PEIN Marine Digest - July 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 ]



Pitcairn Island signs MOU to protect whales and dolphins
PINA - 30 July 2009
The Commissioner for Pitcairn Island says it's joined other Pacific nations by signing a memorandum of understanding which protects whales and dolphins in its region, reports Radio New Zealand International. Leslie Jaques said the significance of today's signing will mean whales and dolphin have a greater protection in waters of the South Pacific territory. Mr Jaques said he's unsure if the Memorandum of Understanding will greatly reduce whaling but he said he thinks whalers will at least know Pitcairn Island have joined with other nations to protect these species...more

Fishing bill hearing if passed, Guam's aboriginal people can fish in preserves
PINA - 28 July 2009
Guam's public tonight can discuss a proposed bill that would allow one ethnic group to fish in local marine preserves while excluding all others, reports Guam Daily news
Senator Judith Guthertz, one of the bill's authors, said the exclusive privileges are designed to give "recognition" to the islanders whose fishing culture was outlawed by Spanish rule more than 100 years ago. If passed, Bill 190 would amend Public 29-127, which grants "special" off-shore fishing rights to indigenous Chamorros, so it instead would allow Guam's aboriginal people and their ancestors to fish in local marine preserves...more

Tuna scientists prepare for first WCPFC Meeting for 2009
Scientists and fisheries managers representing the thirty-seven members, cooperating non-members and participating territories (CCMs) of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission will meet for the fifth annual session of the Commission's Scientific Committee at Port Vila, Vanuatu 10-21 August. The main issue on the agenda will be an appraisal of the likely outcomes of the Commission's bigeye and yellowfin Conservation and Management Measure that was adopted at the last Annual Session of the Commission at Busan, Korea in December 2008. That Measure set an objective of ...more

2nd Meeting Of Pacific Cetaceans Mou Signatories
Scoop - 25 July 2009
Pacific Island states and territories are meeting in Auckland on 28-29 July, to agree a way forward to conserve the whales and dolphins (cetaceans) of the Pacific Islands Region. Many species in the region, such as the blue whale, the humpback whale, the orca and the bottlenose dolphin, are endangered by a number of threats, including entanglement in fishing gear and by-catch, direct hunting, climate change, habitat degradation, pollution, underwater noise and collisions with ships.
The group will agree on an Action Plan containing the region's most urgent priority actions. The Action Plan places emphasis on increasing capacity, awareness and understanding in the region. It outlines how communities can benefit from whale and dolphin -based tourism. Involving local communities in conservation activities is a key to the success of such an initiative...more

Settlements bring in $600,000-plus [Cook Islands]
Contributed by Ana Tiraa - 21 July 2009
Marine resources successfully pursue owners for illegal fishing. Government received almost $650,000 over the past six months in settlements from three South American purse seine vessels that illegally fished in the country's waters between 2006 and 2007. The ministry of marine resources took administrative action with each case because it was not able to actually take them into custody and take them to court. The settlement amounts negotiated by the ministry were figures based on penalties previously delivered by the high court for similar offences including the case of the seized long liner FV Adelita in 2006 that received a fine of $450,000. While secretary Ian Bertram is satisfied with the outcome of the three separate illegal fishing cases, he says the country needs to start making the settlements much higher to serve as a real deterrent.

Large corals may survive: researchers
PacNews - 16 July 2009
A study of reefs off French Polynesia has found some coral species are likely to survive climate change, reports Radio Australia. The study was conducted by a group of international marine researchers. They included scientists from the Australian Research Council centre of excellence for coral reef studies, at James Cook University, in Townsville, Queensland . Researcher Dr Lucie Penin said even if the larger types of coral survive global warming, there will still be consequences for the ecosystem. "These ones are massive; they are like huge boats and they don't have branches," she said. "So it's harder, for example, for little fish. "Fish can hide between branches of the branching coral but they can't do that with the massive ones. "Some fish, as well, have very precise targets in terms of food. Some butterfly fishes eat only one kind of coral."

Pacific Islands Report - 15 July 2009
After donating funds for approximately one hundred mangrove seedlings to Japanese Not-For-Profit Organization (NPO) Tuvalu Overview in 2008, the Republic of China (Taiwan) Embassy to Tuvalu this year is donating enough for an additional 500 seeds. The sprouting seedlings will then be collected and transferred to Funafala where they will be planted to protect the environment. In his remarks, Ambassador James Tien revealed that climate change and global warming are forms of non-traditional security issues and that many countries must cooperate to battle against these threats. Tuvalu is renowned for being affected by climate change, sea level rising and sinking land. [PIR editor's note: Mangroves, which provide raw materials for atoll residents, also help protect coastal areas from tidal erosion.] ...more

