B.C. First Nations say sea lice spreading from fish farms to wild salmon

B.C. First Nations say sea lice spreading from fish farms to wild salmon

SOURCE: CTV News DATE: June 26, 2020 SNIP: The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC), which represents First Nations from across the province, is calling for an end to open net-pen salmon farming in B.C. The FNLC says that among its chief concerns is that farmed salmon may be spreading sea lice to salmon stocks throughout B.C.’s waters, which is lethal to juvenile wild salmon. While the leadership council acknowledges that there are other contributing factors to a decline in salmon stocks over the past several years, the FNLC cites a study conducted by the Cohen Commission which recommends shutting down net-pen fish farms in the Discovery Islands if they pose a health risk to wild salmon. The DFO says that if net-pen salmon farms in the Discovery Islands are scientifically proven to “pose more than a minimal risk of serious harm” to wild fish stocks, then fish farms in the area will be required to close. The FNLC says that now is the time for the DFO to take action, as a recent report published by fish farm companies Mowi, Cermaq and Grieg suggest that sea lice is now appearing in farmed salmon at rates that exceed limits imposed by the government. “We have known for years that open net-pen salmon farming is one of the main contributors to the massive decline in wild salmon stocks in this province,” said BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee. “The federal and provincial governments have been taking a piecemeal approach to this problem, with long timeframes for transition to closed containment pens, and only in a few places. We...
Australia Fast-Tracks a $1 Billion Coal Mine

Australia Fast-Tracks a $1 Billion Coal Mine

SOURCE: Bloomberg DATE: June 11, 2020 SNIP: A giant Glencore Plc coal project in Australia has been fast-tracked as the nation turns to its vast natural resources to lift the economy out of its first recession in almost three decades. The A$1.5 billion ($1 billion) Valeria mine in Queensland has been designated a “coordinated project”, which the state said Friday would help to get new jobs happening quicker. That comes as the national government stands firm in the face of calls at home and abroad to shift away from the highly polluting fuel. “This new mine has the potential to create hundreds of new jobs as Queensland recovers from the extraordinary shock of the global coronavirus pandemic,” state Treasurer Cameron Dick said. “Coal mining has a long history in Queensland and will continue to be a major industry for many years to come.” The coal industry brings in around A$70 billion in annual export revenue. The government is betting on strong consumption of the fuel in Asia. Glencore’s proposed mine in the state’s Bowen Basin coal heartland will produce around 20 million tons a year of thermal and metallurgical coal, equal to about 4% of the nation’s output. That’s double the size of Adani’s controversial Carmichael project, also in Queensland, which has been targeted by climate activists for potentially opening up a new region to coal mining. Pembroke Resources Pty’s 15-million-ton-a-year Olive Downs met coal project, also in the Bowen Basin, is proceeding with the state’s backing after receiving environmental approval last month. Queensland is also encouraging the development of new gas resources, with a joint venture between Royal...
‘More masks than jellyfish’: coronavirus waste ends up in ocean

‘More masks than jellyfish’: coronavirus waste ends up in ocean

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: June 8, 2020 SNIP: Conservationists have warned that the coronavirus pandemic could spark a surge in ocean pollution – adding to a glut of plastic waste that already threatens marine life – after finding disposable masks floating like jellyfish and waterlogged latex gloves scattered across seabeds. The French non-profit Opération Mer Propre, whose activities include regularly picking up litter along the Côte d’Azur, began sounding the alarm late last month. Divers had found what Joffrey Peltier of the organisation described as “Covid waste” – dozens of gloves, masks and bottles of hand sanitiser beneath the waves of the Mediterranean, mixed in with the usual litter of disposable cups and aluminium cans. The quantities of masks and gloves found were far from enormous, said Peltier. But he worried that the discovery hinted at a new kind of pollution, one set to become ubiquitous after millions around the world turned to single-use plastics to combat the coronavirus. “It’s the promise of pollution to come if nothing is done,” said Peltier. In France alone, authorities have ordered two billion disposable masks, said Laurent Lombard of Opération Mer Propre. “Knowing that … soon we’ll run the risk of having more masks than jellyfish in the Mediterranean,” he wrote on social media alongside video of a dive showing algae-entangled masks and soiled gloves in the sea near Antibes. The group hopes the images will prompt people to embrace reusable masks and swap latex gloves for more frequent handwashing. “With all the alternatives, plastic isn’t the solution to protect us from Covid. That’s the message,” said...
Surgical masks wash up on Sydney beaches after 40 containers fall off cargo ship

Surgical masks wash up on Sydney beaches after 40 containers fall off cargo ship

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: May 26, 2020 SNIP: Residents of Sydney’s east have woken to beaches covered in face masks, plastic containers and other items after 40 shipping containers fell off a ship on the weekend. The APL England lost the cargo in rough seas on Sunday while en route from China to Melbourne, forcing the ship to turn around and head to Brisbane. The containers lost overboard held a wide range of goods including household appliances, building materials and medical supplies. Australian Maritime Safety Authority officials received reports of face masks “washing up between Magenta Beach and The Entrance”, north of Sydney. New South Wales Maritime executive director Alex Barrell said boxes of flexible ducting, commonly used in heating and cooling systems, washed ashore at Bondi and Long Bay on Tuesday. Eastern beaches locals attempted to clear the debris on Wednesday morning, concerned the large amount of plastic could hurt local marine life. Aliy Pott, who lives in Bondi, said: “I saw an article about the shipping last night. I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. I set an alarm and promised myself I’d go down and do what I could. “When I got down [to Coogee], the beach looked like a tip. The whole left side of the beach was just covered. It was all medical masks and full packages of plastics containers not opened. NSW Maritime was advising coastal councils between Sydney and Gosford on how to deal with the containers and their contents as sea current modelling shows these areas could be further affected over the coming...
Indonesian miners eyeing EV nickel boom seek to dump waste into the sea

Indonesian miners eyeing EV nickel boom seek to dump waste into the sea

SOURCE: MongaBay DATE: May 18, 2020 SNIP: As Indonesia ramps up its mining sector to feed the world’s hunger for zero-emission vehicles, it is faced with a problem: what to do with all the waste. The country is the world’s biggest producer of nickel, one of the key elements in the rechargeable batteries that power electric vehicles and energy storage systems. Now, companies building the nation’s first factories to produce the elements that power electric vehicles are seeking permission to dump billions of tons of potentially toxic waste into the waters of the Coral Triangle, home to the highest diversity of corals and reef fishes anywhere on the planet. In January, two companies presented plans to use the method, known as deep-sea tailings disposal, or DSTD, to Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs, according to presentation documents seen by Mongabay. Neither company appears to have received permission from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, which must approve the practice, though factories pitching to dump waste in the ocean are already under construction. Nickel mining, increasingly pushed to meet rising demand for batteries, has long been a core industry for Indonesia. Smelting for battery nickel produces large amounts of acidic waste full of heavy metals, and how to deal with the waste is one of the most important decisions in a smelting project. Companies often choose DSTD as a cost-efficient or safer option to manage tailings, the byproducts left over from extracting metals from ore. It’s an alternative to constructing a dam to store the tailings or spending money to treat the waste so it can be returned...