Trudeau government backpedals on election promise to phase out B.C. open net salmon farms by 2025

Trudeau government backpedals on election promise to phase out B.C. open net salmon farms by 2025

SOURCE: The Narwhal DATE: February 13, 2020 SNIP: Following an outcry from the salmon farming industry, the Trudeau government has backed away from its election campaign commitment to phase out open net pen salmon farming on B.C.’s West Coast by 2025. Jane Deeks, press secretary for Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, confirmed in an email to The Narwhal that a transition plan will be developed by 2025 but open net pen salmon farms will not be removed by that date. “Our government is working on a responsible plan to transition the industry away from open net-pen salmon farming in B.C., and we have committed to developing this plan by 2025,” Deeks said in an email in response to questions from The Narwhal. Stan Proboszcz, science and campaign advisor for the Watershed Watch Salmon Society, called the recasting of the Liberal government’s election promise “borderline deceitful.” “I think it’s quite slippery to now hear from the minister, after the election, after they’re in power, that there’s a new re-interpretation of the promise … that now they’re just going to come up with a plan to remove farms by 2025,” Proboszcz said in an interview. The Liberal Party’s campaign platform said a re-elected Trudeau government “will work with the province to develop a responsible plan to transition from open net pen salmon farming in coastal waters to closed containment systems by 2025.” But when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued mandate letters for his ministers in mid-December, Jordan was instructed to work with the B.C. government and Indigenous communities “to create a responsible plan to transition from open net-pen salmon...
Endemic rabbit threatened by weekend hordes of volcano gawkers

Endemic rabbit threatened by weekend hordes of volcano gawkers

SOURCE: Mexico News Daily DATE: February 13, 2020 SNIP: The critically endangered Volcano Rabbit lives only on 3 or 4 volcano mountain peaks in Mexico, inhabiting high elevation grassland and open forested habitats that are under myriad threats. Now social media-promoted treks to view a once year phenomenon involving three peaks appearing to be one as the sun rises is wreaking havoc with its habitat. The massive influx of tourists to a México state national park each February to observe a phenomenon that involves a trio of volcanic peaks represents a threat to the habitat of the highly endangered volcano rabbit, says the Natural Protected Areas Commission (Conanp). More than 3,500 people climbed Mount Tláloc in the Iztaccíhuatl-Popocatépetl National Park last weekend to view the phenomenon known as montaña fantasma (phantom mountain) in which for a period of just 15 minutes at sunrise, the Malinche volcano in Tlaxcala, the Pico de Orizaba volcano in Veracruz and the Sierra Negra volcano in Puebla appear to merge on the horizon to form one continuous mountain range. Visitor numbers to watch the montaña fantasma phenomenon from the peak of Mount Tláloc began to grow in 2012 and exploded in 2017 due to growing awareness generated by social media, the newspaper Milenio reported. After last weekend’s influx, Conanp said that the large number of visitors damaged alpine grasslands inhabited by the volcano rabbit, a species endemic to Mexico known also as the teporingo or zacatuche. The teporingo, the world’s second smallest rabbit after the pygmy, was declared extinct last year in the vicinity of the Nevado de Toluca, a volcano in México state....
Penguins’ plastic peril: Scientists warn of growing threat to endangered birds from toxic fibres polluting the ocean

Penguins’ plastic peril: Scientists warn of growing threat to endangered birds from toxic fibres polluting the ocean

SOURCE: Sunday Post DATE: February 10, 2020 SNIP: A study in Antarctic has found that over three quarters of the penguins surveyed in South Georgia had microfibres in their stomachs. Smaller than a baby’s fingernail, and often coated in toxic chemicals, they can lodge in a bird’s stomach, and as they break down into even smaller nanoparticles, wreak havoc throughout the body. Until recently it was believed that the Antarctic, protected by the Circumpolar Current flowing eastward around the uninhabited continent, was a haven from the menace. The island is home to one of the world’s largest colonies of King Penguins, with around 100,000 pairs, and was praised by Sir David Attenborough as one of the most extraordinary places on Earth. Standing over three feet tall, the birds raise just one chick every two years, and have a striking patch of orange-gold feathers on their neck. Lead researcher Camille Le Guen from St Andrews University, who spent over two months on the island, said: “The seas are suffering from climate change, and over-fishing. Plastic pollution is an added and growing threat. “The Southern Ocean was supposed to be the cleanest ocean in the world – but maybe this is not such an isolated place after all. “The Antarctic Circumpolar Current is like a semi-barrier for microfibres, but once they manage to get in, they are stuck because of that current and then they will accumulate.” She added: “We found 77% of birds had microfibres in their diet, birds with chicks and even non-breeding birds.” And almost 300m tonnes of plastic debris are estimated to be floating at sea surface...
Half-a-million insect species face extinction

Half-a-million insect species face extinction

SOURCE: Phys.org DATE: February 10, 2020 SNIP: Half of the one million animal and plant species on Earth facing extinction are insects, and their disappearance could be catastrophic for humankind, scientists have said in a “warning to humanity”. “The current insect extinction crisis is deeply worrying,” said Pedro Cardoso, a biologist at the Finnish Museum of Natural History and lead author of a review study published Monday. “Yet, what we know is only the tip of the iceberg,” he told AFP. The disappearance of bugs that fly, crawl, burrow, jump and walk on water is part of a gathering mass extinction event, only the sixth in the last half-billion years. The last one was 66 million years ago, when an errant space rock wiped out land-based dinosaurs and most other life forms. This time we are to blame. The main drivers are dwindling and degraded habitat, followed by pollutants—especially insecticides—and invasive species. Over-exploitation—more than 2,000 species of insects are part of the human diet—and climate change are also taking a toll. The decline of butterflies, beetles, ants, bees, wasps, flies, crickets and dragonflies has consequences far beyond their own demise. “With insect extinction, we lose much more than species,” Cardoso said. “Many insect species are vital providers of services that are irreplaceable,” including pollination, nutrient cycling and pest...
Trump is blowing up a national monument in Arizona to make way for the border wall

Trump is blowing up a national monument in Arizona to make way for the border wall

SOURCE: The Intercept DATE: February 6, 2020 SNIP: Contractors working for the Trump administration are blowing apart a mountain on protected lands in southern Arizona to make way for the president’s border wall. The blasting is happening on the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a tract of Sonoran Desert wilderness long celebrated as one of the nation’s great ecological treasures, that holds profound spiritual significance to multiple Native American groups. In a statement to The Intercept, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed that the blasting began this week and will continue through the end of the month. “The construction contractor has begun controlled blasting, in preparation for new border wall system construction, within the Roosevelt Reservation at Monument Mountain in the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector,” the statement said, referring to an area also known as Monument Hill. “The controlled blasting is targeted and will continue intermittently for the rest of the month.” The agency added that it “will continue to have an environmental monitor present during these activities as well as on-going clearing activities.” Rep. Raúl Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, told The Intercept that he has zero faith that the Department of Homeland Security’s “environmental monitor will do anything to avoid, mitigate, or even point out some of the sacrilegious things that are occurring and will continue to occur, given the way they’re proceeding.” Grijalva’s blunt assessment is based on a visit he made to Organ Pipe last month, alongside archaeologists and leaders of the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose ancestral homelands and sacred burial sites are in the crosshairs...