BOEM Ocean Science: Special Issue on Traditional Knowledge. This volume of BOEM Ocean Science focuses on traditional knowledge. Topics include science in transformation, traditional knowledge and sociocultural studies, subsistence use mapping reveals valuable traditional knowledge, integrating traditional knowledge into biological resource studies, among others. A link to the journal is available here.
What Rio Tells Us About the Arctic. Lonesome George died. He was a giant Galapagos tortoise and at 100 years old still in his prime. His ancestors inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, but George was most renowned for being the sole survivor of the Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni sub-spieces. For the Guinness World Records he was the rarest living creature; for environmentalists a flagship for conservation. His death marks the extinction of one more species. But it's just when you think things cannot get worse that they do. The UN Summit in Rio last week made an already hopeless scenario even more distressing. The outcomes of the conference ring alarm bells all the way to the Arctic. If Rio+20 contributes a legacy, it may well be that governments are not only incapable of helping but have become a major obstacle to sensible policies to address climate change. Aljazeera
[Canada] New Aircraft to Require New Safety Equipment. Canadian airlines and plane owners will be required to update their safety equipment on some small planes. Private turbine and commercial planes with six or more seats must install a new "terrain awareness" alert system within two years under new regulations announced Wednesday by Denis Lebel, minister of transport, infrastructure and communities. The terrain awareness and warning system sends visual or acoustic alerts to warn flight crews when their aircraft is in danger of colliding with terrain, water or other obstacles. CBC News
Hunters, Researchers Cautiously Optimistic About High Arctic Coal Exploration. Residents of Grise Fiord are hopeful that the strength of the Nunavut land claims agreement and the good will of Canada Coal Inc. will safeguard both hunting and history in the High Arctic. Larry Audlaluk, member of the Iviq Hunters and Trappers Organization in Grise Fiord and chair of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association's community lands and resources committee, said June 28 that his neighbours and friends are understandably wary of Canada Coal's plan for exploratory drilling on Ellesmere Island next summer. Nunatsiaq Online
EU Outlines Arctic Role. The European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy have outlined their plans for the EU's engagement in the Arctic - a region that is increasingly opening up for commercial exploitation.
Summarised in three words, ''knowledge, responsibility, engagement'', the strategy adopted on July 3 contains a set of tangible actions that contribute to research and sustainable development in the region and promote environmentally friendly technologies that could be used for sustainable shipping and mining. It also underlines the EU's activities in the Arctic since 2008. For example, the EU has made a contribution of 20 million EUR per year in Arctic research over the last decade and has invested more than 1.14 billion EUR in the sustainable development of the region since 2007. Fish News
Protect Whales From New Oil Industry Threat, Warns WWF. Conservationists on Tuesday appealed to countries to urgently address new threats to whales, dolphins and other cetaceans as climate change opens up previously inaccessible areas of the Arctic and industries move in to new areas. As emotional arguments broke out in the annual International Whaling Commission's (IWC) conference between pro- and anti-whaling nations over the right of small, indigenous groups to hunt a few whales each year, WWF appealed to countries to better regulate fishing and stop the oil and gas industries from devastating populations. The Guardian
More Research Needed to Ensure Safe Offshore Oil Development in Arctic. [Opinion] There's been a lot of news about oil and gas developments in Alaska's Arctic in recent weeks. Shell tested its capping system, and is waiting for the final permits to launch its 2012 exploratory drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Meanwhile, the federal government announced plans to open up two new Arctic lease areas off the northern shores of Alaska in the next five years. Included in both of these announcements was a lot of verbiage about protecting the environment and the rights of Native subsistence use, not to mention lots of quotes about listening to Native knowledge and incorporating it into the plans. It's hard to tell when those sorts of statements are made whether they represent a true intent or if they are statements incorporated because they know it will all sound better that way. Alaska Dispatch
Whaling Commission Extends Hunt Quota For Alaska Natives. Alaska's three-member congressional delegation says the International Whaling Commission has extended catch limits of bowhead whales for Alaska Eskimo subsistence hunters.The six-year extension was approved Tuesday at the IWC's annual meeting, which is taking place in Panama City this year. The current Alaska bowhead limits were set to expire at the end of the year. A statement released by the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission says the IWC adopted catch limits allowing Alaska and Russia Native hunters to land as many as 336 bowhead whales from 2013 to 2018. Anchorage Daily News
And, on the lighter side...
Two Washington Post Reporters Head to Alaska to Find Romance. The fishermen descend almost before we even make it through the door of the rattletrap bar. They beg us for a game of pool, conversation, anything. The bearded guys hunched over their beers rivet their eyes on us. There's a guitarist at the open mike who, as soon as he spots Annie, stops strumming and says, "I'm dedicating this song to you." A fisherman with scraggly hair plants himself in front of me and launches into his life story. Once he shot a man. He's about to leave on a fishing boat that will be away from port for three months. The string of whale teeth around his neck is from a whale that was hunted and killed by his late wife. Washington Post