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FEATURE: Mariola - Designed and built by fishermen for fishermen
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 18:10


Tom Aliotti’s new Bristol Bay gillnetter Mariola did 36 knots on sea trials. Asked the secret of getting that speed, he replied, “I’m not going to tell you my secret, except that I have fished Bristol Bay for 33 years and I use that knowledge to build boats for fishermen.”

Staying within the legally proscribed 32-foot (9.8-metre) limit for Bristol Bay gillnet boats creates a challenge that eager designers like Aliotti are happy to take on. “But it is not all about light boat speed,” he explained, “It matters to me what speed you can maintain with the weight of fish onboard and how a boat performs in weather. There are compromises to be made and I can design and build to those.”

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Is CITES failing humanity?
Monday, 17 October 2016 00:00

Two meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will always be memorable to me because of the lessons they taught every delegate and participant – and, like CoP 17, they both took place in Southern Africa.

The first was the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties held in Gaborone, Botswana in 1983. It was my first after having been appointed Secretary General of CITES and I was filled with energy and hope for the vision I had for my new role – overseeing international agreements for the sustainable utilisation of terrestrial and marine wildlife resources, in a way that never threatens their survival and is always human-centred.

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South China Sea – PCA announces ruling
Thursday, 14 July 2016 17:56

On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague delivered its long-awaited verdict on China’s claims to sovereignty over outcrops in the South China Sea (SCS).

According to the PCA, the vaguely defined “nine dash line” upon which Beijing depends heavily to justify its claims is worthless, as it has neither legal nor historic justification.

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The Benham Rise – The newest jewel in the Philippines’ crown
Tuesday, 21 June 2016 16:47

Sitting beneath the waters of the Philippine Sea, approximately 250 kilometres east of the Northern Philippine provinces of Isabela and Aurora, is the Benham Rise.

The rise is a seismically active undersea region and extinct volcanic ridge with an area of around 13 million hectares.

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‘Brexit’ case founders on uncertain future
Thursday, 09 June 2016 18:10

The votes of British fishermen are unlikely to sway the UK’s referendum result one way or the other, but their oft­voiced plight is a test case for the arguments over EU membership.

The UK could follow Norway in retaining control of its own waters, alleviating the immediate struggles of fishermen and coastal regions. But a future deal with EU neighbours would be needed and there is no guarantee of better terms.

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EU naval force facing “impossible challenge”
Thursday, 26 May 2016 16:00

Frankfurt am Main  Credit:   Brian Burnell

The establishment of the EU’s naval force in the Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) in June 2015 was not greeted with universal enthusiasm. The force, dubbed Operation Sofia, was created to deal with the influx of migrants to Europe by sea from North Africa and was charged with surveillance and intelligence gathering duties.

Many commentators, though, opined that the presence of the operation’s warships and aircraft would constitute a powerful “pull factor” for potential migrants, and that the force would become primarily a search and rescue unit.

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