Borneo eco-resort’s reef restoration

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In Sabah, Borneo, the Gayana Eco Resort is showcasing its coral reef restoration initiative during a “Marine Awareness Month” from March 22-April 22. The environmental sanctuary on Gaya Island off the coast of Kota Kinabalu is celebrating the return to the wild of revived coral and hand-reared juvenile Giant Clams from its Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC). The event marks a milestone in the resort’s commitment to restore a coral reef ecosystem ravaged by illegal fishing methods, dumping of waste into the sea and climate change. read more

US Senator pushes NOAA to track Tsunami debris

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According to this article, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (WA) urged the head of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today to step up programs to analyze the potential danger of debris from last year’s Japanese tsunami to Washington’s coastal economy.   During an Oceans, Fisheries, Coast Guard, and Atmosphere Subcommittee hearing today, Cantwell questioned NOAA head Dr. Jane Lubchenco on the agency’s readiness to address the threat tsunami debris poses to Washington state’s coastal economy. President Obama’s FY13 budget proposes a 25 percent cut to NOAA’s Marine Debris Program. read more

Pedro Bank, Jamaica coral reef research gets underway

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A long neglected part of the Caribbean, Jamaica coral reefs are finally getting some much-needed attention. According to this article, the Living Oceans Foundation is sending its research platform, M/Y Golden Shadow, to Pedro Bank, Jamaica, to conduct scuba, planktonic, oceanographic and related research into this reef ecosystem.  While we have a (generally) good grasp of the current conditions of Caribbean coral reefs, there are blank spots.  Hopefully, this expedition will give us a more complete picture so that a more comprehensive restoration plan can be implemented, including fisheries management, pollution abatement, and in-situ restoration efforts. read more

US Magistrate Judge recommends review of plea in black coral case

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The Virgin Island Daily News reports that a US Magistrate agreed to recommend that the plea agreement of Ashu Bhandari, a St. Thomas jeweler charged with six felony counts of falsifying overseas shipments of black coral be reviewed by the presiding US District Judge, who previously rejected a plea deal between Bhandari’s company and the US Attorney.  The judge will determine whether the court will accept the plea deal or continue to trial June 14. Each count warrants up to five years imprisonment. The plea agreement assigns a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss amassed by the unlawful enterprise – whichever amount is more. read more

UN and CITES issue joint report on conservation and sustainable use of sharks

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The report of an international workshop to “Review the Application and Effectiveness of International Regulatory Measures for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Elasmobranchs”, convened jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and CITES in Genazzano, Italy, has been published by FAO. The workshop was attended by specialists, acting in an individual expert capacity, from a variety of different disciplines, sectors and geographic regions. Among their key conclusions, the workshop participants agreed that: read more