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In hope of a plastic waste-free island
NEW DELHI, India, 12 November 2018 (DTE) - Although Zanzibar is cashing in on tourism, it is also battling plastic menace in the form of litter consisting of discarded water bottles and toiletries.

Marshall Islands leader survives no-confidence motion
MAJURO, Marshall Islands, 12 November 2018 (AFP) - President Hilda Heine narrowly survived a vote of no confidence Monday, seeing off a challenge she alleges was orchestrated by Chinese-backed business interests intent on undermining the Pacific nation's sovereignty.

Large ocean states pave the way to the 2030 Agenda
APIA, Samoa, 11 November 2018 (UNDP) - SIDS communities have long been blessed with vast ocean and island resources, inspiring rich heritages and cultures. But this geography also exposes them to common challenges, vulnerabilities, indebtedness and dependencies that make their paths towards sustainable development even more complex.

Study reveals record cruise tourism expenditures in the Caribbean
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, 11 November 2018 (Caribbean News Now) - The Florida-Caribbean Association, the trade group representing the mutual interests of the cruise industry and destinations and stakeholders in the Caribbean and Latin America, has announced that the 2017-2018 cruise year brought record economic contributions to the region, despite the historic hurricane season.

New dawn for Mergui Archipelago tourism
BANGKOK, Thailand, 11 November 2018 (Asia Times) - Few have heard of the Mergui Archipelago, and even fewer have managed to visit the 400km string of scattered islands in the Bay of Bengal’s Andaman Sea.

Concerns raised about the future of the smaller Shetland islands
ABERDEEN, UK, 10 November 2018 (P&J) - Island leaders have voiced concerns about the populations of the smaller Shetland islands as it emerged a major employer is offering relocation packages that could encourage people to move away.

Haiti may lose all primary forest by 2035
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 9 November 2018 (Mongabay) - Analysis of satellite imagery and aerial photographs indicate that all of Haiti’s remaining primary forest will disappear in less than two decades if current deforestation rates continue.

Tons of debris removed from remote Northwestern Hawaiian islands
HONOLULU, Hawaii, 9 November 2018 (HawaiiNewsNow) - Another massive cleanup in the Pacific yielded 82 tons of trash from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

Atlantic tuna species threatened by record levels of overfishing
DUBROVNIK, Croatia, 9 November 2018 (WWF) - A €12 million annual trade in illegal bluefin tuna recently uncovered in the Mediterranean and the dramatic overfishing of tropical tunas, pushing populations at risk of collapse, underline the need for serious action by the EU and tuna fishing nations at the ICCAT meeting in Croatia.

In West Papua's Arfak Mountains, local leaders plot ecotourism boom
MANOKWARI, Indonesia, 9 November 2018 (Mongabay) - High in the northwestern mountains of Indonesia’s West Papua province, the newly established Pegunungan Arfak district has a bold idea: Its leaders hope to achieve economic prosperity through conservation and ecotourism rather than selling off their land to mining and plantation companies.

Study tracks severe bleaching events on a Pacific coral reef
CAPE COD, US, 9 November 2018 (SPX) - A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has uncovered the history of bleaching on Jarvis Island, a tiny, unpopulated coral reef island 1,400 miles south of Hawaii, revealing how some corals have been able to return after facing extreme conditions.

African islands send SOS as climate change worsens health
SYDNEY, Australia, 9 November 2018 (SMH) - African island states say they need more help to cope with the health impacts of climate change, from worsening nutrition to a resurgence in mosquito-borne disease.

Marshall Islands president faces no-confidence vote
LONDON, UK, 9 November 2018 (Guardian) - The Marshall Islands’ president, Hilda Heine, says accusations that she is destroying the country’s financial reputation by adopting a cryptocurrency are “baseless” and her opponents are being unduly influenced by pressure from China.

Timor-Leste: With sacrifice and ceremony, tribe sets eco rules
BIACOU, Timor-Leste, 8 November 2018 (Mongabay) - On an August morning in 2012, about 150 men, women and children gathered at a sacred spot in the village of Biacou, in northern Timor-Leste. With sacrifices of a goat and a pig and the blessing of the land and sea spirits, the community inaugurated the village’s tara bandu, a customary law of the indigenous Maubere that governs how people interact with the environment.

Family life on Farquhar Atoll - The challenge of being a Sooty Tern
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 8 November 2018 (Nation) - When the South East trade wind starts sweeping the Seychelles beaches with strong and cold wind, Goëlettes Island (part of the Farquhar Atoll) gets ready to host its annual visitors.

