Psst. Wanna Buy a Whale?

first_imgThe world banned most whaling in 1986, but sometimes it’s hard to tell. The number of whales killed by whalers has doubled since the 1990s, with so-called scientific whaling claiming roughly 1000 annually, and perhaps 600 more captured by scofflaw nations. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) appears stuck on developing new conservation agreements.Now several researchers are proposing a possible solution: Create a cap-and-trade market for swapping permits to kill or conserve whales. But critics of the “whale shares” idea have already sharpened their harpoons. In an article in Ecological Applications, Leah Gerber of Arizona State University (ASU), Tempe, and colleagues spell out how this controversial idea would benefit both whales and whalers. They argue it also could be a model for helping turtles, sharks, and seabirds. “The paper succeeds in shifting the dialogue about whaling, and actually modeling the crucial dynamic between whaling and conservation,” says Stephen Palumbi of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Setting up a system of controlled fishing permits—known as catch shares—has helped protect fisheries. And a cap-and-trade system for trading pollution permits was a clear success in controlling acid rain. Gerber, along with Chris Costello and Steven Gaines of the University of California, Santa Barbara, first proposed applying similar market-based ideas to whaling in January 2012. In principle, they argued, a central authority could set a maximum harvest level, then offer shares or permits to anyone who wanted to buy the right to kill—including environmental groups that would have no intention of using the permit. The idea is that whalers might make more money by selling their permits to environmentalists than by actually killing the whales.  Now the trio has created a model to examine in more detail how a cap-and-trade market might impact whale populations and how the costs and benefits would change for people who want to hunt or conserve them. The model combines whale population dynamics with an economic model of demand for whales and shows what happens to prices and populations when whalers and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) exchange shares. They examined the dynamics for three kinds of whales: minkes, bowheads, and gray whales.North Atlantic minke whales number about 72,000, and 550 are caught annually, including for subsistence, as well as for scientific whaling. The model predicts that conservationists wouldn’t have any incentive to buy shares of minke whales until hunters deplete the population to a level of concern, which could take 10 years. But with bowheads, which are slowly recovering from intense whaling in the 19th century, conservations groups would be highly motivated to buy all the shares for 13 years, until the population grows to the carrying capacity. And they would purchase shares in gray whales for 30 years. With all three species, prices converged on $10,000 a share.The total cost to buy all the whale shares of all three species over 20 years would run about $114 million, the researchers calculate. Considered on an annual basis, that’s a fraction of what NGOs spend now on whale campaigns. So, even at that price, conservationists could save more whales for less money than they do now, the authors conclude. And whalers would benefit when they sell shares because they make money without having to get their feet wet. “[A] well-designed whale conservation market simultaneously enhances conservation welfare and whaler welfare relative to the status quo,” Gerber and colleagues write. “In some sense this is unsurprising: Allowing voluntary trade, rather than forbidding it, tends to make both parties in an economic transaction better off.”Palumbi, however, says he doesn’t put too much stock in these numbers. “The paper is almost certainly wrong in detail about whales and whaling,” he says. “It misses many of the messy realities of modern whaling, such as the huge subsidy that Japan gives its whalers.” The main advance, he says, is creating a framework for calculating the values of competing uses.  A companion paper, by Martin Smith, an economist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and others, identifies several other problems with the idea. Any of these could lead to “lower overall welfare for society” and could increase threats to marine mammals, they say. The first problem is known as free riding. A dead whale is, in economic terms, a private good. Only the ship that pays for the right to catch a whale will profit from it. But a living whale is a public good. If one NGO pays to keep it alive, all the other NGOs derive the same benefit. As do all the whale-lovers who never contribute to an NGO. That means it could become difficult for NGOs to raise funds.  Second, if trade in whale meat is legalized, it could be difficult to identify black market meat. Monitoring and enforcement would be a challenge. “These problems are not easily solved,” adds Scott Baker of Oregon State University, Corvallis. His molecular sleuthing of whalemeat markets has shows a large trade in illegal or unreported whale products. A return to commercial whaling, he suspects, would provide even greater incentives for illegal hunting.And then there is the hot-button issue of setting a cap and allocating shares. Politics is already a challenge at the IWC, where small nations sometimes trade votes for economic benefit. “Replacing the IWC’s fragile moratorium with cap-and-trade does not guarantee that the geopolitical entanglements that have generated the current stalemate will be eliminated,” Smith writes. Worse, it could set off a dash to secure whaling rights in order to sell them later for cash. Gerber and her colleagues concede many of these points, but say they are not unique to a conservation market.Finally, what about the, well, moral repugnancy that some wildlife advocates feel about putting a price on majestic animals like whales? Gerber tried to address the issue last spring in Issues in Science and Technology. “The debate in biodiversity conservation between economics and ethics, or between pragmatism and principle, is in many ways a misguided contest, one that assumes that there exists a deep philosophical division between environmental ethics and societal action,” she wrote with her ASU colleague Ben Minteer, an environmental ethicist. “Being pragmatic in whale conservation policy does not mean selling out on conservationist principles.”At the moment, a whale market exists only in the realm of ideas. “My guess is that it would probably require a renegotiation of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling to make the structural changes required for the global whale auction envisaged,” Baker says. For the foreseeable future, the battle over whales will continue to play out with unregulated hunts, dangerous zodiac chases, and freezers full of aging whale meat.last_img read more

