Posted by: ecodestination | May 27, 2009

Countries agree to protect Coral Triangle

Surely you remember what a mess the world’s coral reefs are in (and shellfish reefs too, although we haven’t discussed that) not just because of fuck-up humans, but also because of global warming. Wait, that’s our fault too (unless you believe that the world was already warming up anyway).

Well, I have some good news: 6 Asia-Pacific countries— Indonesia, Malaysia, East Timor, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands—have committed to protecting a stretch of reef called the Coral Triangle, which holds 76% of all known coral species and provides a hot place for tuna to sex it up and make more of themselves.

The bad news is that the agreement is non-binding, say green groups. Plus, not all details have been ironed out.

“[The agreement is] non-binding and it’s not a treaty but as a commitment to each other it’s quite important,” said James Leape, international director general of the World Wildlife Fund. “The most important thing is the political platform that the declaration provides and some were quite explicit about creating new marine protected areas.”

But let’s focus on the positive.

By “protect,” these countries mean that they will collaborate to end illegal fishing/poaching and pollution. This is in their best interest because they are big tuna fishers, so they want to both protect the tuna’s spawning grounds and prevent the “bad guys” from stealing their bounty.

The agreement opens the door for these 6 countries to devise sustainable fishing laws over the next 3 years, according to Reuters. (I know, I know—but remember, *positive*!)

Really positive: it may ultimately be in these nations’ best interest to curb tuna fishing in these areas. Yay. (Yeah, I knew you’d like that one.)

So then, by being eco-smart everybody wins, right? Well, yeah…but the bastards are greedy (no shit, right?) so they need more incentive. The idea is that in exchange countries like the US, who purchases lots of tuna every year, will compensate them, or the 6 countries will be allowed to go nuts in other parts of the Coral Triangle. Yea. As if these tiny and poor nations would be able to keep dirt-poor fishers—and greedy, generally destructive assholes—from poaching anyway. It’s not like officials aren’t hungry for bribes, cuz they are.

Still, it’s a relatively big deal. Check out what this guy said:

“In 30 years of conservation work, I have never seen anything like this: six leaders signing a commitment to protect their marine resources,” Peter Seligmann, head of Conservation International, said in a statement.

It’s something. So let’s buck up and smile for the camera.

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