Evicted for a showpiece project, this PNG community fights for justice
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 8 November 2018 (Mongabay) - Papua New Guinea has embarked on a surge of building projects in Port Moresby as the capital city prepares to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Artificial reef installed to help marine life around Sisters' Islands
SINGAPORE, 8 November 2018 (CNA) - The 10m-high structure made of concrete and fibreglass will help marine life settle into the protected waters around Sisters’ Islands Marine Park.

Caribbean islands vote to retain London-based appeal court
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, 8 November 2018 (AFP) - A centuries-old London body will continue to have the final say on the administration of justice in two Caribbean ex-colonies after referendums to replace it with a regional court failed to reach the requisite majorities.

Carnival Australia fined $2.1m after dumping 28,000 litres of waste
LONDON, UK, 8 November 2018 (Guardian) - Carnival Australia has been compelled to provide a “$2.1m undertaking” after spilling 28,000 litres of liquid food waste into the Great Barrier Reef’s protected waters.

Pacific Island nations fear Australia's visa changes
LONDON, UK, 8 November 2018 (Guardian) - Pacific Island nations are closely watching changes to Australia’s visa rules for visiting workers, including expansions of farm work rights for backpackers, as well as a recently announced review by New Zealand of its own regional labour scheme.

Sark Electricity to stop supplying power to island
LONDON, UK, 8 November 2018 (BBC) - Sark will be without electricity from next month, the Channel Island's sole power provider has said.

Australia ramps up Pacific spending amid China debate
LONDON, UK, 8 November 2018 (BBC) - Australia will create a multi-billion dollar fund for Pacific island nations to build infrastructure, in a move seen as a bid to counter China's influence.

Why Australia is worried about upsetting Indonesia
LONDON, UK, 7 November 2018 (BBC) - He was dumped as prime minister, relinquished his seat and insists he is now just a private citizen. Yet last week Malcolm Turnbull was in Bali, meeting senior Indonesian leaders in an attempt to calm diplomatic tensions created by the man who ousted him, Scott Morrison

Five Croatian islands picked for EU energy project
ZAGREB, Croatia, 7 November 2018 (Hina) - The Croatian islands as well as Sifnos, Greece and the Aran Islands, Ireland, have been chosen among over 2,000 islands within a call for the expression of interest by European islands in professional and technical support for planning, preparation and/or upgrade of energy transition, according to a press release issued jointly by the European Commission and the secretariat for islands.

Invasive rat on St. Paul Island evades strike team
SANTA CRUZ, US, 7 November 2018 (Island Conservation) - Conservationists continue to search for an invasive rat on St. Paul Island, Alaska after the rapid response team implements new methods for finding and tracking invasive predators.

Oldest animal painting discovered in Borneo
LONDON, UK, 7 November 2018 (BBC) - The earliest known painting of an animal has been identified in a cave on the island of Borneo. The artwork, which is at least 40,000 years old, is thought to be the oldest example of figurative painting - where real objects are depicted rather than abstract shapes.

Is the party over for Ibiza?
IBIZA, Spain, 7 November 2018 (BBC) - Last year, 3.2 million tourists visited Ibiza but when a socialist coalition took control of Ibiza's governing council in 2015, reining in tourism was central to their manifesto.  

How we wiped out invasive ant from Lord Howe Island
DARWIN, Australia, 6 November 2018 (The Conversation) - The invasive African big-headed ant was found on Lord Howe Island in 2003 following complaints from residents about large numbers of ants in buildings.

Eastern Caribbean transition to Green Economy below average
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, 6 November 2018 (Caribbean News Now) - The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) in collaboration with the Green Economy Coalition (GEC) on Tuesday released the Eastern Caribbean Green Economy Barometer 2018.

Taiwan fishermen protest over crackdown on troubled industry
TAIPEI, Taiwan, 6 November 2018 (AFP) - Fishermen and their families took to the streets in Taiwan Tuesday against what they said was an unfair crackdown on the industry which has been accused of illegal practices and human rights abuses.

Caribbean island of Mayreau could be split in two thanks to erosion
KINGSTON, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 6 November 2018 (IPS) - As a child growing up in Mayreau four decades ago, Filius “Philman” Ollivierre remembers a 70-foot-wide span of land, with the sea on either side that made the rest of the 1.5-square mile island one with Mount Carbuit. 

Billions to be gained in coral reef investment, new analysis shows
NAIROBI, Kenya, 6 November 2018 (UNEP) - Investing in coral reefs to prevent their current rate of decline could net $37b for Indonesia, $35b for Mesoamerican Reef by 2030, case studies show.

Can biodiverse Bijagos fend off evangelical threat?
LONDON, UK, 6 November 2018 (Guardian) - For centuries, traditional religious practices have preserved the sacred forests of this archipelago off the coast of Guinea-Bissau. Now missionaries are muscling in.

Japan to develop large underwater drone to monitor remote islands
KYODO, Japan, 5 November 2018 (JT) - Amid China’s military expansion and assertiveness in regional waters, Japan plans to develop a large underwater drone that will automatically navigate the ocean to collect information, a government source said Sunday.

Climate change dialogue for Caribbean to be held in Grenada
ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada, 5 November 2018 (Caribbean News Now) - The Green Climate Fund, created in 2010, is the world’s largest fund dedicated to climate finance and is an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

Local fishers oppose $2.7 billion deal opening Madagascar to Chinese
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 5 November 2018 (Mongabay) - Two months ago, a little-known private Malagasy association signed a 10-year, $2.7 billion fishing deal - the largest in the country’s history - with a group of Chinese companies that plans to send 330 fishing vessels to Madagascar.

Mining bitcoin uses more energy than Denmark
PARIS, France, 5 November 2018 (AFP) - Extracting a dollar's worth of cryptocurrency such as bitcoin from the deep Web consumes three times more energy than digging up a dollar's worth of gold, researchers said Monday.

Plans for digital currency spark political crisis in Marshall Islands
LONDON, UK, 5 November 2018 (Guardian) - The only female leader in the Pacific Islands is facing a no-confidence challenge after pushing ahead with the controversial introduction of a digital currency for the Marshall Islands.

Caribbean looks to protect its seafood from mercury
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, 5 November 2018 (IPS) - Four Caribbean countries have done an inventory of the major sources of mercury contamination in their islands, but a great deal of work still needs to be done to determine where and what impact this mercury is having on the region’s seafood chain.

New SIDS commitment to tackle effects of climate change
APIA, Samoa, 4 November 2018 (UNDESA) - Facing the increased effects of climate change, natural disasters, and the outsized impacts of global economic shocks on small economies, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) resolved to strengthen their efforts to achieve sustainable development at the conclusion of a three-day meeting that ended last week in Apia, Samoa.

Model reveals islands under threat from climate change
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 4 November 2018 (NZ Herald) - Wave-driven flooding is soon expected to make many of the world's coral-fringed coastlines uninhabitable – and now Kiwi scientists have found a way to reveal which are most at risk.

New Caledonia rejects independence
LONDON, UK, 4 November 2018 (BBC) - Voters in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia have rejected a bid for independence. Final results showed that 56.4% chose to remain part of France while 43.6% voted to leave - a tighter result than some polls had predicted.

Stop biodiversity loss or we could face our own extinction
LONDON, UK, 3 November 2018 (Guardian) - The world must thrash out a new deal for nature in the next two years or humanity could be the first species to document our own extinction, warns the United Nation’s biodiversity chief.

How did the world's smallest flightless bird get to Inaccessible Island?
NEW YORK, US, 2 November 2018 (Atlas Obscura) - The smallest flightless birds in the world, Inaccessible Island rails scurry around the vegetation, feasting on worms, berries, seeds, and invertebrates, including a flightless species of moths.

Antarctic's future in doubt after plan for marine reserve is blocked
LONDON, UK, 2 November 2018 (Guardian) - A plan to turn a huge tract of pristine Antarctic ocean into the world’s biggest sanctuary has been rejected, throwing the future of one of the Earth’s most important ecosystems into doubt.

Has Haiti lost nearly all of its forest? It's complicated
SYDNEY, Australia, 2 November 2018 (Gizmodo) - The cloud forests of Haiti's Macaya National Park are believed to carry the world's largest concentration of endemic amphibians. Island ecosystems are hotspots for biodiversity, and historically, Haiti was no different.

PNG Biodiversity and climate handbook book out
PORT MORESBY, PNG, 2 November 2018 (Post-Courier) - According to the New Guinea Binatang Research Centre deputy director Francesca Dem, the handbook is a major output of the project. “Engaging Communities and Government in Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Adaptation in Papua New Guinea”.

Two countries, one island
KHABAROVSK, Russia, 2 November 2018 (Meduza) - Located near the city of Khabarovsk, at the confluence of the Ussuri and Amur rivers, Bolshoy Ussuriysky Island has long held strategic importance for Russia. In 2004, Moscow reached an agreement with Beijing to share the island (known as Heixiazi Island to the Chinese), dividing it roughly in half.

