World Aquatic Animal Day Webinar

March 29, 2021Lu Shegay

World Aquatic Animal Day is an annual day dedicated to aquatic animals, first launched by the Aquatic Animal Law Initiative and the Animal Law Clinic at the Center for Animal Law Studies. The day was created to raise global awareness about these often forgotten nonhuman animals.

Aquatic animals play a critical role in our societies and ecosystems. They are important not only as a group but also as valuable and exciting individuals with intrinsic worth. Aquatic animals are not only fish, but also a myriad of other animals that live in water for most of their life: amphibians, marine mammals, crustaceans, reptiles, mollusks, aquatic birds, aquatic insects and even animals such as starfish and corals. Despite this, aquatic animals are widely used and abused around the world and they face a multitude of different threats.

There is an urgent need to give aquatic animals the proper consideration they deserve. Through law, policy, education, advocacy and good stewardship of the earth, our efforts to raise awareness of the plight of aquatic animals must rise to meet the immense challenges they now face. We must also consider our interactions with aquatic animals, our treatment of them, and the often-devastating impacts we are having on them and their habitats.

"sea bird" by seantoyer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Institute of Animal Law of Asia joins the rest of the world to celebrate World Aquatic Animal Day to highlight the importance of aquatic animals in our lives. The theme for 2021 is "The Impact of Human Activities on Aquatic Animals."

Institute of Animal Law of Asia organizes the webinar at KIMEP University, Kazakhstan, but which will be open to anyone interested, and presents five panelists from across the globe, including animal law experts, where they will discuss the necessity of protecting and saving aquatic animals. This webinar is the first public event under the project "Enhancing Legal Regulations for Aquatic Animals in Kazakhstan," the project of our Managing Director within the Global Ambassador Program.

There is no official law in Kazakhstan that would protect aquatic animals, nor there is the official Wildlife Protection Act that would protect and/or criminalize illegal activities with regard to wild animals. There is a Red Book of Kazakhstan listing endangered or threatened species of animals and plants, but the scope of that source is limited only to those species and does not protect all wild animals or plants.

The purpose of this webinar is to highlight the importance of aquatic animals and introduce the public to the urgent need to give proper legal consideration to aquatic animals.

The webinar will be held on Zoom, April 3rd, at 9:30 am (in Kazakhstan)*. FREE and OPEN to the public. Register here.

You can also go to our Facebook page event.

*The U.S. time is 8:30 pm (Pacific) and 11:30 pm (Eastern) on April 2nd.

Meet our Panelists!

Diego Plaza Casanova

Madison Steffey

Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff

Lakshmi Venkataraman

Gary Stokes

Environmental Problems in the Exploitation of Aquatic Animals and Fluvial Watercourses in Chile

In South America, there are many problems affecting aquatic animals and their habitats. These problems are shaped, in part, by the geographic and demographic characteristics of the region, but also by the political problems and idiosyncrasies that characterize it. The purpose of this presentation was to provide an approach to the region's problems in this field by analyzing the Chilean case, as a leader in the region.

Please see the resources here.

Diego Plaza Casanova is lawyer from Chile (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso), has Degree in Environment and Sustainable Development (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), and Animal Law LL.M. (Lewis & Clark Law School). He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Chilean Animal Law Studies CEDA Chile (Centro de Estudios de Derecho Animal CEDA Chile). Also, he works on co-researching of the Handbook on Animal Law (Max Planck Institute and Harvard Law School Animal Law & Policy Program).

Moreover, Diego works as a correspondent for AFADA ONG in Chile and is one of the 2021-2022 CALS Ambassadors for the Center for Animal Law Studies (Lewis & Clark Law School). Currently, he is working on the coordination of several animal law-related academic activities in Chile.

The Detrimental Effects of Captivity on Marine Mammals

This presentation covered how marine parks harm marine mammals and how the laws of the United States have failed to protect marine mammals in captivity, especially cetaceans. Madison Steffey discussed how these laws are outdated and the failure of the agencies in charge to implement real change to protect these animals. She also went over different campaigns and advocates who have tried to free some of these animals and what we can do to ensure those in captivity now can be released and that no other animals are captured and held captive.

Please see the resources here.

Madison Steffey is a recent graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School. She received a certificate in animal law, was on the Animal Law Review all three years, and served as External Projects Chair and then as Co-Director of Lewis & Clark’s Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter.

Madison was inspired to go to law school so that she could fight to free the captive killer whale Tokitae—she has been at the Miami Seaquarium for over 50 years in an illegally sized tank with no other orca companions. She wrote two papers on Tokitae and her family during her studies and continues to focus on different strategies and campaigns to get Tokitae free. Although cetacean captivity is Madison’s primary passion, she developed a passion for many other creatures, especially farm animals, during her time at Lewis & Clark. She hopes to continue fighting for animals throughout her legal career.

The Impact of Fishing, Overfishing, and Illegal Fishing on Marine Wildlife

Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff presented on marine conservation issues relating to fishing, with a specific focus on overfishing and illegal fishing and the impact of these activities on marine wildlife and ecosystems. His presentation also explored some of the connections between illegal fishing and organized crime.

Please see the resources here.

Dr. Phelps Bondaroff is an expert in illegal fishing and his work on the subject has played an important role in efforts to re-conceptualize illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing from an administrative crime to a serious form of organized wildlife crime. Dr. Phelps Bondaroff conducts research on a wide range of topics as Director of Research for OceansAsia, a Hong Kong-based marine conservation organization.

He has a Ph.D. in Politics and International Studies from the University of Cambridge, and BAs in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Calgary, and lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. His academic research examines the strategic use of international law by non-state actors and political strategy.

The Report on Aquaculture and Fish Welfare in India

This presentation provided a broad outline of HSI/India's aquaculture scoping report; covered the statistics, species, trends of aquaculture in India; possible interventions, as well as HSI/India's recent Roundtable on Fish Welfare and Aquaculture.

Please see the resources here.

Lakshmi Venkataraman is a lawyer who works as a Campaign Manager for farm animal protection at Humane Society International, India. She recently led India's first Roundtable on Fish Welfare and Aquaculture, amongst India's leading farm animal protection stakeholders. She leads HSI/India's Farm Animal Protection Leadership Programme, India's first program for leadership and talent development in the farm animal sector.

Previously, she has worked at the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), where she worked with government agencies and private stakeholders to minimize human-street dog conflict. In her spare time, she likes reading non-fiction, exercising, painting, and learning about Buddhism.

Veganism and the Fate of Our Oceans

Our everyday life use can significantly impact ocean life. Specifically, after the coronavirus outbreak, the waste in the waters dramatically increased. In this presentation, Gary talked about the statistics of impacted aquatic animals, work in OceansAsia, and veganism.

Born in the UK, Gary was raised in the Mediterranean, where his love affair with the ocean first formed. He has been living in Asia for the past 31 years where he has worked as a professional photographer and diving instructor, as well as having an extensive career in food and beverage. He has become an effective ocean advocate due to his ‘no-compromise’ approach. Gary previously held the position of Asia Director for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a position he held for the past 5 years.

Gary has spent the past twenty years investigating and exposing the shark fin industry, gaining international media coverage for the cause, as well as working with airlines and shipping lines to investigate and shut down shark fin shipping routes. When not exposing the shark fin industry, he can be found investigating shipping routes for possible transnational wildlife crimes or on a beach analyzing trash to better understand the plastic pollution crisis.

Besides heading up OceansAsia, Gary also owns a successful plant-based restaurant and bar in Hong Kong, which he uses to help people experience everyday plant-based dishes.

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