said.
"As well as if people are trying to do developments or if they might be trying to set up marine parks or any questions like that, that are asked, they have some data to back up the decisions that they're making."
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POLLUTION

21. EPA to Test Darwin Harbour for Contamination (NT)
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1665543.htm
18 June 2006
The Northern Territory Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has been asked to test the water in Darwin Harbour for contamination.
Concerns were raised this week when footage was released of raw sewage being pumped into the harbour.
NT Environment Minister Marion Scrymgour says previous tests show the water in Darwin Harbour is not polluted and fish caught in it are safe to eat.
But Territory Opposition fisheries spokeswoman Fay Miller says she wants guarantees from scientists, not politicians.
"We've heard from the politicians that it's perfectly safe - where is the report from independent scientists?" she said.
A spokeswoman says the Environment Minister has ordered the interim EPA board to conduct new tests to allay public concerns.
She says the interim board is independent and includes a respected scientist from the Charles Darwin University.
It will report its findings directly to the Minister before they are made public.
Minister dismisses fears sewage poisoning fish. 15/06/2006.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1663365.htm
Calls mount to end sewage outfall in Darwin Harbour. 14/06/2006.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1662351.htm
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WORKSHOPS, CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

22. Catchments to Coast 9 – 14 July 2006, Cairns (Queensland)
Source: http://www.amsa.asn.au/conference/conf2006
A Joint Annual Meeting incorporating the 44th Annual Conference of the Australian Marine Sciences Association and the 27th International Conference of the Society of Wetland Scientists.
Themes and Symposia to cover a wide array of marine and wetland science.
Take a moment to check the selection of Mid-Conference Tours being offered on Wednesday. 
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23. CoastGIS: 7th International Symposium on GIS and Computer Cartography, 12-16 July 2006 (NSW)
Source: http://www.coastal.crc.org.au/calendar/index.asp
CoastGIS is a biennial, soon to be annual, series of symposia that brings together practitioners and researchers in the field of marine and coastal Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, and computer cartography. CoastGIS is held under the auspices of the ICA's Marine Cartography Commission and the IGU's Commission on Coastal Systems.
Conference Website: http://www.uow.edu.au/science/eesc/conferences/coastgis06.html
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24. Parks and Protected Areas Management Congress - 2-3 August 2006, Queanbeyan (NSW)
Source: http://www.ppamcon.com.au/
Please download a copy of the Parks and Protected Areas Management (PPAMcon) congress program and registration brochure being conducted in Queanbeyan 2-3 August 2006.
It can be downloaded from http://www.ppamcon.com.au/ppamcon_rego_email.pdf or by clicking here.
Key note speakers include:
Senator Andrew Bartlett, Chair, Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee responsible for the Inquiry into Australia’s national parks, conservation reserves and marine protected areas.
Prof Ken Wiltshire, JD Story Professor of Public Administration, University of Queensland
Warren Nicholls, Environment Consultant
Andrew Skeats, Executive Director, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Duncan McKenzie, Chairman, Birds Australia Gluepot Reserve, Director, Ecotourism Australia
Bruce Leaver, 1st Assistant Secretary, Parks Australia Division, Department of Environment and Heritage
Lois Peeler, Chairperson, Aboriginal Tourism Australia
Tim Nevard, President, Mareeba Wetlands Foundation
Dr Bill Carter, Natural and Rural System Management, University of Queensland
For further information please visit www.ppamcon.com.au. If you have any questions or require further information please contact info@ppamcon.com.au or phone David Rayfield (07) 3210 0021.
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25. INTERACT 2006 - 24-28 September, Perth WA (International)
Source: http://www.promaco.com.au/conference/2006/raci/
INTERACT 2006 is to be held in Perth from 24-28 September. It is an international conference organised by the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand, the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and the Australasian Society of Ecotoxicology. Our world renowned keynote speakers will set a powerful framework to work within by identifying current trends and emerging issues in the scientific field. The aim of the conference is to build knowledge, networks and participation in the advancement of science. Some of the topics include: Threatened aquatic systems; Effects of offshore oil and gas; Management of acid sulfate soils; Bioavailability of metals to organisms; Water supply and treatment; Endocrine Disruption; and Managing scientific data
The organising committee of INTERACT 2006 invites your participation in this important event - "Air, Water and Earth, Interact in Perth".
Please visit the website for more information.
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