Local fishers oppose $2.7 billion deal opening Madagascar to Chinese fishing

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Two months ago, a little-known private Malagasy association signed a 10-year, $2.7 billion fishing deal — the largest in the country’s history — with a group of Chinese companies that plans to send 330 fishing vessels to Madagascar.Critics of the deal include the country’s fisheries minister, who said he learned about it in the newspaper; environmental and government watchdog groups; and local fishers, who are already struggling with foreign competition for Madagascar’s dwindling marine stocks.Critics say no draft of the deal has been made public and the association that signed it did not conduct an environmental impact assessment or any public consultation.The issue has drawn media attention in the run-up to the presidential election on Wednesday. The incumbent and a leading candidate, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, was present at the fisheries deal’s signing, although he later claimed not to be familiar with it. Life on the coast of Madagascar is increasingly precarious. In recent decades, the overexploitation of marine life has made it difficult for hundreds of thousands of small-scale fishers to make a living. So it’s no surprise that they are vocally opposing a new agreement to bring hundreds of additional Chinese vessels into their waters.Two months ago, a little-known and ostensibly private Malagasy association signed a 10-year, $2.7 billion fishing deal — the largest in the country’s history — with a group of Chinese companies that plans to send 330 fishing vessels to Madagascar. Madagascar’s president at the time, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, was in the room when the deal was signed in Beijing on Sept. 5, although he later claimed not to be familiar with it. No draft of the deal has been made public, and its opacity has drawn media attention in the run-up to the presidential election on Wednesday. Rajaonarimampianina stepped down as president on Sept. 7, two days after the deal was signed, to comply with Malagasy law that requires a sitting president to leave office 60 days before an election in which he is running. He is a leading candidate in the election.On the Madagascar side, the Agence Malagasy de Développement économique et de Promotion d’entreprises (AMDP) made the deal, which the group says was designed to promote the country’s “blue economy.” It did so without consulting the fisheries ministry, the national environment office, or civil society groups, many of which are now calling for the deal to be scrapped. These critics say the AMDP failed to set up an open bidding process and did not conduct an environmental impact assessment or any public consultation. They also note that there’s limited information on fishing efforts and catches in Madagascar’s waters, so any new projects should be taken on with extreme caution.“I can’t help but wonder how 330 vessels in our coastal zone would contribute to a blue economy. Not everything that happens in the ocean is ‘blue,’” Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana, country director for the international NGO World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), wrote in an op-ed in one of Madagascar’s leading newspapers.Activists have started an online petition to revoke the agreement, and some members of the government are equally concerned. Augustin Andriamananoro, the minister of fisheries, went on national television to voice his opposition to the deal, which he said he first read about in a newspaper.“This could bring about discord and, if we are not careful, it will cause our ocean to be overexploited,” he told TV Plus Madagascar on Oct. 5. “Madagascar’s natural resources are in danger, especially the fish. The fishers are shocked and concerned.”A cartoon that ran on the Malagasy news site 2424.mg. The caption reads “Blue Economy = 10-year fishing deal with China.” Image courtesy of 2424.mg.A deal without detailsThe AMDP signed what it describes as a “framework agreement” with a consortium of seven unidentified Chinese companies known as Taihe Century (Beijing) Investment Development Co., Ltd. The AMDP has said in public statements that the agreement will be a boon to the local economy, and said in a press release from Beijing when the deal was signed that it would create 10,000 jobs over the next three years.