Melodi Sends Euro News On World Ag Failures
PHOENIX FIVE EARTH CHANGES BULLETIN
August 31, 2003 by MW Mandeville
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ITEMS: Melodi Sends Euro News On World Ag Failures
The worldwide failures in agriculture and fisheries which are revealed in the report below suggest STRONGLY, that a major depressionary wave is now rolling through most rural areas. This is awsomely parallel to the droughts which rolled through the Great Plains states during the 1930's during the Great Depression. They are not unrelated. People in cities forget that the beginning of all economic reality is in ON THE FARM. The shrinkage of production will induce a depressionary wave through all economic structures. This suggests that the current 2003 "recovery bubble" is likely to be short-lived.
From: Sagadis <sagadis@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2003 11:44:47 +0100
A reading of the Sunday on-line papers brings even more "cheerful" harvest news from Europe. This is from the UK Indpendent....Melodi
Hot summer sparks global food crisis By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor 31 August 2003
This summer's heatwave has drastically cut harvests across Europe, plunging the world into an unprecedented food crisis, startling new official figures show.
Separate calculations by two leading institutions monitoring the global harvest show that the scorching weather has severely reduced European grain production, ensuring that the world will not produce enough to feed itself for the fourth year in succession, and plunging stocks to the lowest level on record. And experts predict that the damage to crops will be found to be even greater when the full cost of the heat is known.
They say that, as a result, food prices will rise worldwide, and hunger will increase in the world's poorest countries. And they warn that this is just a foretaste of what will happen as global warming takes hold.
Sunshine and warmth are, of course, good for plants and there were hopes that this year's good summer would produce a bumper harvest. But excessive heat and low rainfall damage crops, and the heatwave - which brought temperatures of more than 100F to Britain for the first time, and gave France 11 consecutive days above 95F, killing more than 1,000 people - has done enormous damage.
The US Department of Agriculture has cut its forecast for this year's grain harvest by 32 million tons, mainly because of the European crop reductions. On Thursday, the International Grains Council - an intergovernmental body - reduced its own prediction even further, by 36 million tons, as a result of "heat and drought, particularly in Europe."
The damage has been most severe in Eastern Europe, which is now bringing in its worst wheat crop in three decades: in Ukraine, the harvest has been cut from 21 million tons last year to five million, while Romania has its worst crop on record. Germany is the worst-hit EU country: some farmers in the south-east have lost half their grain harvest. Official British figures will not be published until October.
The final tally of the summer's damage is likely to be worse still. Lester Brown, the president of Washington's authoritative Earth Policy Institute, predicts that it will cut another 20 million tons off the world harvest, making this a catastrophic year.
It has come at a time when world food supplies were already at their most precarious ever. The world has eaten more grain than it has produced every year so far this century, driving stocks well below the safety margin to their lowest levels in the 40 years that records have been kept. The amount of grain produced for each person on earth is now less than at any time in more than three decades.
Until about a month ago, this year had been expected to produce a reasonable harvest, allowing some recovery. But the heatwave has now ensured that it will make things even worse, and experts say that the crisis will deepen as global warming increases.
Grain prices have already increased, and Mr Brown warns that in coming years they may move to a permanently higher level. This would encourage greater production, he says, but at the expense of the world's hungry, who could then afford even less food, and of the environment, as farming intensified. 31 August 2003 11:38
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And in the Water....
Ban fishing in third of all seas, scientists say By Severin Carrell 31 August 2003
All fishing should be banned in a third of the world's oceans to reverse a catastrophic decline in fish stocks such as cod and tuna, British scientists have warned.
In a new study, they recommend that large areas of ocean, including the North Sea, around the Falklands, and the Gulf of California, should be made into legally protected marine reserves, policed by naval patrols and satellites.
The dramatic proposal - expected to be endorsed by an international conference on wildlife reserves next month - follows mounting alarm about the worldwide collapse of fish, dolphin, whale and turtle populations, and the destruction of ancient coral reefs.
Professor Callum Roberts, a marine biologist at York University and co-author of the study, said the world's oceans were now in crisis. "We've now reached the terrible and unstable state where we're fishing species so heavily that there are virtually no reproductive fish around," he said.
