Day: November 27, 2020

Australia / China: Chinese Fishing Plant in Torres Strait Raises Alarm for Australian Industry and Islanders.

A Chinese-flagged fishing boat
A Chinese-flagged fishing boat. Australian MP Warren Entsch and fishing groups in the Torres Strait have raised concerns about the plan for a $200m fish processing plant on Daru Island in Papua New Guinea. Photograph: Artyom Ivanov/Tass

Chinese fishing plant in Torres Strait raises alarm for Australian industry and islanders

Processing plant on a Papua New Guinean island may bring more commercial pressure on fisheries in areas where regulation is uncertain

A $200m Chinese-built fishery plant planned for a Papua New Guinean island could allow Chinese-backed commercial vessels to fish legally in the Torres Strait, and has raised concerns about unregulated fishing in the same waters, potentially threatening the Australian industry and local PNG fishers.

China’s ministry of commerce this month announced a $527m kina (A$204m) deal to establish a “comprehensive multi-functional fishery industrial park” project on Daru Island, in PNG’s Western Province.

The memorandum of understanding, which offered little detail, was signed by the Fujian Zhonghong Fishery Company, PNG’s fisheries minister, Lino Tom, and the governor of Western Province, Taboi Yoto. The plant is expected to serve as a hub for fishing vessels coming into the region, and to process catches taken from the Torres Strait.

Under the Torres Strait Treaty, Australia and PNG are allowed to fish a shared area of the waters known as the protected zone, which straddles the fishing zones of the two countries.

Inside Australia’s zone, PNG boats may take 25% of the permitted tropical lobster catch and 40% of Spanish mackerel.

To date PNG has not had the capacity to commercially fish its share of these quotas, but the deal could attract Chinese funding for PNG-flagged vessels.

Warren Entsch, the MP for the north Queensland electorate of Leichhardt, said: “It’s certainly going to impact on our side of the fishery … but at the end of the day there is a treaty arrangement there.

“The biggest losers are going to be the treaty villages [of PNG’s Western Province]. They have no welfare system and bugger-all support from the PNG government. When they go out to fish to feed their families, there’s going to be nothing left.”

The Fuzhou-based Fujian Zhonghong Fishery Company, established in 2011, has a long involvement with PNG, mainly in fishing and seafood processing.

But Entsch said he held concerns over China’s track record in the region.

“You only have to look at what China has done in other places in the Pacific to ask the question of whose best interest it is in,” he said. “Is it in the best interest of the broader PNG community? I suspect not.”

Torres Strait community fisheries representative Kenny Bedford said: “There are significant implications for Australian Torres Strait fisheries.

“Under the current catch sharing arrangements, it is likely PNG will be moving in this partnership to access their full entitlement rights [under] the Torres Strait treaty,” Bedford said.

Aside from the catches allowed under the treaty, fish resources on the PNG side of the border were “seriously depleted, unmonitored and poorly managed”, Bedford said.

A map of the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea
The Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea. The black line is the boundary between the two countries’ fishing zones. The green line marks the protected zone where fishing is shared. Daru is the smaller of the two islands north of the shared zone, between Saibai Island and Bramble Cay. Photograph: Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

“The traditional owners of land and sea along the Western Province treaty villages have no say or control over what is being harvested or by whom.”

Tom said the plant was a “priority project” for PNG.

“Under the influence of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ policy, Zhonghong Fishery Company decided to invest in PNG. This large investment project will bring employment to the local area and promote the economic development of Western Province and PNG.”

China’s ambassador to PNG, Xue Bing, said the company’s investment “will definitely enhance PNG’s ability to comprehensively develop and utilise its own fishery resources”.

The Fujian Zhonghong Fishery Company did not respond to a request for comment.

Chinese fishing fleets have devastated local fish stocks in other parts of the world. In August, just off the Galapagos Islands, an armada of nearly 300 Chinese vessels logged 73,000 hours of fishing in a month, hauling in thousands of tonnes of squid and fish.

At their closest point, PNG and Australia are separated by less than 4km of water: the border communities are deeply intertwined, with free movement between islands (outside Covid restrictions) and close sharing of resources.

The Torres Strait Sea and Land Council Gur A Baradharaw Kod represents traditional inhabitants throughout the island communities. Its chair, Ned David, said the organisation was “extremely concerned” with the implications of the plan, including an increased risk of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

“We have raised a number of concerns over the years with Afma [the Australian Fisheries Management Authority] that we have had very little policing of the fishery,” David said.

“We already have a number of Chinese operators in some of our communities and I’ve asked that this is looked at and that some sort of due diligence be conducted around what I would categorise as a rogue element in the business.

We’d like to see the level of monitoring and restrictions the commonwealth has taken on the border for Covid continued in terms of policing and presence to ensure that nobody is pillaging and plundering our resources, on our side of the border.”

