PEIN Marine Digest - June 2009: A digest of Pacific marine news and developments

Pacific Environment Information Network [PEIN] Marine Digest

 A digest of Pacific marine news and developments

[*The PEIN project is coordinated by the SPREP Information Resource Centre ]


June 2009

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Announces $167 Million in Recovery Act Funding for 50 Coastal Restoration Projects - including $2.9 million for CNMI
NOAA - 30 June 2009
Laolao Bay Coastal Restoration (LaoLao Beach/Saipan, CNMI) - $2.9 million - In coordination with the grantee, NOAA will directly invest Recovery Act funds to restore Saipan's coral reefs by removing and addressing sources of upland sediment. This will include restoring 15 acres of upland habitat , road upgrades, drainage improvements, and elimination of unsustainable beach activities...more

More time needed for review [Cook Islands]
Contributed by Ana Tiraa - 30 June 2009
The parliamentary select committee tasked with reviewing the Seabed Minerals Bill has asked for another time extension to complete its work. The committee's second report to parliament was tabled by its chairman Terepai Maoate Jnr yesterday. The bill has been introduced to provide control over future mining activities relating to the country's valuable manganese nodule resource.  The report recommended that parliament approve the withdrawal of the bill from parliament to be redrafted with amendments suggested by the committee and that the committee be re-established to work for another 'week or two.'

New web resource: Pacific Islands Marine Portal
Contributed by Peter Murgatroyd - 30 June 2009
The Pacific Islands Marine Portal project is a collaborative project between the Pacific Islands Marine Resources Information System (PIMRIS) and the UNESCO IOC IODE Project Office (Oostende, Belgium) to improve access to Pacific marine information for the Pacific Islands community. The portal contains news, articles and directories of websites relevant to Pacific fisheries and to the coastal and marine environment of the Pacific. The portal integrates resources maintained by SPREP, SPC, USP, SOPAC, FFA , ReefBase Pacific and other regional and global information clearinghouses into a seemless access point for full text documents, maps, GIS data and regional news and developments... visit the portal at

Islands Business - June 2009
The firm licensed to carry out the first large-scale seabed mineral mining project in the world has put it on hold due to the current global economic crisis...In December last year, Nautilus announced it was delaying the construction of the equipment for the Solwara 1 mining system in PNG to preserve its strong cash position. The date they had paraded was late 2010 but now it seems that work could resume as late as the middle of 2011. Other Pacific nations like the Cook Islands, Fiji and Tonga will be putting their hands up too with minerals found in their seabed areas.
"This decision is driven both by the challenges and opportunities presented by the unprecedented speed and severity of the global economic downturn and the uncertainty in the financial and commodity markets...more

EPA can give mitigation grant funds for impacted coral reefs
Saipan Tribune - 26 June 2009
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can provide grants for impacted coral reefs and wetlands in the form of compensatory mitigation plans, according to a presentation by Wendy Wiltse of the EPA Pacific Islands contact office Region 9 based in Hawaii. Wiltse said mitigation plans will provide funding opportunities for environment groups such as the Micronesian Conservation Trust based in the Federated States of Micronesia and programs such as the Micronesian Challenge...more

Whaling commission to extend negotiations for a year
Islands Business - 25 June 2009
International Whaling Commission members agreed Wednesday to extend negotiations over the disputed hunting of the marine mammals for a year, avoiding a disastrous split in the group...more

Whales 'worth more alive than dead': Garret
islands Business - 24 June 2009
Whales are worth more alive than dead, Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett says, backing the billion-dollar whale-watching industry being promoted on the sidelines of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) conference, reports AFP Mr Garrett on Tuesday welcomed a report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which said that in 2008 whale-watching generated $US2.1 billion of tourism revenue worldwide. He was speaking on the second day of the IWC conference in Portugal, where pro and anti-whaling countries are thrashing out the issue of whether to permit increased hunting of the marine mammals...more

Japan's financial hold on Pacific pro-whale votes
Radio Australia - 21 June 2009
The International Whaling Commission's annual meeting begins tomorrow in Portugal, and again pro-whaling nations' arm-twisting for support from Pacific nations will no doubt take place. This time, however, the gathering will have some of the heat taken out of it as a number of contentious issues will not be up for a vote... CAVANAGH: Lining up against each other are two of the main protaganists - Australia and Japan. Australia has been pushing for a whale sanctuary in the Great Southern Ocean and an end to Japan's killing of whales for so-called scientific research. This at times has strained relations between Tokyo and Canberra. However Whaling Commission members won't be asked to vote this time on a number of controversial issues. Instead a sub-group which has met several times already is trying to come up with something that could possibly be agreed to by both sides the next time it is put to a vote. This could cause tension between Australia and a number of Pacific nations which have previously sided with transcript of interview.

