The Coral Triangle NI co-organised with the Government of the Philippines the first Coral Triangle Business Summit in Manila, 19-20th January 2010. It was highly successful and attended by over 160 participants with more than 50% coming from business and industry regionally.
Significant progress in reducing turtle bycatch on tuna long lines was achieved through President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announcing the signing of 4 public private partnerships with the tuna sector, and the national adoption of circle hooks to reduce turtle bycatch. It is estimated adoption of circle hooks could prevent the deaths of between 800 and 1500 turtles currently caught as bycatch annually.
A major Indonesian plantation company has become the country’s first certified maker of sustainable palm oil. Musim Mas Group Plantations is the first company in Indonesia to demonstrate that some of its plantations comply with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Principles and Criteria that help ensure palm oil is produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way. This links to the increased sales of RSPO-certified palm oil.
A major timber company which mostly operates in the Heart of Borneo has joined WWF’s Global Forest Trade Network – a worldwide partnership with companies committee to improve management of valuable forests. Ta Ann Holdings Berhad – which has concessions totalling 600,000ha – signed an MOU with WWF Malaysia in Sarawak in December as a commitment to implement responsible forest management and achieve forest certification.
WWF’s European palm oil scorecard campaign in 2009 significantly influenced the global sales of palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
The campaign targetted corporate members of the RSPO which had committed to purchase RSPO products but which were failing to do so. Sales increased from 1% of global supply in May, to 35% in January. In the first quarter of 2010, sales of RSPO-certified palm oil increased to 95%, building incentive for the industry to embrace RSPO principles.
Currently Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) represents about 3% of global palm oil production, and by the end of 2010 this figure could reach 6%. This would be a similar level of market penetration as MSC & FSC products, achieved over longer time periods albeit for larger volumes. The level of CSPO consumption could reach 10% of all palm oil consumption in the UK by the end of the year.
WWF enjoyed mixed fortunes at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Doha in March. Successes included the commitment of all rhino range states to combat rampant rhino poaching in southern Africa – including addressing Vietnam’s increasingly important role as an importer of illegally poached rhino horn, and improving law enforcement and trade controls in the rhino range states.
Controversial proposals on the African elephant ivory trade were also defeated. WWF’s marine actions were less successful, with all six proposals to restrict commercial trade failing to pass, including red and pink coral and four shark species (hammerhead, spiny dogfish, porbeagle and oceanic white tip).
However, the failure to ban international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna helped spotlight the plight of the species, hopefully leading to greater commitment by the authority regulating this fishery to impose reductions in tuna catches sufficient to enable this iconic fish to recover.
WWF was closely involved in the proposal by the Principality of Monaco to ban international trade in the Atlantic bluefin tuna due to the plunging stock levels, especially of large adult breeding fish, due to overfishing and high levels of illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.
The management authority responsible for regulating this fishery – the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) – is failing to act on the best scientific evidence that this fishery is on the verge of collapse and that fishing levels must be drastically reduced for the fishery to recover. WWF used CITES as the global body responsible for preventing biodiversity loss due to international trade to pressure ICCAT to act more responsibly.
The proposal failed, largely due to pressure by the Government of Japan, but at the CITES several key stakeholders – including Japan, Canada, the U.S. and the EU – expressed a desire to lead in ensuring a full, science-based recovery plan will be adopted at the next ICCAT meeting later this year.
A new alliance between leading associations of European seafood processors, retailers and WWF has been launched to push for solutions to the crisis of European seas and fisheries.
The EU Fish Processors and Traders Association, AIPCE-CEP and Eurocommerce – representing retail, wholesale and international trade interests in the EU – will, with WWF, jointly seek reforms to the troubled European Common Fisheries Policy to lay the basis for sustainability in fisheries and the industry.
The alliance represents a significant portion of the supply chain from the processing, trading and retail sectors in Europe, and will seek the replacement of “political” quotas for fish with mandatory long term science-based management plans. Starting April, WWF and its allies will present their shared position to members of the European Commission and Parliament involved in the upcoming reform of European fisheries, and engage with national offices and companies to move towards sustainable well-managed fisheries.