Elderly Japanese pine for return to 'lost' northern islands
NEMURO, Japan, 2 November 2018 (CNA) - Yoi Hasegawa still remembers when armed Soviet soldiers burst into her house just days after Japan's World War II surrender and tried to drag away her teenaged sister.

Japanese island disappears, without anyone noticing
TOKYO, Japan, 2 November 2018 (Guardian) - Japan could see its territorial waters shrink near its maritime border with Russia after a tiny island off its north-east coast “disappeared”.

Islands need support to face shocking impacts of 1.5C global warming
MALE, Maldives, 1 November 2018 (CHN) - A month after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a startling report on global warming and 1.5C, policymakers are scrambling to determine how the findings should inform the next round of UN climate change negotiations that begin in Poland in early December.

Beijing opens weather stations on artificial islands
HONG KONG, 1 November 2018 (SCMP) - China opened weather observation stations on three of its artificial islands in the South China Sea on Wednesday.

New Caledonia's indigenous people fight for independence
LONDON, UK, 1 November 2018 (Guardian) - On Sunday, residents of New Caledonia will vote on their future in an independence referendum. For the locals of mining town Thio, which lies two hours east of Nouméa, that moment cannot come soon enough.

Tuvalu moving forward towards achieving global biodiversity target
APIA, Samoa, 1 November 2018 (SPREP) - The Funafuti Conservation Area was established in 1996 as the first formal conservation area in Tuvalu, the conservation area supports community livelihoods and has high conservation value as a key habitat for critically endangered and near threatened species.

The island that never stops apologising
LONDON, UK, 1 November 2018 (BBC) - Preserving social cohesion at all costs is still the bedrock of Taiwan’s social morality. Here, placing the larger clan, the society, before yourself, the individual, is key.

UK aid for wealthier overseas territories after rule change
LONDON, UK, 1 November 2018 (BBC) - British overseas territories hit by natural disasters could get access to foreign aid under plans agreed by the richest nations.

Scientists count whales from space
LONDON, UK, 1 November 2018 (BBC) - Waters north of Corsica, known as the Ligurian Sea, are a protected area for cetaceans, and the regional authorities want to understand better the animals' movements in relation to shipping to try to avoid collisions.

The questionable rewards of a visit to Inaccessible Island
NEW YORK, US, 1 November 2018 (Atlas Obscura) - It is part of Tristan da Cunha, that’s considered the most remote, isolated populated archipelago in the world, but only one of the islands is populated, and it sure isn’t Inaccessible.

Palau to ban sunscreen products to protect reefs
LONDON, UK, 1 November 2018 (BBC) - Palau is set to become the first country to impose a widespread ban on sunscreen in an effort to protect its vulnerable coral reefs.

Cook Islands leader maintains hope for global energy transition
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 1 November 2018 (RNZ) - The Cook Islands prime minister has urged the international community not to be deterred by a minority of countries reluctant to decarbonise.

Is the Arctic set to become a main shipping route?
TORONTO, Canada, 1 November 2018 (BBC) - Climate change is increasingly opening up the Northwest Passage, an Arctic sea route north of the Canadian mainland.

Oceans 'soaking up more heat than estimated'
LONDON, UK, 1 November 2018 (BBC) - The world has seriously underestimated the amount of heat soaked up by our oceans over the past 25 years, researchers say.

OECS to hold blue economy seminars in member states
CASTRIES, St Lucia, 31 October 2018 (Caribbean News Now) - Transitioning to a blue economy is critical to ensuring continued economic growth in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), given that the marine space of small island states is significantly larger than their land mass and clearly a substantial asset.

Thousands of radiated tortoises seized from traffickers in Madagascar
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 31 October 2018 (Mongabay) - Authorities in Madagascar confiscated 7,347 radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) from wildlife traffickers on Oct. 24, just months after a similar bust led to the seizure of nearly 10,000 tortoises of the same species in a nearby town.

On a tiny Finnish island, a helipad, 9 piers and the Russian military?
SAKKILUOTO, Finland, 31 October 2018 (NYT) - Retired to a tiny island in an archipelago between Finland and Sweden, Leo Gastgivar awoke early one morning to visit the outhouse in his bathrobe, only to notice two black speedboats packed with Finnish commandos in camouflage fatigues waiting in the bay near his front door.

Island communities cultivate ocean stewardship
PHILADELPHIA, US, 31 October 2018 (PBOL) - Island communities around the world have strong ties to the ocean. The seas connect people to families and neighbors, provide sustenance, drive economies, and inspire art and cultural values.

