Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

World's nations gather to rescue ocean life
By Marlowe HOOD
Paris (AFP) March 27, 2016

France's Marineland accused of 'mistreating orcas'
Antibes, France (AFP) March 27, 2016 - Environmental campaigners said Sunday they were taking legal action against a French marine park, Europe's largest, over the treatment of its orca whales and other animals after many were killed in a recent storm.

The Antibes Marineland reopened a week ago after suffering severe damage in deadly storms that struck the Cote d'Azur, on France's Mediterranean coast, in October.

Many animals and fish at the park were killed in the storm, including Valentin, a 19-year-old orca whale which succumbed to internal injuries a week later.

The park was deluged with mud, killing sharks, sea lions and turtles because it was left without electricity to pump in clean water.

International NGO Sea Shepherd organised a protest attended by around 250 people outside the park on Sunday, saying the orca enclosures remain highly unsatisfactory and the animals should never have been subject to such dangers in the first place.

"We are against the keeping of orca whales in captivity because it is simply not where they should be," Paul Watson, founder of the NGO, told reporters.

There has been growing global opposition to keeping orcas, also known as killer whales, in captivity, particularly since the release of a widely seen 2013 documentary Blackfish on the treatment of orcas at SeaWorld in the United States.

SeaWorld announced earlier this month that it would no longer breed captive orcas and that the current generation would effectively be its last.

Sea Shepherd has lodged a legal complaint against Antibes Marineland, saying the park mistreats its animals and pollutes the local environment. It expects a first hearing to be held in September.

Marineland denies charges of mistreatment and said in a statement on Sunday that "the conditions of well-being of the marine mammals are carefully and strictly controlled by several organisations, as well as European and international regulations."

The park is already subject to a preliminary investigation following complaints of animal cruelty by three French NGOs.

It took a decade to get to the negotiating table, and it could easily take another to finish the job, but UN talks in New York to safeguard life in the high seas finally begin in earnest Monday.

The stakes could hardly be higher, experts and diplomats agree.

Oceans produce half the oxygen we breathe, regulate the weather, and provide humanity's single largest source of protein.

Without them, Earth would be just another barren rock in the Universe.

And yet humanity has harvested marine species upon which we depend to the edge of extinction, and used the seas as a collective garbage dump.

Climate change, meanwhile, has altered the ocean's basic chemistry in ways that raise the spectre of a mass extinction that scientists say is already underway.

Today, a patchwork of agreements and regulatory bodies govern shipping, fishing, and mineral extraction, while the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, negotiated in the 1970s, lays out rules for how far a nation's zone of influence extends beyond its shores.

But in what may be the biggest legal loophole in history, geographically speaking, there is no international treaty protecting marine areas beyond national jurisdiction -- that's two-thirds of the surface of the oceans, and half the planet's.

The result has been a kind of aquatic "Far West", a case study for what has sometimes been called the tragedy of the commons.

"Very early we decided that the high seas were for everybody and nobody, because everyone owns them and nobody takes responsibility for them," said Callum Roberts, a marine biologist at the University of York in England.

- Anything goes -

For most of human history, the vast expanse of open ocean was seen as a distance to travel across rather than a resource to exploit.

But a global population closing in on 10 billion, along with lethally efficient advances in technology, have created the will and the way to pillage marine flora and fauna as never before.

Currently, about 12 percent of the 90 million tonnes of fish harvested every year come from the high seas, but that percentage could climb quickly.

"On the high seas, anything goes," said a European diplomat who will take part in the talks.

"The aim of this future agreement is precisely to set up a system of governance to constrain the impact of human activity," he said, requesting anonymity.

The meeting Monday of the "preparatory committee" is the first of four two-week sessions scheduled through the end of 2017.

That is when members of the United Nations will decide if they have a foundation for negotiating a legally binding treaty which could -- if the history of UN climate talks is any guide -- take a long time.

As with the two-decade wrangle over how to tackle global warming, which finally yielded a universal deal in December, a half-dozen key issues divide nations grouped in familiar blocs on how best to manage the high seas.

One is the scope of zones in which industrial fishing and mineral extraction would be curtailed or banned.

"Marine protected areas are one of the strongest tools for safeguarding nature and rebuilding fish stocks," said Roberts.

Currently, just over three percent of oceans -- all within national boundaries -- are off limits to commercial exploitation. The UN Convention on Biodiversity has called for a target of 10 percent by 2020.

- Genetic resources -

But many experts cite the World Parks Congress 2014 recommendation that fully 30 percent of oceans should be set aside as de facto international parks.

Even then, according to a study published last week in the journal Conservation Letters, it may not be enough. The loss of marine life is already so advanced that it would take larger areas to protect biodiversity and prevent some fish stocks from collapsing.

Nations also disagree on what rules to set for exploiting marine genetic resources.

"Right now, there are no rules -- it's 'first come, first serve'," said Julien Rochette, a researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations in Paris.

Only three countries -- the United States, Germany and Japan -- hold 70 percent of patents stemming from marine life, he noted.

Opposed to a "freedom on the high seas" approach on this issue is the principle -- upheld by China and the G77 bloc of developing nations -- that such genetic wealth belongs to the "common heritage of mankind," and should thus be shared out.

How to set up environmental impact assessments, enforcement, and technology transfer will also be on the table in New York.

"This is the last major multilateral negotiation for the environment on the UN agenda," Rochette said.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Protecting coral reefs with bubbles
Stanford CA (SPX) Mar 24, 2016
Blowing tiny bubbles through seawater could help protect coral reefs and oyster farms from oceans turned increasingly acidic through human activities by stripping carbon dioxide (CO2) from coastal marine environments and transferring it to the atmosphere, Stanford scientists say. The technique, outlined in a study published online in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, could ... read more

Prince Harry extends Nepal trip to help quake victims

Asia most exposed to disasters, Africa most vulnerable: study

TEPCO bungles Fukushima cleanup as robots damaged by Radiation

No hope of survivors in northern Pakistan avalanche: officials

Lehigh scientists extend the reach of single crystals

A new-structure magnetic memory device developed

Detecting radioactive material from a remote distance

The quest for spin liquids

Protecting coral reefs with bubbles

In Florida, calls to keep 'saving the manatees'

Malaysia tribes say controversial Borneo dam is scrapped

Galapagos lakes reveal tropical Pacific climate since Biblical times

Digging deeper: Study improves permafrost models, reduces uncertainties

A glance into the future of the Arctic

Climate warming accelerating carbon loss from thawing Arctic soils

Nature study reveals rapid ice-wedge loss across Arctic

Greenhouse gas mitigation potential from livestock sector revealed

China sales help Bordeaux wines turn around two-year slump

Cousteau warns of reef damage in Florida port project

Government use of technology has potential to increase food security

Wetland enhancement in Midwest could help reduce catastrophic floods of the future

Pakistan rains leave 42 dead: officials

Japan's tsunami: Five things after five years

Pakistan rains leave 28 dead: officials

Niger president scores landslide win in boycotted run-off

Burundi soldier kills colonel blamed in crackdown: source

Kenya army says killed 34 Shebab in Somalia firefights

65 Shebab insurgents killed in NE Somalia: army

Why did humans make more pottery after the last ice age?

Ancient Denisovan DNA excavated in modern Pacific Islanders

Researchers find ancient DNA preserved in modern-day humans

400,000-year-old fossils from Spain provide earliest genetic evidence of Neandertals

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement