Andy Cornish's Blog

Dr Andy Cornish was raised in Hong Kong, and gained a strong interest in wildlife through spending time in Pokfulam Country Park. He studied Zoology at Nottingham University in England, travelled extensively through Central America where he learnt to scuba dive, and later did his PhD on reef fishes at the University of Hong Kong. Since then, he worked for a year doing coral reef management for the government of American Samoa, and taught in the Dept. of Ecology and Biodiversity at the University of Hong Kong. He worked at WWF from 2005 to late 2012 as Conservation Director, and was responsible for four programmes: Climate, Footprint, Local Biodiversity and Regional Wetlands (including management of the Mai Po Nature Reserve). He remains involved in environmental issues on an independent basis.
A Quest for the Responsible Buffet
March 29, 2013

UPDATE - Response from Hong Kong Hotel Association
Here are the key exerts from the reply - what do you think? Would love to hear from others.
All you have written is a reflection of the magnitude of the problem we face in Hong Kong today.  Mr. Nicholas Yim chairs the working group on Food Waste Management Good Practices Guides for Hotels Sector, initiated by Government under a much broader vision designed to use the hotel industry as a role model for food waste reduction, recycling and management. Food-link, Food Angel and EPD are all represented on this working group, which also has 10 hotels and hotel companies sharing best practices.
Although the hotel industry represents only some 3-5% of food waste generated in Hong Kong (60% comes from households) and restaurants and supermarkets also produce substantial food waste to produce each day, there is a consensus among our working group members that we are on a high...

2013-14 Budget out
March 1, 2013

A detailed anlysis of this week's budget for new environmental initiatives reveals .... sod all. While traditionally a disappointment, might we have dared to hope for more under this administration?
Instead I can find at least two anti-environmental initiatives. Firstly and somewhat bizarrely, a major desalination plant at Tseung Kwan O. Given that these are typically energy intensive and that ocean water intakes are pretty much banned in the US due to the mortality of marine life that occurs when they get sucked in - why on earth isn't there more focus on reducing wasteage first and foremost.
And the HK$ 1,800 a month electricity subsidy is back for all, encouraging waste in those who don't need it. WWF analysis a few years ago showed that household electricity demand went up 9% after the...

Sharks, and manta rays targetted by Asian traders
February 21, 2013

In May last year I fulfilled a life-long dream to dive with hammerhead sharks. I had to travel 9,700 km to Mozambique to do it but was amply rewarded. I have rarely felt so alive, bobbing around in a small skiff in deep blue waters teeming with life, never knowing whether I was seconds away from an encounter with mantas, whale sharks, hammerheads, tiger or bull sharks, dolphins or countless other marine creatures. I saw all of these over a ten day period apart from the whale sharks, which eluded me, but never before had I visited an area which still has so many big critters cruising its waters. 
The Scalloped hammerheads were eveything I had hoped for and more. They always seemd to come from behind us during the dives, and while we were in blue water slowly returning to the surface, sometimes one or a pair, and even small schools of up to 15, and oh how lithe and graceful. One school even passed under the boat when we were decompresing inbetween dives, causing several of...

Interview in Action Asia
February 8, 2013

I was interviewed for the following Action Asia article
January 1, 2013 marked the onset of a complete trawling ban and a new era for marine conservation in Hong Kong. But how far is the government committed to monitoring the new law?
The ban is a courageous measure to bring the city’s marine ecosystem back from the brink of collapse. Aside from being an important habitat for the Chinese white dolphin, Hong Kong is also home to a surprising range of living reef communities, with 10 out of its 84 hard coral species first discovered in local waters.
Enforcement lies with Marine Police, who will be stepping up joint patrols with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Anyone caught trawling illegally faces a hefty fine of HK$200,000 and a six-month jail sentence.
Independent ecologist Dr Andy Cornish, who...

Ex-Quarry Consultation Finishes Tomorrow (6th Feb)
February 5, 2013

In my 8th December blog I shared an idea about creating a sustainable living park in the old quarry on Lamma Island, based loosely on the famous Project Eden in Cornwall. Lots of you seemed to like the idea … thanks, and here’s an update.
Blogs alone won’t change anything though, so I, and many others including Living Lamma attended a public consultation meeting on the 19th January in Central . The consultation process is very old-school and out-dated, in that government has come up with three designs, all of which they are happy with, and simply want input on which is the most popular. Anyone could air their views and I used my time to point out that all three designs were versions of the same design featuring a mix of housing, restaurants, waterfront promenade, watersports facility etc. And that options should be provided that did not include housing...

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