GUATEMALA CITY, (Tierramérica).- Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador have decreed a ban on fishing for shrimp during the entire month of May, reported the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food.
The measure, which affects the Pacific coastline, including estuaries and lagoons, was agreed as a result of declining shrimp stocks and with the aim of ensuring the reproduction of the species, Minister Alvaro Aguilar explained to Tierramérica.
The coastal shrimp is from the "peneidae" family (Penaeus californiensis), and the ban encompasses commercial as well as subsistence shrimping, said the ministry in a statement.
In Guatemala, anyone who violates the government's ban will face fines the equivalent of 1,066 to 10,666 dollars.
Plans Made Against Invading Species
RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- Brazil has identified 543 invasive exotic species, 155 of which directly affect agricultural production and 97 affect human health, according to a study published earlier this month by the Ministry of Environment as a first step towards a broader plan of combat against this problem nationwide.
The next step will be the creation, in June, of the Permanent Technical Chamber on Invasive Exotic Species, involving government, non-government and scientific entities to organize information and establish priorities and solutions, Lidio Coradin, the ministry's genetic resources manager, told Tierramérica.
Biological invasions are the second leading cause globally for the loss of biodiversity, after degradation of ecosystems, like deforestation. Exotic species are "a serious problem and a challenge," because they affect the economy and health in a country as big as Brazil, said Coradin.
Garbage Collectors Recycle Too
BUENOS AIRES, (Tierramérica).- The Argentine capital inaugurated on May 2 its first recycling plant, for separating out recyclable materials, employing former informal garbage collectors in the city.
"For now we are working with few materials, but the idea is to work with all dry waste," Francisco Monzón, head of the Bajo Flores Ecological Cooperative of Recyclers, told Tierramérica.
In Buenos Aires, 4,200 tons of waste are collected daily for disposal in sanitary landfills. It is estimated that half is recyclable.
With 30 workers, the recycling plant will begin handling 10 tons a day, but hopes to reach 120 tons daily with 90 employees.
In 2005, through new legislation, the Buenos Aires government resolved to send recyclable waste to five separation sites, with the commitment to halve the volume of garbage sent to landfills by 2012.
Expanded Market for Ecological Goods
BOGOTA, (Tierramérica).- Small producers in 17 associations from Colombia's Andean region will be able to market their ecological merchandise through a chain of supermarkets in the capital, thanks to an agreement established under the Ministry of Environment's National Plan for Green Markets.
Patricia Londońo, Plan advisor, told Tierramérica that the agreement seeks to promote environmentally sustainable productive processes and facilitate the entry of producers into the local and national market, under beneficial and competitive conditions in order to improve environmental quality and social well being.
The agreement, signed with the Family Compensation Bank on Apr. 25, allows the benefiting producers to pay in 30 days for non-perishable merchandise and 15 days for perishables, as well as setting up procedures to support the businesses linked to the Plan.
A Space Agency Is Born
MEXICO CITY, (Tierramérica).- The creation of a space agency in Mexico, approved by the Chamber of Deputies in April, is a laudable goal, but difficult to achieve in the short term, say experts.
With presidential elections slated for June, and the subsequent change in government in December, the most likely is that the initiative will not prosper in the short term, Antonio Sánchez, president of the Mexican Association of Planetariums, told Tierramérica.
Creating a Mexican Space Agency -- an idea originating from and approved by the lawmakers in a bill that has yet to be passed by the Senate and the president's signature -- has come under fire from local scientists, who say they were not consulted and that the plan has several problems.
Sánchez has asked his colleagues to take a close look at the bill to strengthen it if possible, and to organize a front of support. "To have a space agency in Mexico would put us in a technological race that we have only been able to watch, but without support it will not survive." *Source: Inter Press Service.
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