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Volume 2 l/Number 2/February 1990 Homer, and Kodiak will supervise the local clean-ups and will coordinate with the US Coast Guard and Exxon. Oil wea...

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Volume 2 l/Number 2/February 1990

Homer, and Kodiak will supervise the local clean-ups and will coordinate with the US Coast Guard and Exxon. Oil weathering and movements will be monitored at 40 sites by the State Departments of Environmental Conservation, Fish and Game, and Natural Resources and by local communities. The State plan will also fund toxic effects studies in affected areas. Funds will be awarded for research and development on clean-up technologies that emphasize simple mechanical fixed, rather than complex, chemical remedies, and that might be instituted in the spring. The State will also place mental health professionals in the affected communities to assist in the prevention and treatment of stress-related problems.

Marine Lab Destroyed The 17 October, 1989 earthquake in northern California severely damaged the Moss Landing Marine Laboratory, which was located on Monterey Bay to the south of San Francisco. Structural damage was so severe that the facility will have to be torn down entirely. In addition to the structural damage, equipment and ongoing experiments were destroyed or severely disrupted. The damage at the laboratory was the furthest south of the epicentre that significant damage was incurred and appears to be related to the location of the facility on a river mouth sand bar. This location provided an unstable foundation of wet sand, which became liquefied by the earthquake vibrations. The Moss Landing Marine Laboratory was operated by the California State University System as the centre for marine teaching and research for six of its campuses throughout northern California. The head of the California State University System has stated that the Moss Landing Facility will be rebuilt.

Round-the-World News Norway The Norwegian State Pollution Control Authority (SFT) is to assess the effectiveness of a new oil spill clean up system that involves creating an ice boom. The system involves using gas to freeze sea water, which then forms porous masses of ice which can be shaped into flexible booms around the oil spill. The SFT will test methods of reinforcing the ice boom, using perhaps nylon netting and biodegradable additives and will also investigate its effectiveness in rough seas.

Israel The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel reported dozens of oiled sea birds on the shore between Hadera and Neve Yam. The birds were victims of a spill resulting from the sinking of the tanker Eyal off the coast of Herzliyya. The Israel Environment Ministry estimated that 30 t of oil spilled from the ship before divers managed to stop leaks by welding. There have been delays in pumping out the remaining 600 t of high-density oil owing to the lack of comprehensive

insurance coverage against further oil spills at the port and Israel shipyards where the Eyal is expected to go for repairs.

Australia The Australian oil company Santos has announced a significant oil discovery in the Timor Sea off Western Australia. The well, which is located in about 110 m of water, is important for the region as it follows a series of dry holes drilled in the Timor Sea earlier this year. N o r t h Sea The 30 000 barrel a day export of oil from the Eider platform was automatically halted in December following an oil leak. Half the workers (40) on the production platform were taken off as a precaution during the emergency. The operators, Shell, intended suspending production while an investigation was held. The Eiderplatform is 100 miles north-east of Shetland.

South Pacific Australia and New Zealand, together with 15 other smaller South Pacific countries have adopted a protocol to ban driftnet fishing in the South Pacific region. A number of conventions to the protocol were also endorsed that sought the cooperation of "distant water fishing nations" in upholding the ban. The convention was adopted in Wellington, New Zealand by members of the Forum Fishing Agency (FFA) which includes Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and many other of the small island states of the region. Non-FFA members who were also party to the convention included the UK (on behalf of Pitcairn Island), France (on behalf of French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Fortuna) and American Samoa. The convention requires the signatories to prohibit the use of driftnets within areas under their jurisdiction and to prevent the use of such nets by vessels registered under their laws. The problem with driftnets is that they indiscriminantly catch anything in their path. The nets, which are used in international waters, can be as large as 60 km long by 15 m deep and are made of strong plastic webbing that is more or less acoustically and visually invisible to most marine animals. Apart from the concern about overfishing, the nets catch other marine species and continue to do so even when lost or abandoned as frequently happens. Japan has recently agreed to reduce its driftnet fleet to twenty ships but refuses to impose a ban. Taiwan, the only other country with a significant driftnet fishing fleet in the South Pacific (130 vessels), has so far refused to ban or place a moratorium on driftnet fishing.