Hawaii top court approves controversial Thirty Meter Telescope
LONDON, UK, 31 October 2018 (BBC) - Hawaii's Supreme Court has approved construction of what will be one of the world's largest single telescopes, on the controversial site of Mauna Kea.

Pacific islands prepare for the UN climate negotiations
NADI, Fiji, 31 October 2018 (SPREP) -  The Pacific islands are strategising a way forward for enhanced engagement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland (COP24) this December, the most important session in international climate change negotiations since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015.

Drones to deliver vaccines in Vanuatu in world-first trial
LONDON, UK, 31 October 2018 (Guardian) - Drones carrying precious vaccines will soon be taking to the skies over Vanuatu, in a world-first trial that has the potential to revolutionise healthcare for isolated islanders in the Pacific.

Transparency for Tuna
SUVA, Fiji, 30 October 2018 (PACNEWS) - Global fish stocks are in decline, but a new tuna management scheme by the Federated States of Micronesia offers a blueprint for recovery. By working to manage half of the world’s skipjack tuna stocks sustainably, Pacific islanders are leading the way in ensuring that fish, and people, are protected for generations to come.

Paying attention to the Blue Pacific
SUVA, Fiji, 30 October 2018 (PACNEWS) - The concept of the “Blue Pacific” is an attempt to reposition Pacific Island countries as “large ocean states,” rather than “small island states.”

Marine protected areas increasing fish stocks
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 30 October 2018 (ASEAN Post) - Surrounded by severely damaged coral reefs, the fishers of Indonesia’s Seraya Besar, off the west coast of Flores, struggle to make ends meet.

$10bn pledged in new commitments to protect the world's oceans
NUSA DUA, Indonesia, 30 October 2018 (Mongabay) - Global participants in the fifth Our Ocean Conference have pledged the highest amount of funding yet for new initiatives and commitments on the protection of a combined expanse of ocean eight times the size of Alaska.

A Papua tribe makes its case for forest stewardship
BOVEN DIGOEL, Indonesia, 30 October 2018 (Mongabay) - The indigenous Kombai tribe of Indonesia’s Papua region are seeking recognition of their right to manage their ancestral lands, in a bid to thwart the encroachment of oil palm plantations in the last great expanse of unspoiled wilderness in the country.

Palm oil executives arrested in bribery scandal in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 30 October 2018 (Mongabay) - Three executives from one of Indonesia’s biggest palm oil firms were arrested over the weekend by the nation’s anti-graft agency after an employee was caught bribing politicians to kill an inquiry into water pollution and plantation licenses in Borneo.

First humans to reach Australia likely island-hopped to New Guinea
LONDON, UK, 30 October 2018 (Guardian) - The first people to arrive in Australia are likely to have sailed east from Borneo to Sulawesi and island-hopped to New Guinea, according to research.

EU renews territory funding for climate and biodiversity plans
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 30 October 2018 (RNZ) - The European Union has renewed its commitment to Pacific climate and biodiversity programmes in its overseas territories, signing an agreement for $US41 million in funding over four years.

Cypriot farmers fear no-deal Brexit may hit livelihoods
AVDIMOU, Cyprus, 30 October 2018 (AFP) - Olive farmer Andreas Fotiou steered carefully along a dusty lane in southwest Cyprus, en route from his village to nearby groves - locations that could have clashing trade regimes, post-Brexit.

Brexit blues hit Caribbean cousins
THE VALLEY, Anguilla, 30 October 2018 (AFP) - The tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla lives in harmony with neighboring Saint Martin but the borders could soon be going up in this sun-soaked paradise due to Brexit.

Tasmanian heritage forests at risk of 'catastrophic' bushfires
LONDON, UK, 30 October 2018 (Guardian) - The amount of vegetation burnt by fires caused by lightning strikes in Tasmania’s world heritage area has increased dramatically this century, according to new research led by the University of Tasmania

New Caledonia at a crossroads - again
NOUMEA, New Caledonia, 29 October 2018 (RNZ) - With a referendum on independence due on Sunday expected to confirm the status quo, the French prime minister has told the National Assembly in Paris that he doesn't “trust results proclaimed in advance”.

Seychelles launches $15 million 'blue bond' to support marine projects
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 29 October 2018 (SNA) - The blue bond, valued at $15 million over 10 years with guarantees from the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility, is to support the Seychelles’ transition to sustainable fisheries. As one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, Seychelles with an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million square kilometres, is balancing the need to both develop economically and protect its natural endowment.

