Around the Region

Petrobras to appeal huge oil-spill award

Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras plans to appeal a February state court ruling that it pay fishermen indemnities totaling R$1.1 billion (US$520 million) in the wake of a major January 2000 oil spill, calling the decision “patently unfair.” The decision concerned a spill in which a pipeline linking a Petrobras refinery just outside Rio de Janeiro to an island storage terminal ruptured near the point where it enters Rio’s storied Guanabara Bay. The 340,000 gallons (1.3 million liters) of released refinery oil caused extensive fish kills and polluted mangroves that are crucial to the local marine food chain. (See “Oil spill triggers regulatory action in Brazil”—EcoAméricas, Feb. 2000). In its February ruling, a Rio de Janeiro state court based the indemnity amount...

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“Guaranteed hunts” in Argentina drawing fire

Argentine wildlife-conservation groups are denouncing the proliferation here of so-called guaranteed hunts, in which wild animals are captured and then freed at a set time and place to ensure they’ll be tracked down by the hunters who have paid to kill them. Critics of the practice say organizers of the hunts are catering to a growing international clientele attracted to Argentina’s relatively low costs. They claim the animals, often malnourished and sometimes sedated, include not only the collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu), capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) and puma (Felis concolor), which are legal to hunt in Argentina, but also the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) and the jaguar (Panthera onca palustris), which are not. The jaguar, classified as near-threatened by the World Conservation Union (IUCN...

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Peru mahogany-export limit exceeds recommendations

Peru will allow 13,000 cubic meters of mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) to be exported this year, well above the harvest limit recommended by experts at La Molina National Agrarian University (Unalm), which is responsible for overseeing the sustainability of the species. A report issued in late January by Unalm forestry professor Ignacio Lombardi recommended setting the annual mahogany quota at a maximum of 1,105 trees, equivalent to about 8,900 cubic meters (3.77 million board feet) of usable wood. It also advised against harvesting in areas where there are fewer than 2,000 mahogany trees per hectare, such as the department of San Martín. The National Institute of Natural Resources (Inrena) set the higher export limit, equivalent to about 5.5 million board feet, in a resolution that was...

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