Europe-wide Studies Published On Cormorant-fishery Conflicts

Austria received 17,400 asylum claims in 2012, a 21 percent increase over the previous year compared with an 8 percent average increase for industrialised countries. The highest numbers came from Afghanistan and Russia – mostly Chechnya. The Alpine nation’s geographic position at the eastern edge of western Europe made it for decades an important destination for refugees and immigrants from the east. Unlike in neighbouring Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel won a landslide victory on Sunday partly on the strength of the German economy, many Austrians feel hard done-by despite the lowest EU jobless rate and economic growth clearly above the EU average. “You might ask: Why in Austria, which is such an obscenely prosperous place?” said Oxford historian and All Souls emeritus fellow Peter Pulzer, author of books on the Austrian and German right wing. “Part of the FPO’s appeal is to those who are benefiting from the welfare state but don’t want others to.” PRO-AUSTRIAN The FPO rejects the notion it is anti-foreigner, preferring to describe itself as “pro-Austrian”; but it continues to attract a neo-nazi fringe which has no other party to join and warns continually of an “Islamicisation” of Catholic Austria. There is, however, no evidence of any association with anti- foreigner violence, which remains rare in Austria. A cult of personality surrounds Strache, or “HC”. Last week he released a rap song entitled “Stand up if you’re for HC” sung by the leader dressed in leather jacket and sunglasses while party workers awkwardly dance and clap. (www.hcstrache.at) A comic book of cautionary tales the FPO sent voters this week, featuring “HC Man” as a kind of superhero, urged: “Daham statt Islam” – “Homeland, not Islam” – and Strache has called burqa-clad Muslim women “female ninjas”. Around 1.6 million people, or 19 percent of the Austrian population, are first- or second-generation immigrants. Around a third are from other EU countries, another third from the neighbouring former Yugoslavia, and most of the rest are Turks. Anti-Turkish feeling in Austria, whose capital was twice besieged by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries, is such that Chancellor Faymann felt forced to deny having produced a Turkish-language election poster during a TV debate with Strache last week. Opinion polls suggest the ruling parties will win just enough votes for another term, an option preferred by Chancellor Faymann but not necessarily by the OVP, which flirts with a center-right alliance. The best chance of such a right-wing alliance’s taking power is that the OVP performs so poorly that pro-Europe leader Michael Spindelegger has to resign.

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However, the enlarged cormorant populations have led to significant conflicts in many parts of Europe with recreational and commercial fisheries, and fish farms. For this reason, an interdisciplinary network of almost 70 researchers from 30 countries contributed to the ‘INTERCAFE: Interdisciplinary Initiative to Reduce Pan-European Cormorant-Fisheries Conflicts’ project which was funded through the EU COST Action programme. INTERCAFE was chaired by David Carss, a vertebrate ecologist from the UK’s Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, and drew together researchers from a number of disciplines, including bird-related and broader ecology disciplines, fisheries science and management, sociology, social anthropology and international law, together with experts on fisheries production, harvest and management, local interest groups and international policy-makers. The INTERCAFE final reports give fisheries managers, conservationists, researchers and decision-makers scientific data and wide-ranging information on the key factors influencing cormorant ecology and cormorant movements throughout the year at the European scale. They also provide a wealth of experiences, as well as practical measures and options for considering and addressing cormorant-fishery issues across Europe from ecological, social, cultural and legal perspectives. There are five main reports from the project which cover: A synthesis on cormorant ecology within Europe, including the first pan-European census of the number and distribution of cormorants in summer and wintertime An overview of field techniques and standard research methods for cormorants, fishes and the interactions between them An overview of available management techniques — a ‘Toolbox’ covering methods for reducing cormorant problems at European fisheries Analysis of cormorant-fisheries conflicts at carp-rearing ponds — an important freshwater fishery sector across continental Europe — where problems at individual sites can be caused by birds which breed as far as 2000 km away An in-depth, underpinning exploration of many of the social, cultural and legal perspectives embedded in cormorant-fisheries conflicts David Carss from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology welcomed the publication of the reports, “This COST Action brought together a wide range of people — both scientific researchers and those on the ground who are affected by cormorant-fisheries issues through their work, livelihoods, and recreational pursuits. The large number of people involved with INTERCAFE deserve great credit for the time, commitment and dedication they gave so freely to the project on a voluntary basis. They and the authors of the reports should take considerable satisfaction at the publication of these final reports. But to refer to the outputs as ‘final’ is really a misnomer. They are certainly not the last word on cormorant-fishery matters; rather, they provide an important and comprehensive synthesis of the subject, not only from a scientific but also from a social, cultural and legal point of view. As such the reports could be considered a milestone with respect to the examination of cormorant-fishery conflicts across Europe.” He added, “The challenge of the COST action during INTERCAFE was to address the cormorant-fishery issue from ecological, socio-economic, and practical perspectives. This interdisciplinary approach, together with a pan-European assessment and synthesis of the available information at the continental scale, provided many new insights in this challenging field. For example, we are now aware that the geographical position in Europe, as well as the nature of local people’s relationships with wetland habitats, determines to a large part how the conflict is perceived.” Mennobart van Eerden, cormorant expert and ecologist at Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, explained, “For the first time we succeeded in a pan-European assessment of cormorant numbers and distribution with the help of hundreds of volunteers of the Wetlands International-IUCN Cormorant Research Group, an enormous achievement and an extremely useful baseline in the debate about conflicts.” Together with co-workers in the INTERCAFE project he was able to relate the data on distribution and numbers to ecological requirements.

government to spend money runs out at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, and a small number of Tea Party-backed U.S. senators have been threatening to stall a bill to renew the funding. The market has also been fretting about next month’s negotiations in Washington to raise the federal debt ceiling to prevent a default, as well as the outlook for the Federal Reserve’s stimulus measures after the Fed decided not to scale back the measures last week. “Investors are still confused about the Fed’s monetary policy, and now the focus is switching to negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in Washington. After such a rally, people are now very cautious,” said Guillaume Dumans, co-head of research firm 2Bremans. The Fed’s quantitative easing programme has been a major factor behind the global equity market rally of the past year, which has propelled European shares to a 12-month forward price-to-earnings ratio of 13, a level not seen since October 2009, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream. The broad STOXX Europe 600 is up about 5 percent so far this month, on track to post its best monthly performance in two years, and its best month of September since 1997. The sharp rise in the valuation ratio, however, suggests that the equity rally has been more about excess liquidity in the financial markets than underlying company profit growth. Data shows that analysts continue to steadily downgrade earnings forecast for European companies, with the region’s earnings momentum – upgrades minus downgrades as a percentage of total – currently at minus 2.9 percent. Riccardo Designori, analyst at Brown Editore, in Milan, said risks remain for stocks, but on a relative basis, the asset class offer the most value when compared with fixed income.