Falklands in post-Brexit scenario triggers speculation and controversy
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, 29 October 2018 (MercoPress) - Britain rejected point blank the suggestion that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit will help Argentina's claim over the Falkland Islands. The Prime Minister official spokeswoman said there was no doubt Britain’s “relationships” with all of its overseas territories would remain in place after March 2019.

Sulawesi fishermen take the fight to blast fishing
LAMBANGAN, Indonesia, 29 October 2018 (Mongabay) - Two villages on Sulawesi’s eastern peninsula have responded to the lack of enforcement on blast fishing by declaring their own marine protected areas. The zones are now being patrolled by local fishing groups, but the province needs to sign off on them before legal action can be taken against violators.

Crypto investors flocking to 'Blockchain Island' Malta in droves
VALLETTA, Malta, 29 October 2018 (Forbes) - Malta has recently earned the name “Blockchain Island”, being the first jurisdiction in the world to adopt blockchain regulations - three in fact.

A massive cull of iguanas begins in the Cayman Islands today
LONDON, UK, 29 October 2018 (Metro) - A huge cull is taking place today that could see more than 1.6 million iguanas being killed in the Cayman Islands in a bid to protect the native Grand Blue iguana which is being overrun by the more nimble green version which is breeding at a catastrophic rate.

Sustainable coastal fisheries in the Pacific
CANBERRA, Australia, 29 October 2018 (IPS) - The sprawling informal community of Lord Howe Settlement, in Solomon Islands’ capital city of Honiara, lies along the Mataniko River. The piped sewerage system in the capital does not extend to unplanned settlements as waste, especially untreated sewage, has become a dire threat to coastal waters and their fisheries.

Inside the daring plan to map every coral reef from space
WASHINGTON, US, 29 October 2018 (NatGeog) - Coral reefs are the rain forests of the ocean. They are beacons of biodiversity that house a quarter of all marine species and provide food and livelihoods to more than half a billion people worldwide.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman appointed
LONDON, UK, 29 October 2018 (Guardian) - The Australian government has appointed marine scientist Ian Poiner as the new chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, days after a dire new forecast for coral bleaching was issued.

Scientists to explore new sites in Puerto Rico, USVI waters
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, 29 October 2018 (AP) - Scientists will explore new sites in deep waters surrounding Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to learn more about coral and fish habitats as part of a 22-day mission led by the U.S. government.

World's top fishing nations to be given millions to protect oceans
LONDON, UK, 29 October 2018 (Guardian) - Politicians, marine experts and philanthropists will convene in Bali at the Our Ocean conference on Monday to agree commitments on how to address the pressures facing our oceans, including rising sea temperatures, unsustainable fishing practices, marine pollution and coral bleaching.

CARICOM Secretariat releases biodiversity management 'report card'
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, 28 October 2018 (CNN) - The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has recorded a significant milestone with the release of a report on the state of biodiversity management in the region.

US sends aid to Pacific islands devastated by huge typhoon
HONOLULU, Hawaii, 27 October 2018 (AP) - The federal government sent supplies to a U.S. territory in the Pacific that was ravaged by a super typhoon as residents of the Northern Mariana Islands dug through crumbled houses, smashed cars and fallen utility poles two days after the deadly storm.

Sri Lanka in political turmoil after PM sacked
LONDON, UK, 27 October 2018 (Guardian) - Sri Lanka’s president has issued a formal notice for Ranil Wickremesinghe to step down as prime minister and recognise his shock dismissal, in an unfolding constitutional crisis.

Timor-Leste tribes revive customary law to protect the ocean
SUCO BIACOU, Timor-Leste, 26 October 2018 (Mongabay) - Traditional laws governing the management of natural resources known as tara bandu were outlawed during the Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste. Since the country gained independence in 2002, it has been reviving the tradition in an attempt to control the exploitation of its forests and oceans.

Seabirds in the Pacific are using plastic to build nests
LONDON, UK, 26 October 2018 (NHM) - As brown boobies incorporate materials they find in the environment into their nests, research has found that the birds can act as indicators of the extent of plastic pollution in the tropics.   

Tiny Irish island to become first area with fully electric buses
DUBLIN, Ireland, 26 October 2018 (IT) - Cape Clear off the southernmost tip of Ireland is set to become the location for the first ever official pilot of fully electric public buses.

Party island of Boracay reopens
LONDON, UK, 26 October 2018 (Guardian) - The Philippines has reopened its famous holiday island of Boracay – spruced up and newly regulated after it was closed to mend decades of harm caused by unchecked tourism.