“As a civil society actor, we heard the needs of traditional fishers,” Hugues Ratsiferana, the AMDP’s CEO, wrote in an email to Mongabay. He said that Malagasy people would operate 300 of the fishing vessels, and that these would all be new, 14-meter (46-foot) vessels with 1,200-kilogram-capacity (2,646-pound) iceboxes. The new equipment will allow Malagasy fishers to modernize and professionalize their fishing practices, he said. The remaining 30 vessels will be 28 meters (92 feet) in length and used for surveillance, rescue and collection of catch.Though there has been a slow trickle of information regarding the deal, the lack of transparency has concerned observers. “The scale of this investment is unprecedented in the island’s history,” reads an Oct. 12 statement on the website of Mihari, a network of locally managed marine associations in Madagascar. “It is a great source of concern for our Network members and the entire fishing industry, especially as we have little information about the content of the agreement or the manner in which it will be implemented.”Last week, AMDP representatives met with civil society groups and explained a bit more about the agreement. The first phase of the project, worth $700 million over three years, will include investments in fishing, aquaculture, shipyards and technical training, according to slides from the AMDP’s presentation. The second phase, worth $2 billion, will include more fishing, an aquaculture “base” and unspecified logistical services.The AMDP representatives did not specify where the vessels would be based, the fishing would be done, or the projects would take place — not even for a planned pilot project. Nor did they present a complete breakdown of how the $2.7 billion would be spent.In an apparent attempt to mollify critics, AMDP representatives said at the meeting that Malagasy people would have first access to the catch and only the surplus would be shipped to China. (It is unclear how Taihe would make money by selling the fish in Madagascar, a low-income country, and Ratsiferana did not reply to a question from Mongabay on this subject.) They also said that each individual project within the framework agreement would be subject to an environmental impact assessment.However, civil society groups are still not satisfied that the deal was made in a fair and transparent manner. “The AMDP failed to answer our most important questions,” Frédéric Lesné, head of advocacy at Transparency International (TI) – Madagascar Initiative, told Mongabay after attending the meeting.On Friday, TI and other civil society groups announced their ongoing opposition to the deal, saying the AMDP had no experience in the fisheries sector, had refused to disclose information about Taihe, and had not made any social or environmental impact studies public.The AMDP’s Ratsiferana told Mongabay that critical civil society groups had shown “great naïveté” and that opposition to the deal was politically motivated. “During the electoral period in Madagascar, the [online petition] signatories, and first and foremost Transparency International (TI), were manipulated by interests and political issues that go beyond them,” Ratsiferana told Mongabay, referring to the upcoming presidential elections. (TI declined to respond to this claim, saying it had no basis in fact.)Fishermen in southwestern Madagascar carry a pirogue to the sea. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.What is the AMDP?Critics of the deal have also expressed concern about the AMDP’s unusual structure and unclear relationship to the Madagascar government and to then-president and current candidate Rajaonarimampianina.As president, Rajaonarimampianina officially launched the AMDP at the headquarters of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie in Paris in September 2016. Soon after, Madagascar hosted an international francophone summit, where the AMDP acted on behalf of the government to facilitate economic partnerships with other French-speaking countries. The group’s name, which identifies it as an “agency,” also implies that it is a government body.In the AMDP’s press release from Beijing in September, Rajaonarimampianina voiced his support for the fisheries deal — “the new silk roads run through Madagascar!” he said — and was one of a handful of people in the room when the deal was signed. The AMDP attached a photograph of the hand-shaking scene to the release, and Rajaonarimampianina can be seen at the back, in the middle.When questioned about the deal by Radio France Internationale (RFI), Rajaonarimampianina claimed not to know about it.Rajaonarimampianina has another tie to the AMDP: His son, Lovatiana Mickaël Rakotoarimanana, was on the AMDP’s board of directors when it was founded in 2016. (In an email to Mongabay, the AMDP’s Ratsiferana said Rakotoarimanana was no longer on the board.)Despite the AMDP’s work on behalf of the government and connections to the presidency, Ratsiferana said it was a “private association” and thus had no legal obligation to release a copy of the fisheries deal to the public.