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Volume 8/Number 6/June 1977 of local government, industry, statutory authorities with estuarine and water-management responsibilities and groups prof...

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Volume 8/Number 6/June 1977

of local government, industry, statutory authorities with estuarine and water-management responsibilities and groups professionally concerned with surveys, monitoring programmes etc. To gauge the extent to which user organizations would wish to avail themselves of this service and the types of course which would be most in demand, potential users are asked to contact: Hon. Secretary, EBSA, C / o Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3E J, England.

Round-the-World News Hong Kong The Hong Kong Agriculture and Fisheries Department plan to introduce controls on the use of oil dispersants due to the growing concern about their adverse effects on the inshore environment. At present dispersant spraying is the main method used for cleaning up oil, but following a spillage last year complaints a b o u t t h e use of dispersants came from the fish fattening industry that flourishes in many sheltered bays. Over the past two years the Department has carried out simple toxicity testing of products. However a number of products--not on the Warren Springs Laboratory approved list--remain in use in the private sector and it is now proposed to control these under the Dumping at Sea Act 1974 (Overseas Territories) Order 1975. Controls are to be introduced from 1 January 1978, when licences will only be granted to products approved by the Warren Springs Laboratory and one year later, approval will also be required from the Agriculture and Fisheries Department in Hong Kong. The delay of one year is required for the completion of local toxicity testing against the rabbitfish (Siganus fuscescens) at summer temperatures. Previous tests have resulted in products approved by the Warren Springs Laboratory being classified as very toxic and, although too few tests have been made for the results to be statistically adequate, the Department is concerned that toxicity ranking orders determined in the United Kingdom may not be universally applicable, especially under tropical or sub-tropical conditions.

G. B. THOMPSON

Orkney Loading regulations for tankers at Occidental Oil's new £121 million terminal on the island of Flotta off Orkney have been changed as a result of a spillage there recently. Force 10 gusts during a gale parted the 115000 ton German Shell tankerNacella from her chain on one of the single buoy mooring systems as she was loading crude oil. The resulting spill contaminated some 12 km of Scapa Flow shoreline killing more than 100 seabirds. New regulations laid down by the local harbour committee means that tankers will not now be allowed to load in wind over force five. The terminal, which takes oil from the Piper field 216 km away, had only been operating eight weeks when the spillage occurred. Occidental say it was the result of an equipment failure and should not happen again.

Canada The Environmental Protection Service has undertaken a five year $7m technology programme to develop oil spill countermeasures for Arctic waters. Research will be carried out into the physical behaviour and effects of oil blow-outs, the movement of oil spills in ice-covered waters and the efects of oil on Arctic shorelines, fauna and flora. The programme will also include the development of oil recovery devices, techniques for cleaning contaminated shorelines and containment and disposal equipment. The Canadian government believes the need to improve clean up and control techniques for these waters is particularly urgent in view of the increasing threat of maj or spills due to accelerating Arctic activities to locate and utilise oil resources and their ultimate goal is a comprehensive contingency plan for spills in the Arctic.

United States The state of California has started to implement new environmental legislation to protect its 1770 km coastline. The new law--part of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act--means that local governments must now concentrate development in urban areas, protect coastal timber, agriculture and wetlands and provide public access to beaches. The Act affects some thirty states in the US which border the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico or the Great Lakes. California's interpretation of the legislation could set a precident for the rest of these states who have yet to implement the Act.

USSR The Novosti Press Agency has announced that a seal nursery has been added to a marine research station near the breeding grounds of the White Sea coast in the extreme north of Russia. Some 25 000 seal pups are now being cared for at the nursery which is in the Archangel region. They are set free when they are judged to be sufficiently strong to face the rigours of the severe northern climate. The marine research station was set up to study seal breeding and the improvement of breeds.

Baltic The European Commission has recommended to the Council of Ministers that the EEC start negotiations with Finland, East Germany, Poland, Sweden and the USSR on the protection of marine environment in the Baltic Sea area. The Community is already a signatory of the Paris Convention and the Barcelona Convention on the protection of the Mediterranean, and the Bonn Convention on chemical pollution of the Rhine and in recent years it has taken measures to protect both the Mediterranean and the north east Atlantic. 125