Asked whether Afma had the capacity to monitor larger, professional fishing fleets in the strait, a spokesman said the existing legal framework would remain “the basis for continued successful management”.

An Australian Border Force spokesperson told the Guardian it worked closely with its PNG counterparts: “The ABF undertakes a range of enforcement action, including boarding vessels, to respond to any threat to civil maritime security.”

A north Queensland fishing industry source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said many in the industry were concerned by the proposed park on Daru, but noted the project was so far no more than a memorandum of understanding.

“[But] this is definitely a warning shot across our bow. I think China will be watching closely how we will respond.”

Chinese fishing plant in Torres Strait raises alarm for Australian industry and islanders | Torres Strait Islands | The Guardian

USA: Dog Slowly Suffered And Died On The End Of A Chain: Demand Investigation And Charges!

Dog Slowly Suffered And Died On The End Of A Chain: Demand Investigation And Charges!

This abhorrent case of neglect and cruelty dates back to 2019. Though the mayor and animal control agency were contacted, nobody felt that the situation warranted charges…because apparently nobody felt that Tazi mattered enough.

Tazi’s advocate lays out the timeline and details of what transpired:

He suffered through a hot summer, no food or water, and died in August/September 2019. I found his remains on October 17, 2019, because I smelled him.
The photo of him alive was taken in April 2019, shortly before a visit to the property by animal control. The property owner was contacted by animal control. The owner explained that the dogs were left at this empty property as guard dogs. And that was OK.

This abhorrent case of neglect and cruelty dates back to 2019. Though the mayor and animal control agency were contacted, nobody felt that the situation warranted charges…because apparently nobody felt that Tazi mattered enough.

Tazi’s advocate lays out the timeline and details of what transpired:

He suffered through a hot summer, no food or water, and died in August/September 2019. I found his remains on October 17, 2019, because I smelled him.
The photo of him alive was taken in April 2019, shortly before a visit to the property by animal control. The property owner was contacted by animal control. The owner explained that the dogs were left at this empty property as guard dogs. And that was OK.
The photo of him alive was taken by a teacher who worked at the middle school NEXT DOOR to this house. That’s right…teachers and parents drove past this dog, chained in the side yard, viewable from the street that leads to the school. Children walked past this yard on their way to school. Only one teacher spoke for him. She made numerous complaints to animal control and has written documentation of their contact with the dog owner.

The person responsible for Tazi’s death must be arrested, charged, and punished. We need your signature today to make this happen. Please join us in seeking justice for Tazi.

Target:

Chief Lawrence Battiste, Mobile Police Department

Mayor Stimpson

Update 11/19/2020: Charges have been filed against Marcus Kyles, the man believed to be Tazi’s owner. Kyles is facing multiple charges, including cruelty to dog/cat, Failure to License, Failure to provide food/water or shelter, Failure to vaccinate, and Improper Disposal of a dead animal. Arraignment is scheduled for 12/16/2020.

Update 11/16/2020: We have not had a response from the Mayor’s office or Chief Lawrence Battiste’s office from the Mobile Police Department. Today Animal Victory sent a second letter to Mayor Stimpson and Chief Lawrence Battiste along with over 19500 signatures. Our return receipt letter and signatures will also be snail-mailed to the Mayor’s office and Chief Lawrence Battiste.

Update 11/8/2020: Read our letter to Mobile County Animal Control Advisory Board here

Update 11/4/2020: Read our letter to Mayor Stimpson and Chief Lawrence Battiste here

*Individuals are presumed innocent until being found guilty in a court of law.

Sign here: http://www.animalvictory.org/dog_slowly_suffered_and_died_on_the_end_of_a_chain_demand_investigation_and_charges?recruiter_id=934119




Sign here: http://www.animalvictory.org/dog_slowly_suffered_and_died_on_the_end_of_a_chain_demand_investigation_and_charges?recruiter_id=934119

England: National Trust pause trail hunting on its land following webinar police probe.

November 2020:

England:  National Trust pause trail hunting on its land following webinar police probe

The National Trust have said it will pause trail hunting on its land and will not be granting new licences this season.

The news follows a ITV News report that revealed webinars hosted by The Hunting Office, the sport’s governing body, are being examined by police officers in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service to see if any criminal offences have taken place.

In a statement shared by ITV News Wales & West of England Correspondent Rupert Evelyn, the National Trust said: “We have taken the decision to pause trail hunting on National Trust land and will not be granting any new licences for the remainder of the season.”

In a follow up tweet, the charity said: “We do not currently have a date when this decision will be reviewed.”

Forestry England has also moved to suspend trail hunting on its land.

Crown Estates also issued a statement advising it was “aware of the current investigation” and adding: “We do not condone any form of hunting outside of UK law and we are therefore looking into this matter.

“The majority of our rural portfolio is comprised of tenanted, working farmland. While any decision to allow hunting rests with the tenant, it must always take place in full compliance with UK law.  

