PEMSEA E-Update for July 2018

The second half of 2018 brings you the July edition of PEMSEA’s E-Update! We are currently evaluating the challenges and pressures facing the Seas of East Asia in the near future, and would appreciate your input via a short survey. For a look at the near past, feel free to look through our Annual Report 2017, which was released this month. Also included in this newsletter is an initial summary of our recent Ocean Leadership Roundtable, as well as reports on two Philippine projects PEMSEA is involved with. In between newsletters, follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@PEMSEA) for the latest updates.

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Your Insights are Needed on Future Issues Impacting the Seas of East Asia

East Asia faces a number of complex challenges and pressures that will affect the health of its shared seas in the coming years. PEMSEA has embarked upon a project to better understand the issues and trends that could impact the future of coasts and oceans in the region beyond 2020. We invite you to share your thoughts through a brief 2-question survey. Your insights will help to inform a report on Post-2020 Futures for the Seas of East Asia, targeted for release in late 2018.


PEMSEA holds a dialogue on the future of the Seas of East Asia beyond 2020

On 26 July PEMSEA organized an Ocean Leadership Roundtable Dialogue which aimed to map out the prospects and outlook for the coasts and oceans of the East Asian region beyond 2020. A panel of influential thought leaders in the fields of economics and finance, coastal and ocean governance, and marine science led the discussions towards developing ambitious and transformative actions to secure the region’s healthy oceans, people, and economies.

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Available now: PEMSEA Annual Report 2017

PEMSEA’s Annual Report for 2017 is now available on our website. Notable actions in 2017 include strengthening SDS-SEA implementation through the codification of integrated coastal management (ICM) at national levels, promoting the blue economy, raising awareness on innovative financing, and working on programmatic, operational, and financing options to ensure PEMSEA’s sustainability.

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Report: DOTR Focus Group Meeting on Blue solutions for reducing maritime transport GHG emissions through increased energy efficiency of ship, port and truck activities

This July PEMSEA hosted a focus group led by the Philippine Department of Transportation (DOTR), title “Blue solutions for reducing maritime transport GHG emissions through increased energy efficiency of ship, port, and truck activities”. Participants shared strategies and ideas for reducing the emissions impact of the entire maritime shipping supply chain in the Philippines.

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The Last Straw Katipunan: encouraging sustainability in Loyola Heights

PEMSEA, together with Sip PH and other partners, supports “The Last Straw Katipunan” campaign, which aims to reduce plastic use in establishments on the busy Katipunan Avenue. Its initial aim is to reduce plastic straw use, which could serve as the first step in creating sustainable solutions for the area.

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From the News section
Biodiversity

Super-rare giant sponge discovered in seahorse hotspot in Cambodia
A Neptune’s cup sponge has been found in Cambodia’s Koh Rong National Marine Park. Once thought extinct, this species was rediscovered in 2011 – after more than 100 years – when live specimens were discovered off Singapore. This unexpected find is the first record of the species in Cambodia, and highlights the importance of the newly declared marine park, which supports biodiversity and local communities.

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Nature retention, not just protection, crucial to maintaining biodiversity and ecosystems
Current conservation goals, such as those in the Aichi Targets, focus on the amount of space dedicated as wildlife preserves. A new paper argues that conservation targets should additionally have goals focused on the state of the natural environment, taking into account aspects of the protected area including water quality, carbon sequestration, and level of biodiversity. Such aims would better preserve ecosystem health and the provision of ecosystem services.

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Communities in Sarangani Province, Philippines, give endangered sea turtles a new life
The beaches of Saragani province, which faces the Celebes sea on the southern end of the Philippines, have long provided nesting grounds for multiple sea turtle species. In the past, turtle meat and eggs formed part of the diet of local communities, but this has changed due to growing awareness of both the legal repercussions hunting of turtles and the precarious situations turtle populations face. Local communities now play a key role in ensuring the conservation of the turtles they share the beaches with.

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Climate change

Mangroves and their deforestation may emit more methane than we thought
While mangroves have a well-deserved reputation for sequestering carbon into the soil, some of this carbon is converted into methane and released back into the atmosphere by archaea. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and in one study these emissions offset carbon sequestration by an average of 20%. These emissions are increased when sediment is disturbed during logging, adding a further impact to mangrove clearance.

