Conservation Report: Fighting Pirates and Front-Page Ducks

_by Bob Marshall
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Efforts Underway to Stop "Pirate Fishing"

It looks like 2012 may be the year the international fishing community begins an aggressive effort to stop "pirate fishing"--that worldwide fleet of boats operating in direct violation of the laws of their home countries, using foreign ports to unload their illegal catches. It's also known by the acronym "IUU" fishing--for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

It's a big deal; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association reports pirate fishermen haul in up to 26 million tons of seafood annually with a value possibly as high as $23 billion worldwide, posing a real threat to the future sustainability of global fisheries.

Legislation was introduced in Congress last month to implement an international agreement the United States negotiated with European nations that sets out standards for accepting commercial fish landings.

Participating countries would follow four basic obligations:

* Designating ports through which foreign fishing vessels may enter

* Conducting dockside vessel inspections in the designated ports, following established standards

* Blocking port entry and access to port services, to vessels known to or believed to have been involved in IUU fishing, particularly those on the IUU vessel list of a regional fishery management organization

* Sharing information, including inspection results, with the governments of vessels found involved in IUU fishing during an inspection.

Read more here.
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Ecosystem "Flips" Ahead**

Climate change is never a happy topic for fish and wildlife advocates, and the latest news is no exception: According to a recently published report by NASA climate change will cause 40 percent of the planet's ecosystems to experience total flips in flora and fauna communities.

That report is technical reading, but a laymen's explanation is very sobering.

Good Duck Year, but What About the Future?

Sportsmen's worries over congressional attacks on wetlands regulations and conservation programs got main stream press notice recently in The Chicago Tribune article "After banner year, duck hunters worried."

The story isn't news to regular Field & Stream readers, but such "outside the outdoors page" placement is what's needed to push this story higher profile among non-hunters.

Kudos to Kerry Luft and the Trib.