Tracking the Alboran – Spain
Very little is known about the critical habitat requirements of marine mammals. The lack of knowledge about distribution, reproductive cycles, migratory habits, ecological roles and so on limits the ability to develop conservation strategies. This makes marine mammals vulnerable to increased disturbance and habitat degradation. In the Alboran Sea, marine mammals are under threat. The Spanish organisation Alnitak has initiated a programme of research that aims to provide vital information for the conservation of dolphins and turtles.
Big Money for Small Fry – Bangladesh
The people of Bangladesh, especially the poor in rural areas, largely depend on fish to meet their protein needs. Several decades ago there was an abundance of fish in this country, but recently fish production from inland captures has declined. Intensive farming and agro-ecological pressures have contributed to this decline. To address the problem, farmers are being encouraged to cultivate the locally available fish species of tilapia in their rice paddy. This provides an environmentally sustainable and financially profitable alternative to existing systems.
Gift from Africa – the Philippines
Fish is already a major source of protein and other nutrients for millions of people. With rising demand putting pressure on global supply, aquaculture and farmed fish are increasingly seen as the answer. As the world population expands and fish stocks decline, the world is turning to science to explore ways of improving the supply of food for resource-poor people. In the Philippines, genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT) have been introduced to increase the productivity of the fish industry.
Weeds to Wealth – Brazil
In the coastal state of Ceará in Brazil, the cultivation, drying and selling of seaweed has been an integral part of daily life for over 30 years. The over-collection of seaweed has now, however, begun to threaten the coastal environment and ecosystem. The B-REED (Brazil Rural Energy Enterprise Development) programme has been introduced to assist a village co-operative, which has begun to cultivate seaweed in a more sustainable way. The programme has also helped improve the drying process, thereby increasing productivity and creating a final product of higher quality.
Lungfish to Lagos – Nigeria
Fish are an important source of both food and income to many people in developing countries. In Africa, as much as 5 per cent of the population – some 35 million people – depend wholly or partly on fisheries for their livelihood. While fisheries based on species that are presently exploited seem to have reached their natural limits, there is considerable potential to expand inland fisheries in Africa to improve food security. In Nigeria, the rearing of African catfish is proving to be a lucrative option for small-scale inland fisheries.
Craving for Crayfish – Armenia
The gentle turquoise waters of Lake Sevan in Armenia – the ’emerald of Armenia’ – have long been a source of awe and inspiration for Armenians. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the lake has once again given hope to those trying to survive in a new, competitive world of global capitalism. Lake Sevan is home to the crayfish, which rivals lobster for its delicacy of flavour. A local company called Aquatic has tapped into this rich resource and is now both profiting from and helping to maintain the natural ecosystem of the lake by harvesting crayfish in a sustainable way.