Top news: Kenya becomes latest African country to allow GM crops; Fishing industry gears up for discard debate; Malaysia takes step towards sustainable palm oil; Deforestation threatens Gibson guitars
#GM: Kenya has become Africa’s fourth country to allow the full-scale importation and production of GM crops, after South Africa, Burkina Faso and Egypt. African countries have traditionally been sceptical of genetically modified foods, and they are banned across the continent in all but a handful of countries. UAE Business reports that Kenya’s move faced strong resistance from local consumer groups and politicians. Critical food shortages in the region seem to be the tipping point for Africa’s stance on GM, but the industry may have a long struggle ahead of it to convince consumers that GM food is safe. For more about Greenpeace’s position on GE click here.
#Fish overboard: A study by the New Economics Foundation, Money Overboard, has calculated that between 1963 and 2008, the EU fishing industry threw away £2.7 billion (UK) worth of cod - that’s over 2 million tonnes of fish. The Discard Debate has long been a point of contention within the EU fishing industry. While fishermen have strict quotas, they are often obliged to throw part of their catch away. The Guardian writes that Rupert Crilly, the author of the NEF’s report, said that discarding needs to be banned, and that the issue was connected to general overfishing. The NEF is arguing for a quota set by scientific limits rather than politicians in order to protect the EU’s valuable fishing industry from further waste.
#Green palm oil: Reuters reports that Malaysia, the world’s second biggest producer of palm oil, is planning to introduce a certification scheme to ensure the oil is grown without clearing existing forests. Malaysian Commodities Minister Bernard Dompok said that the country has decided to act on its own initiative “because the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil keeps changing its goal posts on how to produce sustainable palm oil”. Malaysia wants to tweak its laws to include certification requirements for deforestation and the protection of wildlife, and offenders could be punished by law.
#Pick carefully! Rock stars Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Dave Grohl are all huge supporters of the world’s latest endangered species: the iconic Gibson guitar. “We need to act now because it just won’t be around in 10 years,” warns Henry Juszkiewicz, Gibson’s chief executive. The home of the famed Les Paul has warned that guitar makers are running out of suitable wood, writes the UK’s Independent. The exotic and beautiful woods used to make fine guitars – rosewood, maple, ebony, mahogany and spruce –are being lost to over-harvesting and deforestation. Gibson is now working with Greenpeace in order to source sustainable woods to continue their craft: “Good music needs good wood!” (You can find out more about Greenpeace’s Musicwood campaign here)