Scientists ponder a plan to clean up the Pacific Ocean's giant plastic blob
Kelowna - 15 July 2009
It has been described as the world's largest rubbish dump. Deep in the northern Pacific Ocean, the bottle tops, plastic bags, discarded nets, toothbrushes, toys and myriad other objects that make up what has been dubbed the "plastic vortex" cover an area twice the size of Texas. Just over a decade after it was discovered, some conservationists believe that it is now too large to ever be removed. Yet an audacious scheme could clear up the six million tonnes of plastic estimated to have collected in the swirling currents. It would utilize a floating "processing plant," a ship anchored next to the vortex, that could convert some of the plastic into diesel to power the plant. If the conservationists' initial experiments, which will be recorded for a National Geographic documentary, prove successful, they hope to build a prototype and eventually export the idea to other oceans and rivers clogged with plastic debris... more

GUAM NATIVE RIGHTS GROUP WANTS FISHING ACCESS: Traditional subsistence fishing clashes with marine preserves
Pacific Islands Report - 14 July 2009
The Taotaomona Native Rights Group is preparing to go up against the Guam Legislature later this month in an effort to amend a public law relating to the native fishing rights of the Chamoru people. On May 24, the group submitted a new set of rules and regulations to legislators, specifically regarding indigenous fishing rights. According to Trini Torres, a member of the native rights group, the new set of rules stems from years of frustration over the Department of Agriculture's current regulations governing the island's marine preserves... more

Rising tides, declining fish worry the northern Pacific
PacNews - 10 July 2009
Climate change and the future of fishing are key concerns of nations in the northern Pacific, says a visiting Australian politician. Beyond the immediate effects of the global economic crisis, "atoll countries like the Marshall Islands are very much focused on climate change" said Duncan Kerr, Australian parliamentary secretary for Pacific Island Affairs. "So they are very interested in the $150 million that Australia has committed to adaption programmes," he told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat programme. "They plainly want to encourage Australia to work with the Pacific in Advocacy International forums for climate change action." ... more

WE SAY: Commitment to protect marine resources
Islands Business - July 2009
'...the countries have demonstrated to the world the virtues of working together for the sustainability of the entire planet. Such an initiative must be supported at all costs and must serve as a shining example in all existing and future initiatives of cooperation in the otherwise all too fractious policy practices of the collective Pacific islands' The Coral Triangle Initiative on coral reefs, fisheries and food security, signed during the World Ocean Conference in Manado, Sulawesi in Indonesia, last month, is perhaps the most significant programme in recent times in relation to the home environments and ecosystems of millions of people who traditionally live in marine and littoral zones including all coastal, island and atoll populations. The area known as the Coral Triangle comprises a 75,000-square-kilometre area straddling Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Indonesia. It makes up just a puny one percent of the earth's surface but contains as much as 76 percent of the world's coral reef species and 37 percent of its reef fish species. The area supports the lives and livelihoods of over 100 million people living in these countries and beyond. Leaders of the six Coral Triangle countries concluded the summit with state members and donors pledging some US$120 million in funding for coral conservation activities in the Coral Triangle area. This is a welcome development and is a praiseworthy initiative especially since this has been fostered in a spirit of safeguarding the common interests of people across political borders and even more so because it is non-binding and not even a treaty but purely a commitment between each of the participating countries... more

New resources: Adapting to Coastal Climate Change: A Guidebook for Development Planners
USAID - 8 July 2009
Provides a detailed treatment of climate concerns and adaptation options in coastal areas. The new Guidebook will assist practitioners and development partners to understand the diversity of climate change impacts expected to affect coastal zones in the developing world, and the options that exist for coastal planners and manager to assist coastal communities worldwide to begin to adapt to these impacts. The document is both a tool itself and a link to other resources valuable for assessing vulnerability, developing and implementing adaptation , and integrating options into programs, plans, and projects... The team is currently applying the tools and methods in a pilot activity in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and delivering training in a variety of venues in collaboration with NOAA and other host country nationals.

The Guidebook is now available at:


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

1) FFA

FFA participates in Pacific Islands News Association Convention in Vanuatu 


2) FFA

Fisheries development in Vanuatu recieves boost


3) FFA

Tuna decision making processes explained



Pacific Plan Achievements



Taiwan gives to the region



Taiwan gives to the region



ADB, Marshall Islands to host Forum on Future of Pacific Tuna Industry



NZ surveillance flight



America uses Treaty to defy new fishing rules



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].

- July 2009

Recurrent disturbances, recovery trajectories, and resilience of coral assemblages on a South Central Pacific reef / M. Adjeroud, F. Michonneau, P. J. Edmunds, Y. Chancerelle, T. Lison de Loma, L. Penin, L. Thibaut, J. Vidal-Dupiol, B. Salvat and R. Galzin. Coral Reefs DOI 10.1007/s00338-009-0515-7*

High latitude, high coral diversity at Rapa, in southernmost French Polynesia / M. Adjeroud , M. Pichon and C. C. Wallace. Coral Reefs Volume 28, Number 2 / June, 2009 p.459*




Compiled by Peter Murgatroyd.