Cook Islands tourism said to be threatened by pollution
RNZI - 21 June 2009
The Chairman of Takitumu Lagoon Committee in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands says the country's tourism industry could be jeopardised if progress is not urgently made in reducing pollution in its lagoons. Teariki Matenga's comments come after a call by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community for its members to urgently step up measures to combat land degradation and desertification. Mr Matenga says the community at large and the government must monitor chemicals seeping into its lagoons. "There's excessive algae which is very evident at this stage. We have corals which are dying, which have contributions from various causes, bearing in mind the global warming issues. Now when these algaes smother all these corals, you know nice looking corals that we have in the lagoons, it denies them exposure to sunlight and therefore killing them."
Teariki Matenga says continual damage to the coral could affect the tourism industry, through fewer visitors to the lagoons.

AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND DOING WHALE RESEARCH: Joint effort to pressure Japan on whaling
Pacific Islands Report - 19 June 2009
Australia and New Zealand are sending their first joint whale research expedition to the Antarctic. The move is partly aimed at pressuring Japan to stop killing whales for what it calls its scientific research. The expedition was announced during talks in New Zealand between Foreign Minister, Murray McCully and his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith and comes ahead of next week's meeting in Portugal of the International Whaling Commission. Mr. Smith says the expedition displays both countries' commitment to non-lethal whaling research. "We think that it is a good scientific venture in any event to do scientific research about whales, whaling stock and the like in the Southern Oceans." ...more

Fiji: Coastal people place ban on fishing grounds
IOSEA - 17 June 2009
Local communities along the Coral Coast will soon create resource management plans and "no-take" areas in their traditional fishing grounds to increase their stock. It will address the decline in valuable reef fish, giant clams and beche-de-mer as well as address a general deterioration of reef resources, according to a release from SeaWeb -- a communication-based nonprofit organisation that uses social marketing techniques to advance ocean conservation. The traditional chiefs from the coastal districts of Navosa province sought assistance from Fiji's locally-managed marine areas (FLMMA) -- a network of partners dedicated to assist local communities manage marine resources, to explore how well their local action is working. An ambitious project, funded by NOAA's International Coral Reef Conservation headed by Dr Bill Aalbersberg of the University of the South Pacific Institute of Applied Science (IAS), is evaluating the success of four community-based locally-managed marine areas. The sites being monitored include Biausevu, Komave, Navola and Namatakula. Head of Reef Explorer, Fiji, Victor Bonito and the team from IAS are working together with local communities to collect information on biological, socioeconomic and governance indicators...more

CNMI MEETS MICRONESIA CHALLENGE CONSERVATION TARGET: Exceeds 30 percent near-shore fisheries protection
Pacific Islands Report - 17 June 2009
Not even halfway to the target year, the CNMI's fishery has already achieved the Micronesia Challenge of conserving 30 percent of the near-shore marine resources, according to Division of Fish and Wildlife's fishery section. Fishery supervisor Mike Trianni, in an interview yesterday, said conserving the marine resources on fishery side from Rota all the way to the northern islands, the CNMI has exceeded the 30 percent target. If the measurement is from Rota to Saipan only, the conservation is getting close to the said level, Trianni said. The Micronesia Challenge is an agreement among the Micronesian islands to effectively conserve 30 percent of near-shore marine resources by 2020...more

TONGA'S SEABED A WEALTH OF VALUABLE MINERALS: Nautilus Minerals hopes to develop undersea resources
Radio Australia - 16 June 2009
High concentrations of gold, silver, copper and zinc have been found in seafloor mineral deposits in Tonga. The results were announced on Toronto Stock Exchange by Nautilus Minerals. Nautilus minerals has exploration licences in a number of Pacific countries and hopes to become the first company in the world to commercially mine seafloor minerals...more

New Web Resources: A new on-line system to view and study the world's marine protected areas
11 June 2009
At a time when the world's oceans are facing unprecedented pressures from human impacts in the marine environment, a new decision-making tool is being launched to provide the most current and relevant information about marine and coastal biodiversity and its protection status.  This marine protected areas tool ( ), created by the United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is part of the recently redeveloped World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) - the authoritative and most globally comprehensive list of marine and terrestrial protected areas. "Marine protected areas are critical to the future of the oceans and they will ensure that the ecosystem services on which millions of people around the world rely for their livelihoods and existence will be maintained," explained Kristian Teleki, Head of the One Ocean Programme and Director of the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN) at UNEP-WCMC. "Without Marine Protected Areas and the efforts of governments, conservation organisations and communities around the world to manage and conserve the marine environment, the future of the oceans and the diversity of life contained within them will be jeopardized." ... more ... go to website