United Utilities is also suspending trail hunting on its land until the investigation is complete, in a statement the company added: “At that point, we will consider what action we should take.”

 While Natural Resources Wales also confirmed it was “looking into [the investigation] to see what action, if any, we need to take.”

 A police investigation was launched after allegations were made to numerous forces about the contents of online meetings the hunting body held.

The Hunting Office say the seminars “clearly dealt with the operation and promotion of legal trail hunting and managing animal rights activism” but activists argue the seminars, organised to discuss trail hunting, raise questions about the motives of some in the sport.

Trail hunting involves laying a scent similar to that of a fox for hounds to follow.

Hunting groups maintain they follow the letter of the law but, they say, accidents happen.

When dogs follow a fake trail, it frequently leads them to a real fox instead. That is not illegal.

Animal rights activists have a long-held belief that legal exemptions like trail laying offer little protection to foxes and make illegal activities difficult to prove.

What is trail hunting and is it legal?

The police and the Crown Prosecution Service are investigating online seminars hosted by hunting’s governing body, The Hunting Office, ITV News has learned.

Traditional fox hunting – where the animal was chased and killed by dogs – was banned in England and Wales in 2005.

A number of alternative versions of hunting have continued in the wake of the ban, however, and are now the subject of controversy and fierce debate.

So what is the legal situation on the different forms of hunting and who’s who in one of the country’s most fiercely debated issues?

The variations on fox hunting

Following the ban on the chasing and killing of animals, different variations sprung up to allow the activity to still take place in modified, legal forms.

Drag hunting – a sport that existed before the ban – uses foxhounds to search for a scent laid by a drag pulled on a string.

The activity doesn’t involve an animal scent and doesn’t involve the pursuit or killing of wild animals.

Trail hunting uses an animal-based scent for the hunt to follow and is the form many hunts have switched to following the 2005 ban.

Groups on each side of the debate differ as to whether the scent is laid using a material laced with something like urine or whether body parts or carcasses are used.

Following the Hunting Act 2004, banning traditional hunts, the practice of trail hunting has been widely adopted.

Continue reading “England: National Trust pause trail hunting on its land following webinar police probe.”

EU to ban use of lead shot by wetland bird hunters; but they will still kill !

Photo – Magda2Geneve

EU to ban use of lead shot by wetland bird hunters

27 November 2020

Regulation will help prevent deaths of 1m waterbirds by lead poisoning every year

Lead shot is to be banned from all wetlands in the European Union, in a decision that is expected to pave the way for phasing out all toxic ammunition.

The European parliament voted against objections lodged by far-right parties, allowing the European commission to introduce the new regulations by the end of the year.

The ban will ensure that any wildfowl or waterbirds are shot with non-toxic steel ammunition after scientific studies found that 1 million waterbirds are killed by lead poisoning each year. Millions more wild birds, including raptors, are poisoned but do not die, with 40% of whooper swans found to have elevated blood lead levels.

If the regulations come into force before the end of the Brexit transition period, they will become UK law. This would compel some grouse shoots to use non-toxic ammunition because certain grouse moors are peatlands and are classified as wetlands according to the EU definition.

“It’s absolutely fantastic news,” said Prof Debbie Pain, an independent ecological toxicologist and honorary research fellow at the University of Cambridge who has studied the effects of lead shot for nearly 40 years. “Lead shot kills 1 million waterbirds each year, it contaminates the environment and it’s a cumulative poison, so the problem is getting worse and worse.

“This ban is going to make a huge difference to the health of wetlands and the health of waterbirds across the EU. It’s absolutely the right thing to do and non-toxic alternatives have been available for a long time.”

Although Denmark outlawed lead shot in 1996, most other EU nations continue to use it. In Britain, a coalition of shooting groups earlier this year pledged to move to non-toxic alternatives within the next five years. Waitrose has banned the sale of game shot with lead.

In England, the use of lead shot is banned for the shooting of all ducks and geese and on foreshores and other sensitive sites, but campaigners say compliance is poor. Research has found that more than 70% of ducks are still shot with lead.

If the ban does not come into force before the Brexit transition period ends, Britain will not be compelled to adopt it, but government sources say it supports the principle of addressing the impact of lead shot.

Countries will have 24 months to bring in the ban, which will result in shooters only being able to use non-toxic steel ammunition across vast swathes of northern European countries, where a lot of land meets the EU definition of wetland.

The European Chemicals Agency is now developing restrictions on the use of all lead ammunition and the use of lead in fishing weights in preparation for a full ban on lead ammunition.

Ruth Cromie of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust said lead poisoning caused lowered immune systems in wild birds, potentially facilitating the spread of diseases such as avian flu.

“Progressive hunters have known for a long time that lead ammunition has to go. This is a clear sign that the policy is finally catching up with this no-brainer. We’ve got all the evidence and we’ve got a practical solution – non-toxic ammunition.”

Read more at source

The Guardian  London – Brilliant as always !

Regards Mark