Pirate fishers in the Caribbean and many new reserves created

The recent top stories from Mongabay Latam, our Spanish-language service, include a ‘pirate’ fishing vessel being welcomed in Panama, news of forestry officials indicted for illegal logging in Peru’s Amazon, and the loss of 11 protected areas in Brazil.

Disease and drugs surround uncontacted peoples of Peru’s Amazon

Infection, lack of culturally appropriate health services, the threat of illegal activities, and mafias along with mercury contamination and little state oversight are some of the problems encircling the last uncontacted peoples of Peru’s Amazon. There are at least 12 indigenous ethnic groups living in voluntary isolation or at the stage of first contact in this region.

Member of an isolated indigenous community in Peru. Image courtesy of the Watanib Amazon Socio-environmental Workgroup.

Panama welcomes ‘black-listed’ fishing boat to its ports

Panama allowed a black-listed Chinese boat known for illegal fishing into its ports, despite the country’s membership in a global fishing convention. The NGO Oceana accused Panama, China and the Cook Islands of violating commitments to norms established by the South Pacific Regional Management Organization to combat illegal fishing. In response to the accusation, Panamanian authorities initiated an investigation and called a meeting of the Inter-institutional Commission against Illegal Fishing.

According to the complaint, Panama, the Cook Islands and China all allowed the black-listed boat into their ports. Image by MarineTraffic.

No surprise: Brazil eliminates 11 protected areas in Rondonia state

It was no surprise to observers that after less than an hour of debate, the assembly of the state of Rondonia voted to eliminate 11 protected areas. Their creation took an uphill, six-month struggle between the powerful agro-industrial lobby on one side and the state government and environmentalists on the other. The result is that more than 2,300 square miles of forests and indigenous territories are now open to what some are calling the biggest land grab in recent history.

Traditional peoples in Rondonia and their way of life are threatened by a massive influx of families and cattle ranchers in search of land. Image courtesy of WWF Brazil.

Timber laundering: Forest officials indicted for illegal logging in Peru’s Amazon

Forestry officials were among the 21 people indicted by the state prosecutor in Madre de Dios for illegal logging in seven concessions designated for sustainable forestry products. Local nut producers working in the concessions say buffer area management plans are used to ‘launder’ timber above the legal limits. The endangered shihuahuaco tree is particularly prized by loggers. In 2018, around 4,000 cubic meters (141,000 cubic feet) of shihuahuaco timber were illegally extracted.

Without protection, the shihuahauco tree may go extinct in a decade. Image by Vanessa Romo for Mongabay Latam.

Many new protected areas were created around Latin America in 2018

A wetlands region with 22 lakes in Colombia’s Amazon, more than 223,000 square miles of Chile’s ocean, close to 3,400 square miles of Peruvian rainforest, and a corridor where Andean condors nest in Ecuador were among the protected areas created in Latin America last year.

Chile’s newest marine reserve is managed by a council comprised of six representatives of the Rapa Nui people and five government officials. Image courtesy of the government of Easter Island.

Read these stories in Spanish at the Mongabay Latam site here.

Banner image of a coral ‘garden’ courtesy of the government of Easter Island.

This story first appeared on Mongabay

South Africa Today – Environment

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