Feds approve 3-year marine conservation plan for CNMI
Saipan Tribune - 11 June 2009
The federal government has approved the amended three-year marine conservation plan for the CNMI which identifies 12 objectives and 22 programs or projects for potential funding under a Pacific Insular Area Fishery Agreement, including an exclusive economic zone enforcement program and foreign fishing revenue for the Puerto Rico dump cleanup. In the May 29, 2009 Federal Register, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced its approval of the amended marine conservation plan for the CNMI. "This agency decision is effective Oct. 6, 2008 through Oct. 6, 2011," NOAA said. Gov. Benigno R. Fitial submitted the amended marine conservation plan dated March 2009. NOAA said the March 2009 document revises the objective related to domestic fisheries development, and the prioritization of projects. "The amendments are aimed at further promoting the development and enhancing the economic viability of CNMI fisheries," NOAA said. The amended marine conservation plan contains 12 objectives which are consistent with the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council's five existing fishery management plans. These include data collection and reporting; resource assessment and monitoring; incidental catch, bycatch, and protected species interaction; management procedures; and marine conservation education. The plan also identifies 22 programs or projects associated with the plan objectives for potential funding under a Pacific Insular Area Fishery Agreement...more

Islands Business - June 2009
Top climate scientists have found that climate change is happening faster in the world than they had predicted. The United States Geological Survey report predicts that by the year 2100, the sea level would rise an extra 1.2 metres and temperatures would increase more than they had earlier predicted. According to the new report, the world will "face the possibility of a much more rapid climate change than previous studies had suggested." The new report, commissioned by the US Climate Change Science Programme, found that in light of the recent ice sheet melting, global sea levels could rise by as much as four feet (1.2 metres) by 2100. The IPCC (UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) had projected a rise of no more than 1.5 feet by that time, but satellite data over the last two years show the world's major ice sheets are melting much more rapidly than previously thought. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are losing an average of 48 cubic miles of ice a year, equivalent to twice the amount of ice in the Alps. Even Lord Stern, the British economist who produced the single most influential political document on climate change in 2006, admits he under-estimated the risks of global warming and the damage that could result from it.  The situation is worse now than when he completed his review, he told a conference in Copenhagen on March 13...more ... download report


Forum Fisheries Agency in the news ..(compiled by Anouk Ride)


Region on tuna prices



Fishing frenzy



Pacific islands seek more money from Asian nations



Pacific islands seek more money from Asian nations



Pacific Islands borrow OPEC idea to fix price



Tuna cartel?



Heads of regional bodies meet here



Training looks at reducing by-catch endangered species



HSH Prince Tu'ipelehake attends FFC Ministerial



SPC marks World Oceans Day



SPC wants to help reduce number of turtles caught accidentally



Tuna cartel draws global attention



Heads of Regional Organisations meet in Solomon Islands



French Minister questions Pacific fishing policies



Pacific fisheries officials discuss Tuna Commission protection measures



Officials consider further Pacific moves to end depletion of tuna fishery





Fisheries officers here for meet



Fisheries Trade News



Forum Fisheries Agency ready to support Niue fish processing plant



Countries meet to explore options for international fisheries meeting



Officers learn about illegal fishing



Officers learn about illegal fishing



Fisheries officers here for meet



Course underway in fisheries surveillance tactics



Articles of note - a selection of recent academic literature

Compiled by Peter Murgatroyd . Articles marked with an * are available from the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via OARE [Online Access to Research in the Environment].

- June 2009

An overview of socio-economic and ecological perspectives of Fiji's inshore reef fisheries / Teh, Lydia C.L.; Teh, Louise S.L.; Starkhouse, Ben; Rashid Sumaila, U.. Marine Policy, Sep2009, Vol. 33 Issue 5, p807-817, 11p*

Thresholds and multiple scale interaction of environment, resource use, and market proximity on reef fishery resources in the Solomon Islands / Brewer, Tom D.; Cinner, Joshua E.; Green, Alison; Pandolfi, John M.. Biological Conservation, Aug2009, Vol. 142 Issue 8, p1797-1807, 11p*

Impact of a coastal dump in a tropical lagoon on trace metal concentrations in surrounding marine biota: A case study from Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)
/ Denton, G.R.W.; Morrison, R.J.; Bearden, B.G.; Houk, P.; Starmer, J.A.; Wood, H.R.. Marine Pollution Bulletin, Aug2009, Vol. 58 Issue 3, p424-431, 8p*



Compiled by Peter Murgatroyd.