PEMSEA E-Update for September 2018

Welcome to our September E-Update! There are just two months to go until our East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2018, which takes place from 27-30 November 2018. Exhibition registration ends this month, however online registration for individuals will continue until 30 October. One exhibition will be hosted by ACB, whom PEMSEA signed a new Letter of Cooperation with this month. In between newsletters, follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@PEMSEA) for the latest updates.

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2018 EAS Congress Exhibition booth registration ends on 30 September

The EAS Congress 2018 Environmental Exhibition will be held in the Iloilo Convention Center, Iloilo City, Philippines, from 27-29 November 2018. This exhibition is open to institutions, organizations, and groups who wish to showcase their innovations and progress on various aspects of the sustainable coastal and ocean management, not only in the East Asian Seas but around the world.

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PEMSEA and ACB sign Letter of Cooperation

PEMSEA and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity have signed a new Letter of Cooperation, extending a decade-long partnership. Areas of cooperation include national and local capacity building, knowledge transfer, and combating marine litter. ACB will be hosting an exhibition and a workshop on coastal resilience at the EAS Congress 2018 this November.

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2018 International Coastal Cleanup

On 22 September PEMSEA staff participated in the 2018 International Coastal Cleanup, helping to remove waste from a beach in Baranagay San Teodoro, Mabini, in the Batangas Province of the Philippines. This cleanup was organized by the SEA Institute, a consortium of stakeholders looking to protect the biodiverse Verde Island Passage. This on-the-ground volunteer activity is a part of PEMSEA’s commitment to the Clean Seas Pilipinas campaign, which aims to reduce and manage plastic pollution.

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From the News section
Biodiversity

Establishing Kep Marine Fisheries Management Area for improved management of marine fisheries resources in Cambodia
The Cambodian Department of Fisheries Conservation and Fisheries Administration are working together to develop a five-year management plan for the maintenance of the Kep Marine Fisheries Management Area, which was established in April. So far the area has been divided into four zones with different management aims, and over 160 concrete blocks have been deployed at key points to protect the area from illegal trawling.

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MPA design tool roll-out begins in the Philippines
A toolbox to help design MPAs has been released by Capturing Coral Reef & Related Ecosystem Services (CCRES) project, who together with University of the Philippines Diliman held a workshop to train individuals working in areas hosting critical ecosystems in the Philippines. Aside from helping place and size marine protected areas, the tools available also help show the benefits of MPAs and provide information on complementary fishing interventions.

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This colorful new seahorse is the size of a grain of rice
A new species of pygmy seahorse has been described from the shallow waters off Japan. Its name, scientific name, Hippocampus japapigu, is based off the colloquial name “Japan pig”, which it was called as locals thought it resembled a tiny pig. This species lives in shallower water than other pygmy seahorses, and has unique features. Like the others, it is smaller than a grain of rice.

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Climate change

Climate negotiations: Paris Agreement “rulebook” inches towards 2018 finish line
Negotiations held in Bangkok in early September to establish the implementation details of the Paris Agreement made limited progress, much as talks earlier in the year in Bonn similarly underachieved. Notable areas of disagreement included financing and differing levels of responsibility. The deadline for implementation details to be agreed upon is early December this year.

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Storms in America and the Pacific are evidence of climate change
The category 5 Super-typhoon Mangkhut severely damaged the northern Philippines in mid-September, killing at least 81 people, before impacting areas of southern China. Warmer oceans and higher sea levels exacerbate the strength and impact of tropical storms, which as expected to intensify as climate change continues. Despite the deaths, the disaster readiness and response of the Philippines is considered a success, as early warnings led to the sheltering of almost 200,000 people. This helped prevent a tragedy of a similar scale to 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan.

