For Media

Hotels for Press
Accommodation levels in Rio de Janeiro are anticipated to be at full occupancy during the conference. While it is not the responsibility of the United Nations to procure accommodation for the media, it should be noted that the Brazilian national organizing committee for Rio+20 has committed to blocking a minimum of 500 hotel rooms in Rio de Janeiro for media covering the conference. Costs must be covered by the media. For more details, visit: http://www.rio20.gov.br For information regarding room availability please contact: Terramar Travel Agency

Emails: reservas2@terramar.tur.br or reservas4@terramar.tur.br or reservas8@terramar.tur.br

Tel: (+55+21) 35120067 or (+55+11) 30142042 or (+55+19) 35145600

Media representatives must present their approval letter and copy rio20.hoteis@itamaraty.gov.br when requesting their accommodations.

Information

Shrimp Industry Bites Hand That Feeds It
Aquaculture in "Latin America and the Caribbean showed the highest average annual growth in the period 1970-2008 (21.1 percent), followed by the Near East (14.1 percent) growth and Africa (12.6 percent)," says a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

But far from generating sustainable development, shrimp farming is destroying biologically diverse mangrove forests and estuaries in Latin America and round the world, without regard for the importance of these ecosystems for the environment and livelihoods of thousands of families who depend on fishing.

A major concern among environmentalists in Ecuador is that in 2008 the government of leftwing President Rafael Correa legalised shrimp farming in areas where it had previously been banned, under decree 1391. Today, Ecuador has 108,000 hectares of mangroves, down from 360,000 hectares in 1994. The mangrove forests are found in the coastal provinces of Esmeraldas, Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas and El Oro.

In addition to the shrimp industry, large scale transnational infrastructure projects, like the construction of ports, shipyards and hotels for tourists, have also devastated great swathes of mangrove forest along the Brazilian coastline.

To prevent total destruction of the mangroves, artisanal fisherfolk are pushing for a bill to modify Brazil's forest code and ban logging in mangrove areas. But the proposal is encountering stiff resistance from the industrial fisheries sector.

But shrimp farming is not always the primary threat to species-rich mangrove ecosystems in every country in Latin America. In Venezuela, for instance, extractive industries like oil and mining are the worst enemies, according to Henderson Colina of the Ecological Association for the Environmental Preservation of Falcón State, in the northwest of the country.

Beyond the shrimp ponds, threats against the mangroves are multiplying due to river pollution, privatisation of land, changes in land use and other human activities. That is why it is vital to raise awareness about the importance of mangroves and undertake environmental remediation, to recover the lost mangrove ecosystems, he said. (END)
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