HECO seeding big plans for solar farms
HONOLULU, Hawaii, 26 October 2018 (HNN) - Hawaiian Electric Company calls it the largest infusion of renewable energy in HECO history. It’s negotiating with developers to build seven separate solar farms that will include battery storage systems. Combined they'll produce up to 260 megawatts of solar energy a day.

Hurricane largely wipes out tiny Hawaiian island
TAMPA, US, 25 October 2018 (AFP) - Marine debris teams were dispatched to assess the damage this week after a tiny, remote Hawaiian island was largely wiped off the map when a raging hurricane passed through, officials said.

CITES rejects another Madagascar plan to sell illegal rosewood
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 24 October 2018 (Mongabay) - At a meeting in Sochi, Russia, earlier this month, CITES’s standing committee rejected Madagascar’s latest plan to sell off its stockpiles of illegally harvested rosewood, largely because the plan called for local timber barons to be paid for their troves of wood.

Barbados looks beyond its traditional sugar and banana Industries
CONSETT BAY, Barbados, 24 October 2018 (IPS) - As is the case for all Caribbean islands, fishing and associated activities have been integral components of the economic fabric of Barbados for many years. And flying fish, which are common to most tropical seas, are found in the warm waters surrounding Barbados.

Will China cast its vote for Antarctica, and the planet?
LONDON, UK, 24 October 2018 (China Dialogue) - Decisions taken this week by just 24 nations and the EU could determine the future of the world’s greatest natural treasure: Antarctica, and more specifically the Southern Ocean which encircles it.

Rich in agriculture, Madagascar suffers from extreme malnutrition
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 24 October 2018 (IPS) - As much as 80 percent of Madagascar’s population of 24 million people is involved in agriculture and the country’s economy largely depends on the sector, yet 48 percent of households are faced with food insecurity according to the National Nutrition Office.

New Caledonian crows reveal 'window into the mind'
LONDON, UK, 24 October 2018 (BBC) - In a task designed to test their tool-making prowess, New Caledonian crows spontaneously put together two short, combinable sticks to make a longer "fishing rod" to reach a piece of food.

Single-use plastics ban approved by European Parliament
LONDON, UK, 24 October 2018 (BBC) - The European Parliament has voted for a complete ban on a range of single-use plastics across the union in a bid to stop pollution of the oceans.

Study warns of dire ecological, social fallout from Sumatran dam
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 23 October 2018 (Mongabay) - A new study warns that the environmental impact of a planned hydroelectric plant in Sumatra’s unique Leuser Ecosystem will be much greater than initially thought.

Fighting climate change with forecasting in the Comoros
NAIROBI, Kenya, 23 October 2018 (UNEP) - The children playing in the school grounds in Diboini, a hilly central area of the Comoros’ main island, pay no attention to the gated area housing unremarkable-looking metal structures.

How one small island showed us how to save our oceans
LONDON, UK, 23 October 2018 (Guardian) - In just 10 years, the Isle of Man has rid its beaches of plastic and earned Unesco status as a world leader in ocean protection. So how did it do it?

New survey for Seychelles Grand Police Bay area
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 23 October 2018 (SNA) - A new survey is being undertaken at the Grand Police beach to assess the biodiversity of fauna and flora as well as define protection and conservation measures for the area.

Palawan's hidden tourism gems yet to be uncovered by many
MANILA, Philippines, 23 October 2018 (Manila Bulletin) - Tagged as the Philippine’s ‘last ecological frontier,’ the island of Palawan frequently makes it to the list of “best islands of the world” by international travel magazines due to its exceptional scenic views.

'Super-sized' mice threaten seabird colonies with extinction
LONDON, UK, 22 October 2018 (BBC) - Super-sized mice are killing millions of seabird chicks on a remote island in the South Atlantic, threatening some rare species with extinction.

Cuban women in forefront of the struggle against climate change
HAVANA, Cuba, 21 October 2018 (IPS) - When people ask marine biologist Angela Corvea why the symbol of her environmental project Acualina, which has transcended the borders of Cuba, is a little girl, she answers without hesitation: “Because life, care, attachment, the creative force of life lie are contained in the feminine world.”

Climate change: Nauru's life on the frontlines
WOLLONGONG, Australia, 21 October 2018 (The Conversation) - International perceptions of the Pacific Island nation of Nauru are dominated by two interrelated stories. Until the turn of the century, it was the dramatic boom and bust of Nauru’s phosphate mine, and the mismanagement of its considerable wealth, that captured global attention.