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DENR turns over climate change, disaster risk cluster roadmap for 2018-2022 to Philippine President
A cross-department group of 20 government agencies of the Philippines has created a roadmap to handle climate change adaptation and mitigation over the next four years. It has four objectives: “(1) increasing adaptive capacities of vulnerable communities; (2) ensuring adequate supply of clean air; (3) increased resilience of critical infrastructure; (4) enhanced knowledge, access to information, and institutional capacities.”

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Japan heatwave kills 65 in one week, classified as natural disaster
A heatwave in Japan has been declared a natural disaster following a week with the highest number of heatstroke incidents since records began in 2008. The heatwave has so far resulted in at least 80 deaths and 35,000 hospitalizations, and is exacerbating the impact of flooding that occurred in early July.

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Heat is causing problems across the world
This summer has seen unprecedented heatwaves throughout the northern hemisphere, bringing with them record temperatures, wildfires, and human tragedy. Global temperatures have risen an average of 1°C from pre-industrial times. As this increases, such extreme heatwaves will become more common.

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Marine pollution

Researchers race to make bioplastics from straw and food waste
Bioplastics, derived from materials such as food waste and wood chip, result in fewer emissions and degrade faster than traditional plastic, made from oil. Many companies are trying to generate more of this plastic, but its adoption is limited by its higher cost.

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Solution to ocean’s plastic waste problem “starts with product design”
To create a circular economy product design needs to include thought towards the end of a product’s life. The proliferation of different plastic products makes recycling overly complex. With only 10% of plastic products being recycled, there is vast room for improvement.

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Plastic straws aren’t the problem
Campaigns against plastic straws are spreading across the world, but eliminating such straws will barely make a dent in plastic pollution. The primary contributor to marine plastic pollution is fishing gear, especially nets. A better system for managing fishing gear would do far more to solve the plastic problem than eliminating plastic straws.

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Ocean governance

Giving mangroves a voice: one man’s mission to protect the future of Bahak Indah, Indonesia
The restoration of mangroves along the coast of Bahak Indah in Indonesia has been largely driven by one man: Samsuri. Samsuri began planting and tending to mangroves in 1998. His success eventually drew the support of local government, which had failed in their own replanting efforts due to a lack of maintenance after the trees were planted.

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DENR launches anti-trash campaign in Bulacan town, Philippines
The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) launched two anti-plastic campaigns in the town of Bocaue. “Adopt an Estero” focuses on cleaning up waterways that drain into Manila Bay, while “Refill Revolution” focuses on promoting reusable bottles for liquids such as cooking oil and food condiments.

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Draft mining regulations insufficient to protect the deep sea
The IUCN has issued a report noting that regulations for deep sea mining being produced by the International Seabed Authority are insufficient to ensure the protection of unique and often undiscovered deep-sea ecosystems. They say an effective regulatory framework must be based on high quality environmental impact assessments and mitigation strategies, which must be based on comprehensive baseline studies. Current knowledge is insufficient to generate such documents.

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Blue economy

One in three fish caught never makes it to the plate
A new FAO report states that 35% of all caught fish are never eaten, due to either being thrown back into the ocean or rotting after capture. At the same time, a third of fisheries are now overfished, while demand for fish continues to increase.

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Pushing Vietnam’s shrimp industry toward sustainability
Intensive shrimp farming techniques in Vietnam involve completely clearing land of vegetation in order to maximize shrimp pond area. While this raises yields in the short-term, it reduces nutrients in the soil and exposes the land to the weather, leaving farmers at high risk. To counter deforestation, erosion, land subsidence, and rising salinity levels, the Vietnamese government is promoting integrated shrimp farming, which helps the environment and provides a more stable income.

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Circulate Capital launches new venture to invest in solutions to ocean plastic
A new investment firm focused on financing solutions to plastic pollution and developing the circular economy in southeast Asia launched this July. Circulate Capital developed out of the Closed Loop Ocean project, whose members include PEMSEA.

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Mobile app to help Pinoy fishermen document, measure catch
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Manila-based Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise Inc. (FAME) have launched an app to help Philippine fishermen trace and document their catch, which will enable their access to new markets. The app is being initially rolled out in Sarangani Province.

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