Hong Kong Because of the deteriorating marine water quality, there has been growing concern in Hong Kong about the con55

Marine Pollution Bulletin

servation of local marine habitats of ecological importance. Recently, the Hong Kong Marine Biological Association and World Wide Fund for Nature have jointly proposed the establishment of the first marine/ park reserve in Hong Kong. The aim is to protect one important marine habitat in Hong Kong from pollution, development and over-exploitation and develop it for the purposes of education, conservation and academic research. Spear-fishing and the collection of corals and other animals will be prohibited. Fishing too will be restricted or banned in the proposed reserve. A field education centre will be established at the site and preparation of relevant education materials is already

Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 21. No, 2, pp. 56-59, 1990. Printed in Great Britain.

underway. Hoi Ha Wan, a bay at the end of Tolo Channel with a fringing scleractinian coral community is proposed as the first marine park/reserve in Hong Kong, and other additionl/potential sites have also been identified. The proposal has received favourable consideration by the Government and a Working Group has been set up to look into the details of site identification, necessary legislation, protection, and management measures. As a positive start, the Government earlier this year designated Hoi Ha Wan a 'Site of Special Scientific Interest', in order to offer interim protection before legislation is finalized. R.S.S. WU

0025-326X/90 $3.00+0.00 © 1990 Pergamon Press pie

Viewpoint is a column which allows authors to express their own opinions about current events.

Food for Thought: Fish, Fats, and Fate DAVID J, H. PHILLIPS Dr David Phillips is a Director of Mott-MacDonald Environmental Consultants Ltd, based in Croydon, UK. He has extensive experience of water quality and pollution control in Australia, Scandinavia, the USA, Britain and elsewhere. He is a member of the Bulletin Editorial Board.

Americans suffering from cardiovascular diseases in general (including coronary heart disease, hypertension, and various other heart and circulatory disorders) number an astonishing 43.5 million (of a total population of about 240 million), or almost 20% of the population. Coronary heart disease is the greatest single cause of human deaths in the USA, occurring at about twice the rate of cancer-related deaths. Data from the 1980s show that almost 5 million Americans are at significant risk from coronary heart disease at any one time. In a typical year, 1.5 million Americans will suffer heart attacks and 0.5 million will die as a direct result of coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease is the major clinical manifestation of the process of atherosclerosis, which involves the gradual occlusion of the coronary arteries. This occurs due to a complex process, in which several types of plasma lipids and cholesterol play a central role. Basic changes in the endothelial cells on the inside of the artery wall are involved in the early stages of atherosclerosis; platelets and other blood cells play an important early role by clustering under the artery epithelium and providing a base for the deposition of cholesterol. Various agents are also involved in this 56

developing process, such as thromboxane A-2, prostacyclins, platelet-derived growth factor, and oxygen-free radicals (peroxides). However, it appears that the critical change which leads to atherosclerosis through the interaction of all of these factors is an alteration in the phospholipid cell membrane of the endothelial cells in the coronary artery. Age-standardized death rates from coronary heart disease in the USA are only slightly higher than those in European countries; however, such rates in both the USA and Europe are higher by almost an order of magnitude than those of Eskimos in Greenland. This gave rise to research over a decade ago into the possible causes of these differences in susceptibility of the various populations to atherosclerosis. It was discovered that, while the total amounts of fats in the diet of Eskimos and other populations were similar, the types of lipids in these diets were very different. Thus, the Eskimo diet is low in saturated fats and high in polyunsaturated fatty acids; by contrast, the diet of Americans and many Europeans provides few polyunsaturated fatty acids but is relatively rich in saturated types Of these compounds. This discovery prompted a change in eating habits among western nations in an