Wednesday, 11 July 2018

More bad news for the world’s oceans - out of Canada!

by Larry Powell
Pacific oysters - with salt and lime. By Guido - Flickr.

A team of Canadian researchers has found that BC’s premier oyster-growing region off the east coast of Vancouver Island, is “highly contaminated” with micro plastics. The team, from Simon Fraser University, says it is now important to find out if the oysters themselves are ingesting the plastics. If they are, it could have implications for the health and quality of the product itself, Canada’s oyster-farmers, in general and the entire industry, worldwide.

The scientists found micro-plastics at all 16 sites sampled within Lambert Channel and Baynes Sound, indicating "widespread contamination of these regions with these particles." That is Canada's prime growing area for the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas).

It is also feared the microplastics could accumulate trace metals which, in turn, could harm the oysters and other organisms on the sea-bottom. 
Dynabeads, a magnetic form of microbead, 
similar to the ones referenced here.Photo by Kunnskap.

Three types of micro-plastics were recovered and identified, with microbeads being the most common.


Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Link between river outflow and coastal sea level

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Sea levels in coastal areas can be affected by a number of factors: tides, winds, waves, and even barometric pressure all play a role in the ebb and flow of the ocean. For the first time, however, a new study has shown that river outflow could play a role in sea level change as well. More here.

Vietnam's Mekong Delta. The Mekong, the world's 12th longest river, fans out into tributaries and empties into the South China Sea in Southeast Asia. European Space Agency

Monday, 9 July 2018

Manitoba beekeepers fight to come back after extreme honeybee die-offs

Long, cold winter could be to blame for some 
beekeepers losing more than half of their bees. More here.

A Manitoba beekeeper tends to his hives.
A PinP photo.

Costco takes stand on insecticides

Costco is saying no to neonics. More here.
A corn-harvester in Manitoba. 
Nat'l. Institutes of Health.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Anti-pipeline activists are fighting to stop Line 3 on the US-Canada border. Will they succeed?

Bill McKibben for The Guardian.

Pipe loaded on a train in Manitoba, destined for God-knows-where. A PinP photo.
The oil industry is building yet another pipeline - but Native American groups and progressive activists are fighting back. More here.

Friday, 6 July 2018

More help from the public trough for the corporate hog sector

by Larry Powell

Manitoba’s hog industry is delighted with the latest infusion of money into swine research. Ottawa has just announced that another $18.5 million will be spent over 5 years to look into the nutrition, health and care of the nation’s swine herds, along with their "environmental sustainability" and the quality of the pork. Canadian taxpayers will pay almost $13 million of that amount, the rest from industry.

This is in addition to more than $30 million already spent over the past decade (by both industry and taxpayers) for other so-called “agri-science” research.

The group representing pig producers and processors, Manitoba Porkhails the announcement as “Great news!” It says the research will be “industry-led,” and will “bring together experts in the public and private sectors to help increase the competitiveness of the Canadian pork sector.”  (Conveniently, the industry statement makes no mention of the apparent provision in the federal grant for a study into its own "environmental sustainability.")

And earlier this year, $176 million began flowing across Manitoba’s farm sector from both federal and provincial taxpayers. Among those eligible for financial help are “agri-processors.” These would include the province’s two big hog slaughterhouses, HyLife and Maple Leaf Foods (both of whom have been reporting profits to their shareholders of late).

And this is all part of a larger, $3 billion "investment" by federal, provincial and territorial governments to “help farmers manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage.” This seems to be a reference, in part, to swine diseases which have devastated herds in Manitoba and elsewhere for over a year now.  For more on this, please read “In Hogs We Trust - Part 111 - From Malaysia to Manitoba. The magnitude of livestock diseases, worldwide.”

For a more in-depth account of government subsidies flowing to this “high-maintenance” industry, please read, “In Hogs WeTrust, Part 11 - the price we pay for corporate pig$”

Measuring ecosystem disruption caused by marine heatwaves

 Nature Above, healthy bull kelp. Below, bull kelp degraded by a marine heatwave. DeWikiMan Marine heatwaves can displace therma...