The Mangrove Action Project

Mangroveap at Mangroveap at
Tue Apr 23 21:00:44 EDT 1996

Dear Friends, 
   I am taking this opportunity to send out a broadcast announcement about 
the Mangrove Action Project (MAP).  This might be important for our coalition 
building efforts to alert those listed members to MAP's existence and 
    If you are interested in receiving copies of our quarterly newsletter and 
other action alerts, then please respond by e-mail, so that we can transmit 
these your way. If you would like regular hard copy mailings by postal 
service, then please include your postal address for "snail mail!" If we do 
not hear back from you, we will assume that you are not interested in further 
information from MAP, and will remove your address from our e-mail file. So, 
please respond soon to this letter of enquiry. The following is a brief 
description of MAP for your review: 

                       A Global Voice For The Mangroves,  
                         To Counter The "Blue Revolution" 

   The Mangrove Action Project is an international network addressing the 
serious problems of mangrove forest loss in tropical and sub-tropical 
nations.  MAP also acts in support of the traditional coastal peoples who 
reside near the mangrove forests and depend upon these forests for their rich 
natural resources. MAP links NGOs working around the world with those NGOs 
working directly with coastal communities where mangroves are threatened. One 
of MAP's main objectives is to promote local community land-use  rights, 
whereby local people are directly involved in, and responsible for, 
sustainable management of their own coastal resource base, including mangrove 
forest resources.  
    Mangrove forests are vital coastal ecosystems which play a major role in 
world fisheries and coastal health and protection. These forests link sea and 
land, and provide complex habitats rich in biodiversity and natural 
resources. Mangroves act as buffers against storms, wind, and wave action, 
thus protecting both coast and coastal communities from severe damage and 
loss. Countless traditional coastal fishers and farmers depend on these 
forests for both their livelihoods and cultures.  Also, the mangroves provide 
many necessary materials for construction, fuel wood for cooking and heat, 
and essential foods and medicines.  
   Yet, today, these "rainforests of the sea" are highly threatened by modern 
developments and encroachments. The charcoal and timber industries are partly 
responsible for the problems of mangrove loss, and also developments for 
tourism and human settlement play a role in the demise of these important 
ecosystems. However, the greatest threat to our planet's remaining mangrove 
forests comes from the unregulated expansion of the shrimp aquaculture 
    For the sake of a luxury export product, jumbo shrimp, which is sold in 
Japan, the US, Canada, Europe and other wealthy nations, tens of thousands of 
hectares of mangrove forests in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have been 
cleared. Today, less than half the world's mangrove forests remain. With the 
continued, largely unregulated expansion of shrimp aquaculture, the situation 
for coastal communities and the environment is critical. 
   Yet, many governments in developing nations have taken the bait, and 
gotten caught on the hook of promised export earnings via shrimp aquaculture. 
Even the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been promoting 
aquaculture as a means of supplementing a declining wild fishery, not taking 
into account that this same industry will further degrade the wild fisheries 
by destroying key coastal habitats and nursery grounds. 
    Basically, the shrimp industry is still in its test phase, where all the 
"bugs" have not been worked out of the system. Yet, this same highly 
experimental, and still flawed, industry is being tested through wide-scale 
application, rather than small-scale research and development.  A wise 
approach would be for the industry to first solve its  major technical 
difficulties in a lab, or controlled test facility, not in a largely 
disjointed fashion, where there are no effective controls in place. (This 
disastrous, no-holds-barred production approach could be compared to opening 
up for public transport a newly designed and untested commercial airplane to 
unsuspecting passengers on its maiden flight!) 
    The great earnings of shrimp culture are short-lived, while the real 
costs in terms of consequent environmental ruin and social disruption are 
astronomical!  While the immediate profits may temporarily satisfy an elite 
few, vast numbers of coastal residents are in the long-term displaced and 
impoverished. And, now this despoiling industry is moving more determinedly 
onto the coasts of Africa, again threatening mangrove forests, sea grass beds 
and coral reefs, while usurping the agricultural lands and resource use 
rights of traditional farmers and fishers. Because both lands and labor in 
Africa are comparatively cheap, and governments are struggling to improve 
their export earnings, the industry which is desperate for new coastlines to 
re-establish itself will seize on the opportunities presented there.   
    MAP's aim is to counter industry's next moves, by alerting African NGOs, 
coastal communities, academics and government officials of the risks involved 
in the impending invasion of the shrimp industry.  If you would like to help, 
please write letters to the FAO, asking that they not promote shrimp 
aquaculture as a benevolent means of food production. Point out that shrimp 
farming will instead only further degrade our already over-stressed 
fisheries. Please write: 
    Director of Fisheries, FAO of the UN, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 
00100, Rome, Italy 

   Our international network has grown to include nearly 300 NGOs and over 
100 scientists and academics. We are currently expanding the effectiveness of 
our coalition work by solidifying our ties with other major environmental and 
activist groups in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. An important 
gathering of coalition representatives will occur in New York in late April, 
1996 to discuss ways to strengthen our mutual efforts to protect the 
threatened mangrove forests from further destruction by launching a consumer 
awareness campaign against unsustainable shrimp mariculture.  
    Please become a subscribing member of MAP, and receive our quarterly 
                Alfredo Quarto, Director 
                Mangrove Action Project 
                4649 Sunnyside Ave N., Ste. 321 
                Seattle, WA 98103    USA 
                phn./fax (206) 545-1137 

    And, please check out the Mangrove Action Project's webb site:  This site is an excellent opportunity for 
those who wish to broadcast information.        
   Also, recently, MAP has opened a mangrove public conference on econet. 
 The conference name is: map.mangroves at     
 It's purpose is to stimulate dialogue on mangroves and shrimp issues, 
solicit research, and disseminate information.  Questions or mail 
specifically for MAP staff can be sent to: mangroveap at 

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