PEMSEA E-Update for November 2019

Welcome to the November PEMSEA e-update. This month saw the initiation of Phase 2 of the Arafura and Timor Seas project, which will work to improve the sustainability of these two seas. PEMSEA has also seen continued cooperation with its long-term partners in Xiamen, with the Xiamen Municipal Government being awarded a leadership award for its work in the PNLG and for ICM, and with Xiamen University collaborating with PEMSEA to hold a 7-day study tour for sustainable coastal development for PNLG and PNLC members. In between newsletters, follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@PEMSEA) for the latest updates.

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Arafura Timor Seas Partners Convened for the First Regional Steering Committee Meeting and Inception Workshop of the ATSEA2 Project

Representatives from the governments of Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and Australia, along with the PEMSEA Resource Facility and UNDP, convened for the First Regional Steering Committee Meeting and Inception Workshop of Phase 2 of the GEF/UNDP funded Arafura Timor Seas project. This ATSEA2 project will improve the sustainable development of the Arafura and Timor Seas.

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PEMSEA news story
Xiamen Municipal Government receives PEMSEA Leadership Award

PEMSEA has conferred the Xiamen Municipal Government with the Leadership Award in recognition of its valuable contribution in upholding the mission and vision of the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments for Sustainable Coastal Development (PNLG) and implementing the integrated coastal management (ICM) ICM approach for the past 25 years.

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First Sustainable Coastal Development Study Tour held in Xiamen

COMI (Xiamen University), in close collaboration with the PNLG, conducted a 7-day study tour for sustainable coastal development in Xiamen, China. Twenty-eight participants from 14 integrated coastal management (ICM) sites attended this joint PNLG-PNLC learning event held from 27 October to 4 November.

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PNLG agree to tackle marine debris

At its annual forum in Xiamen, members of the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments (PNLG) agreed to cooperate to deal with the growing challenges posed by marine debris. LGUs, especially those in the EAS region, have a significant role to play in managing such pollution.

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From the News section
Biodiversity

Seaweed, seagrass and sea temperature
Some marine seaweed and seagrass species were found to be resilient to short heatwaves of five days or fewer. This suggests such populations may be able to recover from heat waves if conditions return to normal for long enough.

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Artificial Lights at Night Hurt Corals
Coral reefs which are exposed to high levels of artificial light at night show higher oxidative stress and lower levels of photosynthesis. Blue and white lights have more of an impact than yellow lights.

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There’s a new fin whale subspecies in the North Pacific
New research has found that fin whales in the North Pacific and North Atlantic are genetically distinct, rather than a single population as previously thought. The Pacific population extends from East Asia to North America.

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Climate change

The climate chain reaction that threatens the heart of the Pacific
Warming in the North Pacific, as high as 3 degrees Celsius, is responsible in part for impacts throughout its waters, such as a 70% decrease in salmon catch off Japan over the past 15 years. Knock-on effects are expected to have a significant impact on the Japanese environment, people, and culture.

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Rising Seas Will Erase More Cities by 2050, New Research Shows
A more accurate measure of land elevation has determined that up to 150 million people live in areas that are expected to be below the high tide line by 2050. Low lying areas throughout East Asia are at risk, including southern Viet Nam, Bangkok, and Shanghai.

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Climate change: Greenhouse gas concentrations again break records
Levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide increased more than average in 2018. This acceleration of atmospheric pollution will make it harder for the world to meet the Paris Agreement targets.

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Marine pollution

In Indonesian waters, filter feeders can ingest dozens to hundreds of microplastic particles every hour
Manta rays in some Indonesian feeding grounds may consume up to 63 pieces of plastic per hour. Whale sharks may ingest up to 137. Both species feed close to the surface where plastic waste accumulates.

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A new phenomenon – realizing economic growth while cutting waste.
Waste is expected to increase by 70% by 2050, over double the rate of population growth. 93% of waste is openly burned or dumped, which in Southeast Asia is estimated to bring with it an economic cost of $375 per tonne. This is five times the cost it would cost to manage each tonne of waste. Cities in Japan provide examples of how economic growth can be decoupled from waste.

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UNEP report warns plastic policies lagging behind in South-East Asia
Limited policies and weak enforcement are exacerbating plastic pollution in South-East Asia. Harmonized pan-ASEAN policies may help the countries of the region tackle this issue.

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Ocean governance

Ban on destructive fishing practice helps species recovery in Indonesian park
The muroami fishing technique, where corals are crushed to scare out fish, was banned in Karimunjawa National Park in 2011. The following years saw a doubling in fish biomass, leading to calls for the ban to be replicated elsewhere.

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Conservation efforts saluted for success story in Bunaken Marine Park, Indonesia
Bunaken Marine Park was established in 1991. A participatory management system brings together government, the private sector, and the local community. Its success includes an attitude change towards turtles, which have increased in number.

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Need for new vision for fisheries amidst growing concerns over state of oceans
While fisheries in developed regions of the world are becoming more sustainable, fisheries in less developed regions remain unsustainable. This increasing divide threatens food sustainability and the achievement of the SDGs.

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Blue economy

Korean farm becomes first marine seaweed venture to achieve ASC-MSC certification
The first seaweed certification under new Aquaculture and Marine Stewardship Councils (ASC-MSC) standards was given to a farm in RO Korea which produces seaweed for human consumption. This follows the certification of a Japanese producer.

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Safer at sea: The unexpected benefit of traceability for small-scale fishers
New technology that allows small-scale fisheries to document the origin of their catch is both increasing the safety of the fishermen and allowing them to sell to more sustainability-conscious markets.

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Regional UN meeting reinforces need for integrated national financing frameworks to achieve the SDGs
Large gaps in the financing needed to meet the SDGs exist in many countries of the Asia-Pacific. The SDGs should be mainstreamed into economic policymaking, and regional cooperation should be strengthened.

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