Folk Dance is used to Convey Maternal and Newborn Health Messages in a Remote Village in India

first_imgPosted on February 9, 2011June 20, 2017By: Kate Mitchell, Clinton FellowClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Seraikela Chhau is a traditional form of dance that originates in the Seraikela block of Jharkhand, part of the eastern steel belt of India. I am currently working as a Clinton Fellow with the Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative (MANSI) in the Seraikela block. MANSI is a partnership between the American India Foundation, Tata Steel Rural Development Society, and the local government—with technical support from SEARCH. As part of our project activities, our team has recently coordinated a series of Seraikela Chhau performances that will combine the native dance form with key maternal and newborn health messages throughout the 174 villages of our project area.On Monday, I traveled with my colleague, Anupam Sarkar, a nutrition and newborn health expert and Project Advisor for MANSI, to Hudu, a small, hard-to-reach village amidst forest, steel plants, and roaming wild elephants, to observe the performances of the day. It took us nearly 2 hours from Jamshedpur, weaving around and cutting through steel plants and villages along bumpy and muddy roads–the same roads that women must travel on if they opt for institutional delivery.When we arrived in Hudu, we learned that a pair of twins had recently passed away in the village and we decided to visit the family before the performance began. We are conducting similar home visits for every maternal and newborn death that has been reported in our project area (spanning 174 villages) since the baseline survey was completed in 2009. The goal of the home visits is to gain a better understanding of the ground realities and knowledge gaps so that we can shape and inform the messages of the MANSI health communication campaigns in a way that meets the needs of the communities.The local health worker guided us to the home where the twins had passed away. The parents were not at home–but we were able to meet with the paternal grandparents, Asha and Ganesh Sardar.They shared their story…The mother of the twins, Vilasi, is 28 years old. She and her husband, Ragdu, already had four children, all girls, and they were eager to have a boy. Soon they became pregnant with twins, one girl and one boy. All four of the previous children were delivered at home without complication–and the family assumed that this delivery would also be free of complications. They explained that they were unaware of the benefits of institutional delivery. When the twins were born, they seemed very small. Immediately following delivery, the mother put the babies to her breasts to feed them. They were weak and unable to suckle. Initially the family thought about giving them goat’s milk–but eventually decided to give sugar water (locally called Misri Pani). When it became clear that the babies were extremely weak and in critical condition, the family wanted to take the infants to the hospital but they had not anticipated the emergency. They were not prepared. They did not have a transportation plan or money set aside. One baby died the very same day–and the other died the following day.We thanked the grandparents for sharing their story and asked them if it would be OK if we also shared their story with other communities. The grandparents agreed and the grandfather said, “After losing the twins, I have come to know about the importance of institutional delivery. Why not share our story and let others also come to know?”It is tough to know precisely what led to the death of the twins—and if giving birth in a facility would have made a difference. But it is clear that many factors were stacked against them. The family was faced with poor roads, long distances to health centers, limited resources, combined with a lack of information at the community level about birth spacing and planning, care of low birth weight babies, danger signs, institutional delivery, and information on how to tap into government schemes that offer cash incentives for institutional delivery—all potential topics for future Chhau performances.With the story of the twins on our minds, we returned to the center of the village to observe the performance.With no electricity in the village, the performers rigged their loud speaker system to their vehicle battery. They began beating their drums and singing loudly, calling on community members to gather in the village center.It did not take long for community members to gather, all curious to know what the commotion was about. They formed a crowd of boys and girls, and men and women of all ages. Soon the drumming and singing picked up pace, a performer dressed in a traditional colorful costume with a big mask jumped out from behind the vehicle, and the show began!The performers acted out various situations, using dance and drama to cover several critical maternal and newborn health topics—with a focus on the importance of institutional delivery, birth planning/preparedness, and the five cleans of safe delivery. The audience watched with great enthusiasm.As we traveled the bumpy roads away from Hudu, a jagged rock punctured our tire–delaying our return to Jamshedpur and reminding me of the numerous barriers that women face in accessing care. While we waited for the tire to get repaired, I thought of the twins and the grandparents who we interviewed. I also thought of the Chhau dance and all of the community members in attendance. That day, I witnessed the consequences of the various factors that were stacked against the twins. I also witnessed one strategy for building community awareness of critical maternal and newborn health information. I left feeling confident that the Chhau performance that we observed will help to equip the community of Hudu with key information about maternal and newborn health—and will serve as one of many important steps toward the overall goal of protecting the health of women and infants in the Seraikela block.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Hockinson School District seeks feedback on superintendent search

first_imgBRUSH PRAIRIE — Hockinson School District officials are looking for input from the public on the district’s search for a new superintendent after Sandra Yager announced her resignation effective July 1.Northwest Leadership Associations, a search firm working with the district, will host a community forum at 7 p.m. Monday in the Hockinson High School commons area, 16819 N.E. 159th St., Brush Prairie. The forum is intended to identify characteristics the community wants in the district’s next superintendent.Community members unable to attend can fill out an online survey at by 5 p.m. Tuesday, the day after the forum.last_img read more