Albatrosses to spy out illegal fishing
CHIZE, France, 20 October 2018 (AFP) - Between November and March, 150 albatrosses, from the remote French southern Indian Ocean islands of Crozet, Kerguelen and Amsterdam, will be equiped with tiny beacons which will automatically detect radar signals put out by ships they meet at sea.

Date set for mega Hong Kong-China bridge opening
HONG KONG, 19 October 2018 (AFP) - The world's longest sea bridge, connecting Hong Kong, Macau and the Chinese mainland will open to traffic next Wednesday, officials said, after complaints about the secrecy surrounding the project.

Real-time plantation map aims to throttle deforestation in Papua
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 18 October 2018 (Mongabay) - The developers of a new interactive map hope to shine a light on deforestation in Indonesia’s easternmost region of Papua, where industrial-scale agriculture threatens one of the world’s last great expanses of untouched tropical forest.

On this matriarchal European island, ancient customs thrive
WASHINGTON, US, 18 October 2018 (NatGeog) - A four-hour ferry ride off the coast of Estonia, the sunlit conifers and coastal meadows of Kihnu Island rise gently from the Baltic Sea.

Chinese demand fuels Solomon Islands mass deforestation
LONDON, UK, 18 October 2018 (Global Witness) - Forests are being felled at an unsustainable rate in the Solomon Islands to meet surging demand for timber from China, according to a new investigation by environmental group Global Witness.

Satellite monitoring could help curb illegal fishing in shark sanctuaries
WASHINGTON, US, 17 October 2018 (UPI) - When scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara set out for the Marshall Islands, they intended to monitor the movements of grey reef sharks inside a supposed shark sanctuary. Instead, the team ended up surveying illegal shark fishing.

Humans may have colonized Madagascar later than thought
CANBERRA, Australia, 17 October 2018 (SPX) - New archaeological evidence from southwest Madagascar reveals that modern humans colonized the island thousands of years later than previously thought.

Caribbean nations pay steep price for climate change
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, 16 October 2018 (IPS) - Although their contribution to global warming is negligible, Caribbean nations are bearing the brunt of its impact. Climate phenomena are so devastating that countries are beginning to prepare not so much to adapt to the new reality, but to get their economies back on their feet periodically.

Drug trafficking at sea is devastating island states, ministers say
LONDON, UK, 16 October 2018 (Guardian) - Ministers from tiny island states including Palau, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati are calling for help over the “devastating” impacts of criminal networks in the fishing industry.

Orkney islands could get first electric plane service
LONDON, UK, 16 October 2018 (BBC) - The air service which includes the shortest scheduled flight in the world could start to use electric-powered planes within three years.

World's largest microgrid in Micronesia gets 30-year PPA
LONDON, UK, 15 October 2018 (Energy Storage) - The small island nation of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean has moved a step closer to having what is said to be the largest ever microgrid spanning diesel, solar and battery energy storage.

Tourism boom threatens Cham Island ecosystems
CHAM ISLANDS, Vietnam, 15 October 2018 (VNS) - A large area of sea grass on the Chàm Islands, off the coast of Hoi An, have been damaged due to the rapid increase in speed boats over the past several decades - another sign that mass tourism and unsustainable development threaten the rich ecosystem on the islands, said Director of the Chàm Islands-Hoi An MPA.

Indonesia unveils low carbon development framework
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 12 October 2018 (IPS) - Indonesia is convinced that low carbon development and a green economy are key to further boosting economic growth without sacrificing environmental sustainability and social inclusivity.

Rice safely conserved in Philippines gene bank
LONDON, UK, 12 October 2018 (BBC) - Scientists say that more than 100 thousand varieties of rice have been safeguarded for the future. Samples in the world's largest rice gene bank in the Philippines are being used to help farmers develop rice crops that can survive drought and flooding.

The Caribbean reiterates 1.5 Degrees Celsius to Stay Alive
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 12 October 2018 (IPS) - If there is one lesson that Dominican Reginald Austrie has learnt from the devastation Hurricane Maria brought to his country last September, it is the need for “resilience, resilience, resilience”.

The challenge of recycling waste in Antarctica
LONDON, UK, 10 October 2018 (BBC) - Rothera Research Station on Adelaide Island is the largest of three bases run by the British Antarctic Survey and has a laboratory, offices, workshops, accommodation, a canteen, TV rooms, a surgery, a runway and hangar for aircraft, and a wharf to receive ships.