“[N]ot being a state-to-state agreement, but a protocol between private sectors and companies, we are bound to an obligation of confidentiality and private business secrecy,” Ratsiferana told Mongabay. “Have you ever seen in the press a publication of the agreement between Exxon and Aramco in the oil sector?” (Aramco, a state-owned oil company in Saudi Arabia, is notorious for its opacity.)But without a governmental mandate, it’s unclear how a private association like the AMDP could sign a deal of this scope, which will require, at the very least, a series of permits from the national environment office and licenses from the fisheries ministry. In response to a question regarding the AMDP’s authority to make such a sweeping international deal, Ratsiferana said, “The reality on the ground confirms a socio-economic backwardness in Madagascar and the need of the Malagasy population is clear: a better life. The AMDP is responding to this need.”The deal has drawn a lot of attention in local media and on social-media platforms, with many observers assuming corruption was a factor, or that the AMDP sold access to the president’s office. However, there is no direct evidence for either of these claims, and the AMDP has vigorously denied them. “I have not touched a single dollar,” Ratsiferana told RFI. “Neither me, nor the AMDP, nor Hery Rajaonarimampianina. I give you my word.”The president’s office, occupied in the interim by Rivo Rakotovao, a Rajaonarimampianina ally, declined to comment for this article. The AMDP declined to provide contact information for Taihe, and Mongabay was unable to reach the Beijing-based company, which has no online presence.Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who is running for reelection in this week’s presidential elections in Madagascar, spoke in London in 2015. Image courtesy of Chatham House via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).Foreign pressure on local fisheriesGlobally, China has the world’s largest fishing fleet. Chinese fishing companies, heavily subsidized by the government, have developed a reputation for overexploiting stocks and signing deals that lack transparency, or just not signing them at all. The vast majority of fishing by Chinese vessels goes unreported, amounting to about 2.5 million tons of catch per year around Africa alone, according to a 2012 European Union report.The Chinese fishing industry already had a presence in Madagascar prior to the signing of the agreement with the AMDP. Six Chinese vessels have been trawling for demersal and pelagic fish off southwest Madagascar since October 2017, according to the fisheries ministry. Small-scale fishers in the area say they feel the impact of the trawling on their catches, even from this relatively small fleet.“We mustn’t forget that with the arrival of just six industrial fishing boats in the Toliara region this year, some communities are already struggling to make ends meet,” Hermany Emoantra, a small-scale fisher in southwest Madagascar and Mihari’s president, said in the group’s statement. “So, imagine what could happen with 330 boats — how will these people live, where will they go?”Officially, these six are the only Chinese vessels working Madagascar’s waters, but the real number is believed to be much higher. Reports in the news and from local observers indicate that a large number of Chinese ships are working there illegally, sometimes using highly destructive fishing methods and strong-arm tactics to muscle local fishers off the water.But Madagascar’s small-scale fishers also face competition beyond the Chinese, for example from domestic and foreign industrial shrimp trawling and long-line tuna fishing by vessels from South Korea, Seychelles and Europe.Indeed, civil society groups are closely scrutinizing renegotiations of an EU fishing deal with Madagascar, which is due to expire at the end of the year. Fisheries experts have criticized past deals for prioritizing the profits of private EU companies over the interests of Malagasy people, and for lacking transparency. Late last month, Mihari and TI sent an open letter to both the Madagascar fisheries ministry and the EU asking for greater transparency and more cooperation with civil society groups during this round of negotiations.The fisheries deals with both the Europeans and the Chinese will be subject to at least an implicit approval by an incoming administration, which could quash them by denying foreign companies the necessary permits or licenses. So for Malagasy fishers, as for other sectors of society, much will depend on the results of the presidential election.A fishing boat in the town of Beheloke in southwestern Madagascar. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.Banner image: A fishing boat in the town of Beheloke in southwestern Madagascar. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Rebecca Kesslercenter_img Biodiversity Hotspots, Conservation, Conservation And Poverty, Corporate Responsibility, Corporations, Developing Countries, Environment, Environmental Economics, Finance, Fish, Fishing, Governance, Green, Marine Animals, Marine Conservation, Marine Ecosystems, Oceans, Poverty last_img read more