China for a Global Shift Banking Study Tours
China for a Global Shift, in partnership with a number of key Chinese financial institutions including EXIM, ICBC, MEP and CBRC, has developed a capacity building programme for Chinese Financial Institutions (FIs) in two study tours – Europe and Africa.
The purpose is to enable FI middle/senior level staff to understand the need for environmental sustainability as a criteria in Chinese foreign investment policies. In Europe in November 2009 participants met with their European peers in the banking/investment, export credit communities and regulatory agencies.
A workshop in Tanzania in January explored opportunities to promote sustainability – especially as 70% of the country’s timber is exported to China. In a visit to Mozambique and South Africa in May 2010 Chinese FIs will meet with local communities, government agencies, and NGOs.
WWF is well-placed to input into the highest levels of government policy in China through participation in the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), an influential body advising the State Council.
Top level government officials, including Vice-Premier Li-Keqiang, and the environment minister Zhou Shengxian attended the November CCICED conference, where WWF Director General Jim Leape delivered a keynote speech.
CCICED recommended several WWF proposals for inclusion in China’s 12th 5-Year Plan which will define the country’s economic and social development 2011-2015: Promote efficiency in all uses of natural resources; value ecosystems as integrated systems providing value to species, humans and local economies; and build adaptation to climate change across China’s development plans.
In late February 2010, the eight island countries party to the Nauru Agreement, including Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea within the Coral Triangle, announced their countries’ commitment that the skipjack tuna fishery will go to full MSC certification.
This involves an annual catch of about 360,000 tonnes, representing 40% of the fishery catch, and 10% of global skipjack catch. Skipjack is the fish product most commonly used in ‘canned tuna’ worldwide and is a hugely important fishery to bring to certification and sustainability. The Nauru Agreement also aims to deliver increased local value for sustainable management. At present, these countries receive only 3-4% of the global value of their tuna.
Certification will not be sought for fisheries using controversial fish aggregation devices (FADs) which contribute to overfishing and bycatch especially of juvenile yellowfin and big-eye tuna. The fishery has some of the world’s toughest rules to prevent bycatch of sharks, dolphins, and turtles.
A new law requiring French Guianese shrimp fishers to use special devices to reduce unwanted fish catch will better protect marine turtles and other vulnerable marine species in the region and is the first time European fishing fleets use such devices.
The catch of French Guianese shrimp fishers includes only 10-30% shrimp – the rest is unwanted bycatch usually thrown back into the sea dead or dying, including many marine turtles. The new device, three years in development and supported by WWF, helps channel non-shrimp catch such as sharks, rays and turtles out of the net, achieving a reduction in bycatch of between 25-40%, and a reduction in bycatch of marine turtles of 97%.
Use of the devices provides other benefits, such as better quality of the shrimp catch now less likely to be crushed by the unwanted bycatch, and reduced risk of injury from sharks and rays which are now less likely to be caught.
Global standards to address the negative impacts of tilapia farming on environment and society have been finalised through a five-year process involving more than 200 people representing producers, scientists and conservationists.
Many of the participants are from the world’s leading tilapia producing regions, including Central America and Asia. With almost 75% of tilapia coming from farms, the need for standards is critical and timely, and will enable the industry to grow, providing food and livelihoods, while minimising environmental damage.
This is the first set of standards produced by the Aquaculture Dialogues, a series of roundtables coordinated by WWF to bring together the key stakeholders to agree environmental standards for production of 12 aquaculture species.
Tilapia Farming Standards to Protect Freshwater Ecosystems
Global standards to address the negative impacts of tilapia farming on environment and society have been finalised through a five-year process involving more than 200 people representing producers, scientists and conservationists. Many of the participants are from the world’s leading tilapia producing regions, including Central America and Asia. With almost 75% of tilapia coming from farms, the need for standards is critical and timely, and will enable the industry to grow, providing food and livelihoods, while minimising environmental damage. This is the first set of standards produced by the Aquaculture Dialogues, a series of roundtables coordinated by WWF to bring together the key stakeholders to agree environmental standards for production of 12 aquaculture species.