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Sale of seal meat to China thwarted by anti-hunt activists: fisheries minister

HALIFAX - A trade agreement to sell Canadian seal meat in China announced more than three years ago has been largely thwarted by animal rights activists, federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea says. Shea announced the deal in January 2011 in Beijing, saying that gaining access to the world's most populous country would breathe new life into an industry crippled that year by a new European ban on seal products. At the time, representatives of the Canadian sealing industry said a cache of seal meat had already been packaged and was ready for shipment to China.

Fish losing survival instinct in acidic oceans

Fish are losing their survival instinct -- even becoming attracted to the smell of their predators -- as the world's oceans become more acidic because of climate change, new research said Monday. The study of fish in coral reefs off the coast of Papua New Guinea -- where the waters are naturally acidic -- showed the animals' behaviour became riskier. "Fish will normally avoid the smell of a predator, that makes perfect sense," lead author Professor Philip Munday from Australia's James Cook University told AFP.

Taiwan, Japan fishing associations sign search-and-rescue deal

Taiwanese and Japanese fishing associations signed an agreement on search-and-rescue operations at sea on Thursday, the first nongovernmental fishery pact between Taiwan and Japan, according to fishing authorities. The Fisheries Agency said in a statement that Huang Yi-cheng, head of the National Fishermen's Association, inked the deal with Toshiro Shirasu, president of the Japan Fisheries Association, in New Taipei City, northern Taiwan.

Canadian minister challenges moral basis of European seal product ban

GENEVA - Canada's northern development minister says it was wrong for the World Trade Organization to uphold a European Union ban on seal products based on moral grounds. Leona Aglukkaq says she made that argument today in a presentation to the WTO in Geneva. Canada and Norway are in the process of appealing a landmark WTO dispute-settlement ruling, which concluded that while the ban undermines fair trade, the restrictions can be justified on "public moral concerns" for animal welfare.

Global powers sign declaration on sustainable fishing

Officials from some of the world's top fishing powers signed a declaration in Greece on Friday to promote sustainable management of fish stocks. The signatories -- the EU, United States, Japan, Philippines, Colombia and Indonesia -- pledged to support measures to address fishing overcapacity. These include developing international fishing vessel records, limiting the number of licenses and vessel tonnage and eliminating fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.

Cambodia's floating villages face uncertain future

Cambodia's floating villages have adapted to the ebb and flow of Southeast Asia's largest lake for generations, but modernisation and a scarcity of fish are now threatening their traditional way of life. Houses, schools, hairdressers and even dentists -- entire communities bob around on the Tonle Sap, whose waters rise and fall dramatically with the seasons. The huge lake, nourished by the mighty Mekong river, is home to hundreds of thousands of people eking out a simple -- but for many rewarding -- existence.

Newfoundland and Labrador funds campaign to promote seal industry

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Newfoundland and Labrador is funding an awareness campaign aimed at seal industry "misconceptions" ahead of a World Trade Organization appeal — support animal rights groups say is a misuse of public funds. Fisheries Minister Keith Hutchings said Tuesday the province will give $60,000 to the Seals and Sealing Network, an industry group that's leading the campaign. He said it's part of ongoing efforts to support the commercial hunt as hearings for Canada's appeal of a WTO ruling are set for March 17-19 in Geneva.

S. Korea's fishery output shrinks 0.9 pct in 2013

SEJONG, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's fishery output inched down last year from a year earlier as stricter fishing regulations, low water temperatures and red tide in coastal areas hampered catch, data showed Thursday. Production of fisheries amounted to 3.16 million tons last year, down 0.9 percent, or 28,000 tons, from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea. The output is valued at 7.2 trillion won (US$6.7 billion) last year, which is also down 6 percent from 2012 when Korea registered 7.69 trillion won.

Ottawa files appeal of World Trade Organization ruling on EU seal products ban

OTTAWA - Ottawa has filed its appeal of a World Trade Organization ruling that says aspects of Europe's ban on importing seal products undermine fair trade but can be justified on "public moral concerns" for animal welfare. The WTO decision in November was hailed by opponents of Canada's commercial seal hunt, who called it a landmark victory even though it said there were inconsistencies with the ban. The ruling said exemptions under the EU ban for aboriginal hunts and those conducted to manage seal populations weren't being fairly applied.

Scientists seek cause of catastrophic fish kill in Nevada lake

By Laura Zuckerman (Reuters) - Biologists scrambled on Thursday to unravel the mystery behind a massive fish kill in a popular manmade lake in Nevada that draws thousands of anglers each winter for prized game fish such as trout. More than 100,000 stocked fish such as bass and catfish are estimated to have perished in the lake in the northern city of Sparks in recent weeks in an unprecedented die-off that has destroyed the entire fishery, said Chris Healy, spokesman for the state Department of Wildlife.
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