Owensville man reported missing found safe

first_imgEARLIER STORY: Authorities are asking you to keep an eye out for a missing eastern Missouri man.The endangered silver advisory says 77-year-old Alfred Dressing was last seen on a red Polaris UTV at about 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon near his home in Owensville.Dressing is 6’0″, 230 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. He was wearing a black t-shirt, navy shorts, and black slip-on shoes. He’s had several strokes.(This story was last updated at 5:59 a.m. Tuesday.) UPDATE: Authorities said on Monday that Dressing had been found safe.last_img read more

Myanmar replaces general in charge of Rakhine state

first_imgMyanmar’s army has replaced the general in charge of Rakhine state following a military crackdown that has driven more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims into neighbouring Bangladesh amid reports of mass rape, torture and other crimes against humanity.No reason was given why major general Maung Maung Soe was transferred from his post as the head of Western Command in Rakhine, where Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, launched a sweeping counter-insurgency operation in August.“I don’t know the reason why he was transferred,” major general Aye Lwin, deputy director of the psychological warfare and public relation department at the defense ministry, told Reuters. “He wasn’t moved into any position at present, he has been put in reserve.”The move comes ahead of visit on Wednesday by US secretary of state Rex Tillerson who is expected to deliver a stern message to Myanmar’s generals, over whom national leader Aung San Suu Kyi, criticised in the West for failing to halt the atrocities, has little control.Senators in Washington are pressing to pass legislation imposing economic and travel sanctions targeting the military and its business interests.Leaders of Asian nations meeting in Manila on Monday skirted around the mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims, disappointing human rights groups who were hoping for a tough stand on the crisis.Maung Maung Soe’s transfer was ordered on Friday and brigadier general Soe Tint Naing had been appointed as the new head of Western Command. Soe Tint Naing’s previous role was as a director for logistics.A senior UN official has described the army’s actions in Rakhine as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing. Myanmar says the clearance operation was necessary for national security after Rohingya militants attacked 30 security posts and an army base in the state on 25 August.On Sunday, another UN official accused Myanmar’s military of conducting organised rape and other crimes against humanity, and said she would raise the matter with the International Criminal Court in the Hague.“When I return to New York, I will brief and raise the issue with the prosecutor and president of the ICC whether they (Myanmar’s military) can be held responsible for these atrocities,” Pramila Patten, special representative of the secretary-general on Sexual Violence in Conflict, said in Dhaka.“Sexual violence is being commanded, orchestrated and perpetrated by the Armed Forces of Myanmar, otherwise known as the Tatmadaw,” Patten said following a three-day tour of the Rohingya refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh.“Rape is an act and a weapon of genocide,” she said.Refugees have accused Myanmar soldiers and Buddhist vigilantes of torching their villages, murdering their families and raping women.Patten said brutal acts of sexual violence had occurred in the context of collective persecution that included the killing of adults and children, torture, mutilation and the burning and looting of villages.“The forms of sexual violence we consistently heard about from survivors include gang-rape by multiple soldiers, forced public nudity and humiliation, and sexual slavery in military captivity. One survivor was in captivity for 45 days by the Myanmar army,” Patten said.last_img read more

Alapan becomes Additional Chief Secy of MSMET dept

first_imgKolkata: In a major reshuffle in the IAS cadre in Bengal, Alapan Bandyopadhyay has become the Additional Chief Secretary of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Textiles department.An IAS officer of the 1987 batch, Bandyopadhyay was the Additional Chief Secretary of the Transport department. He became the Additional Chief Secretary of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Textiles department replacing Rajiva Sinha, who has become the Additional Chief Secretary of the Health and Family Welfare department.It may be mentioned that MSME is one of the thrust areas of the state government and Bengal is one of the leading states in the country in this sector. The Bengal government is taking several steps to sustain the growth in the sector, which is why a senior IAS officer like Bandyopadhyay has been chosen as the Additional Chief Secretary of the department.Bhagwati Prasad Gopalika, who was the Principal Secretary of the Animal Resource Development department, has now become the Principal Secretary of the Transport department. Anil Verma has become the Principal Secretary of the Animal Resource Development department, who was posted as Principal Secretary of the Health and Family Welfare department.Principal Secretary of Panchayat and Rural Development department Ajit Ranjan Bardhan has been given the additional charge of State Mission Director and CEO of State Rural Livelihoods Mission.An IAS officer of the 1990 batch, Subrata Biswas, who was the Principal Secretary of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), has become the Principal Secretary of the Mass Education Extension and Library Services department, replacing Anoop Kumar Agarwal, who has become the Principal Secretary of the Self Help Group and Self Employment department.Meanwhile, Choten Dhend-up Lama, who was secretary of Self Help Group and Self Employment department, has become the Principal Secretary of GTA.last_img read more