Last Thursday, the scale of that crisis was underlined when scientists with the Scottish Fisheries Research Service warned that North Sea cod stocks, now down to about 40,000 tonnes, were "critical" and called for fishing to be heavily restricted.
That day, Australian and South African fishery protection vessels apprehended a Uruguayan trawler after a three-week chase, for illegally catching the endangered Patagonian toothfish. Known as "white gold", the fish was thought to be worth $2m (£1.4m) on the black market.
Prof Roberts, who will address the World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, next month, said both cases underlined the need for a global network of ocean reserves, or marine protected areas, where fish stocks and coral could fully recover.
The use of modern trawlers with nets capable of reaching great depths, fishing lines that stretch for 130km and holds that can freeze thousands of tonnes of fish meant that very few oceans were left unfished, he said.
The magazine Nature reported last month that 90 per cent of large fish stocks had been removed worldwide. In areas such as the North Sea, trawlers were legally allowed to catch young fish before they could reproduce.
Prof Roberts described this practice as "crazy". "Imagine if on land we were to plough up everywhere. But we don't - we protect large areas for its landscape, for its wildlife and its inspirational value. Yet, with the sea, we're ploughing it all up ... We don't have anything like the number of protected areas necessary."
In his new report, published by the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, he and his colleague Dr Fiona Gell analysed 300 studies of 60 small marine reserves, which showed clear evidence that reserves will rebuild decimated populations.
Closing 10-15 per cent of a fishing ground for at least five years, they found, would preserve local marine life. But closing off 30-40 per cent of that area would allow fish stocks to recover to commercial levels, spilling over into the surrounding area. Far from killing off local marine industries, that would give local fleets a new lease of life.
Their case studies included a 2sq km area near the Isle of Man, where a ban on trawling and dredging has led to a sevenfold increase in scallop numbers within 11 years. In one South African reserve, Tsitsikamma National Park, seabream numbers are up between seven and 21 times compared with fishing areas nearby. In the Long Island-Kokomohua reserve in New Zealand, fish were 39 per cent bigger on average. In the Philippines, coral reef species in Apo Island reserve increased eightfold.
Dr Gell said: "Stocks typically expand between two and five times in just five years of protection. Benefits continue to grow for decades as populations of long-lived species recover."
The World Parks Congress, held every 10 years, is expected to pass a declaration calling for a substantial global network of marine reserves to be in place by 2012.
The Roberts-Gell report is the first time that scientists have made specific recommendations on the scale of marine reserves.
The UK Government has signed up to two international pledges for a network of reserves - at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa last year, and at a North Atlantic marine pollution conference in Bremen in June. And, under the Ospar pollution treaty, European governments have pledged to draw up a list of marine reserves by 2012. However, many conservationists claim that this could be too late and believe more urgent action is required.
Research by Nadia Iqbal
Close to extinction » five species that have been killed by the factory-ship load just to end up on our plates
Patagonian toothfish (Falkland Islands and Patagonian Shelf): Dissostichus eleginoides lives in the Falklands area - one of the world's richest marine ecosystems, teeming with penguins, unique seabirds, squid, whales, seals and fish.
Kemp's turtle (Gulf of California, Mexico): Lepidochelys kempi is close to extinction. Devastated by shrimp fishing, only a few hundred nest each year in the Gulf of California - the home to manta rays, whales and sharks.
Cod (North Sea): The common cod, Gadus morhua, is under severe threat in the North Sea from overfishing. The central North Sea's coral reefs are a crucial home and spawning ground for marine life. Banning fishing would allow cod, halibut and hake to recover.
Bluefin tuna (Florida coast): Due to overfishing off the US Atlantic coast Thunnus thynnus is now critically endangered. It could recover if Florida's east coast was a reserve; the area is full of marine life, including large tuna, swordfish and Olive Ridley turtles.
Whale shark (Philippines): Uncontrolled hunting of rhincodon typus for meat and highly prized fins led to a global ban on its sale. It lives near the Philippines, home to the world's richest coral reefs and a "hot spot" for whales and dolphins. 31 August 2003 11:41
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