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Major companies join forces to drive climate resilience in supply chains
During the Global Climate Action Summit, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) launched the Climate-Resilient Value Chains Leaders Platform, aimed at aiding companies improve the sustainability and climate-resilience of their global supply chains. Public sector investment in climate resilience is a magnitude lower than what the UNDP estimates will be needed over the next few decades, indicating opportunities for private sector involvement.

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Marine pollution

New trial inspires women to create value from plastic waste
The Capturing Coral Reef & Related Ecosystem Services (CCRES) project successfully trialed intervention methods designed to help coastal communities recycle plastic waste. 96 women from two villages in Selayar, Indonesia, were recruited for a 4-day training workshop covering plastic waste and environmental responsibility, with the aim of encouraging independent enterprise-based solutions.

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“Diaper Brigade” fights a chemical crisis in the rivers of Java, Indonesia
In Java used disposable diapers are discarded into rivers, due to the widespread belief that burning diapers will cause babies to develop rashes. Indonesian biologist Prigi Arisandi estimates that one and a half million diapers are disposed into the Bantas river alone every day, causing chemical and plastic pollution. Prigi Arisandi leads efforts to stem such diaper disposal into rivers which in many cases remain a source of water for local households.

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Philippine House panel OKs ban on microplastics
A House of Representatives Committee has approved House Bill 8120, or the “Microplastics Ban Act of 2018”, which bans the use of microplastics such as microbeads and microfibers in products such as rinse-off cosmetics and clothing. The bill has support across government, civil society, and industry, and now will move towards consideration by the whole House.

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Ocean governance

Formal negotiations on UN high seas biodiversity pact get underway
An intergovernmental conference under UNCLOS was tasked in December 2017 with developing a legally binding instrument to manage marine biodiversity in international waters, covering the establishments of MPAs, the use of genetic resources, environmental impact assessments, capacity building, and marine technology transfer, among other topics. The first session of talks on this instrument wrapped up on 17 September. The next session will take place from March-April 2019.

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The fight against illicit fishing of the oceans is moving into space
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a long-standing issue for ocean governance, being difficult to detect and difficult to prosecute. Automatic Identification System beacons have been used to identify IUU patterns, but these beacons can be turned off. Satellites provide a new method to identify boats engaged in IUU fishing, and as satellites become cheaper, ocean monitoring will become simpler, more comprehensive, and more effective.

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A civic outcry in Malaysia forces a Chinese builder to live up to its eco-friendly tag
Real-estate developer Country Garden Pacificview began a massive land-reclamation project off the Malaysian state of Johor in early 2014, aiming to build a new eco-friendly city. Locals protested after not being informed of the initial launch, prompting construction to halt until 2015. Since then the company has adjusted its plans, invested in water-quality and restoration, supported environmental education, and provided compensation to affected fisherfolk. Construction continues, with the developers trying to live up to its eco-friendly marketing in the face of civil society scrutiny.

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Blue economy

Circulate Capital Incubator Network to accelerate ocean plastic solutions in Asia
Investment management firm Circulate Capital, which aims to reduce marine plastic pollution, together with global business accelerator SecondMuse, this month launched an Incubator Network to bring together existing waste management and recycling incubators and therefore scale up innovation development. Initial focus will be on Indonesia and India, with additional interest in Viet Nam, Thailand, and the Philippines.

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Biological bounty is the ocean’s richest treasure
Out of all the resources available from the ocean, an often overlooked one is genetic resources. There is currently no structure to govern genetic data from international waters. Nonetheless, 13,000 genetic sequences from marine species have already been patented. These are not evenly distributed, with 165 countries lacking a single marine genetic patent, and around half of these 13,000 patents being owned by a single German company.

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How connectivity in Indonesia is helping fishermen’s livelihoods
A project developed in partnership between commercial satellite operator Immarsat and the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has installed enhanced monitoring systems on 200 fishing vessels. These systems will enhance connectivity between fishing boats, as well as between fishing boats and the mainland. This improves safety at sea and allows more communication between fisherfolk and their families, while also helping the government monitor for IUU fishing.

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