By Cutting Out Content Providers Is Aereo Gaming the System

first_img The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a potential landmark case later this month that could determine the future of TV broadcasting and copyrights in America. A New York-based tech startup called Aereo is under fire for streaming live television content on the internet, seemingly exploiting a loophole in copyright law that allows it to “broadcast” without having to pay retransmission fees, as every other TV service provider does. Regardless of whether Aereo’s business model is technically legal, it’s anti-competitive and dangerous for entrepreneurs, innovators and consumers alike.Over-the-air broadcasters — including CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, Fox and the CW — make their programming available for free through broadcast signals, which home antennas within the range of a local affiliate station can pick up. For decades, this was the only avenue through that Americans could watch television, and although millions still use an antenna, the majority of Americans now pay for cable or satellite service. Cable and satellite companies pay broadcasters and their local affiliates fees in exchange for permission to retransmit their content.Related: Aereo to Supreme Court: Our Streaming TV Service ‘Falls Squarely Within the Law’For years, consumers could either watch antenna TV for free or pay for cable or satellite service, but Aereo is among a group of entrepreneurial services expanding the market by creating additional options. The company live-streams broadcast TV on the internet, and charges customers $8 per month for access. Under most circumstances, this would be blatant piracy, but Aereo cleverly exploits a loophole by assigning each of its customers a miniature antenna at its headquarters. The $8 fee allows customers to “lease” the antenna from Aereo, which converts the antenna signal into a digital stream and sends each customer the content from “their” antenna, effectively selling broadcast TV without paying for it.Each step in Aereo’s process is arguably legal — federal judges have offered differing opinions on the matter — but the sum of parts is an anti-competitive business practice that cuts corners instead of fairly compensating the creators who make TV programming happen. Exploiting loopholes isn’t entrepreneurship — it’s a fly-by-night tactic that leaves a business prone to collapse should that loophole ever be fixed. The entrepreneurs behind Aereo deserve credit for trying to create a new way to deliver television service, but their decision to take the work and creativity of others — specifically, TV shows funded by the broadcasting companies — without paying compensation is indefensible.Aereo isn’t the only company experimenting with ways to make television better — services such as Hulu Plus, Netflix, iTunes and Amazon Prime all offer access to TV shows for a similar monthly price, and paid services MLB.tv and WatchESPN offer live sports content. But unlike Aereo, these services worked with broadcasters from the beginning and agreed to pay retransmission fees. The growth of Hulu, Netflix and their competitors has been a win-win for all parties involved — consumers have more options, entrepreneurs succeed, and broadcasters are compensated — but Aereo missed its opportunity to join in this success by opting to game the system, not work with it.Related: Aereo Just Raised $34 Million to Expand 50 Percent in Next 3 MonthsTelevision programming is a form of intellectual property, and a program — whether a scripted show such as a sitcom or a live news or sports broadcast — belongs to its producer, who sells the program’s rights to a broadcaster. That broadcaster holds exclusive rights to distribute the product, and cable and satellite companies must pay the broadcaster in order to stream the program. If producers and broadcasters don’t have avenues to recoup their investments and profit off their creative content, they’ll have little incentive to continue innovating.It’s one thing to copy a business model and build off a great idea to make it better. It’s another to blatantly copy a digital product and sell it as your own to consumers.The entrepreneurs behind Aereo can’t be faulted for trying to make television more consumer friendly, but they made the fatal mistake of trying to reproduce the work of others for a quick buck instead of building something original and sustainable.Now, instead of being on a path to long-term growth, Aereo’s fate hinges on the outcome of a Supreme Court case that could force it to shut down. A win for Aereo would be a loss for everyone else, weakening IP protections and opening the door for more firms to bend the rules and profit off the creativity of others.Related: Aereo to Broadcasters: Bring It On Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now » 4 min read April 2, 2014 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.last_img read more