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

The PEIN Marine Digest is a monthly digest of pacific marine news and developments gathered from global news sources and a regional network of Pacific environment officers. 

The PEIN project is coordinated by the SPREP Information Resource Centre with funding assistance from the European Union.



Samoan Tsunami Kills Up to 100, Wipes Out Villages
Environment News Service - 30 September 2009
severe undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 8.3 hit close to the South Pacific island nation of Samoa and the U.S. Territory of American Samoa on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami that has wiped out villages and killed at least 47 people in the region, according to Samoan officials and media reports. The Disaster Management Office in Samoa says 47 people are confirmed dead, but that number is expected to rise as bodies are recovered from the debris. Other officials put the death toll in Samoa at 63. The Samoan capital of Apia was evacuated and thousands of people fled the coastal city. One panicked witness said the tsunami wave was 30 feet (nine meters) high. Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says he is "shocked beyond belief" by the devastation. Speaking on a plane bound for Samoa returning from the UN General Assembly in New York, Tuilaepa described events as an "unimaginable tragedy." ...more

PALAU, JAPAN PLAN CORAL REEF PROTECTION: $2 million project to improve monitoring
Pacific Islands Report - 29 September 2009
Palau and Japan held its first Joint Coordination Committee meeting to discuss the project dubbed as Capacity Enhancement Project for Coral Reef Monitoring which aims to improve the technical capacity of Palau to monitor and manage the Marine Protected Area. The meeting was held on Tuesday at the conference room of Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and was attended by representatives of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and State and government officials and other agencies. It will be a joint effort of PICRC, State governments, Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism and local residents...more

Marshallese president: Climate change real threat
Taiwan News - 29 September 2009
The president of the Marshall Islands said Monday that his nation is one of the "forefront victims" of climate change and called on the world to address a growing environmental disaster that is forcing his citizens to higher ground. President Litokwa Tomeing made the comments as he celebrated the opening of a Marshallese consulate in northwest Arkansas, the first such office for citizens in the U.S. mainland. Tomeing said that if not addressed, climate change could force even more citizens to move to other countries as rising ocean waters claims more of his country's atolls and small islands between Australia and Hawaii. "Especially low-lying island nations, they are forefront victims of the consequences of climate change and the world, as of yet, has not agreed on some definitive actions," Tomeing said through an interpreter. "As you may be aware, not only the Marshallese are moving to higher ground in the United States, but other Pacific Islanders are also moving onto New Zealand and Australia." ...more

Palau unveils plan at UN for shark sanctuary in its territorial waters
PINA - 28 September 2009
Palau has told the General Assembly that it will create the world's first shark sanctuary to protect endangered species by banning all commercial shark fishing within its territorial waters. Palau's President Johnson Toribiong, told the third day of the Assembly's annual General Debate that his country wanted to provide "a sanctuary for sharks to live and reproduce unmolested in our 237,000 square miles of ocean." That is an area bigger in size than France. Speaking at United Nations Headquarters in New York, he urged other countries to join the tiny nation and ban shark fishing in their waters...more

Climate deal a matter of survival for Micronesians
PINA - 28 September 2009
The president of the Federated States of Micronesia has demanded the world "seal the deal" at climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December, reports Radio Australia. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, FSM President Emanuel Mori pleaded for help to delay the inevitable consequences of rising sea levels in destroying his nation. "Micronesia is already experiencing the brunt of negative impacts of climate change," he told UN members in New York. "Sea level rise, changing weather patterns and an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disaster, such as typhoons, are all undermining development efforts. El Nino's have brought increased droughts and increased rainfall causing substantial damages to staple crops...more

SPREP helps with research on dolphins in Solomon Islands
RNZI - 27 September 2009
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program is working with the Solomon Islands government to research the species of dolphins targeted in the live export trade. The Marine Species Programme of SPREP focuses on 3 groups of sea animals which are of conservation concern in the pacific region the dugong, marine turtle and whales and dolphins. The Marine Species Program Coordinator, Lui Bell, has told the Solomon Island Broadcasting Corporation that there is no data on the species of dolphins that exist in Solomon Islands. He says information is needed to see which species of dolphins exist in the Solomon Islands and to see if the ones which are being exported are facing the threat of becoming extinct...more

New US/Kiribati partnership to manage marine protected areas
RNZI - 25 September 2009
A new partnership has been formed between the governments of the United States and Kiribati to enhance the management and protection of two of the world's largest marine protected areas. The agreement establishes a sister site relationship between the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the Phoenix Islands near the equator in Kiribati. The superintendent of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration in the US, Aulani Wilhem, says the combined areas make up 25 percent of the world's marine protected areas...more

Palau pioneers 'shark sanctuary'
BBC - 25 September 2009
Palau is to create the world's first "shark sanctuary", banning all commercial shark fishing in its waters. The President of the tiny Pacific republic, Johnson Toribiong, will announce the ban during Friday's session of the UN General Assembly. With half of the world's oceanic sharks at risk of extinction, conservationists regard the move as "game-changing". It will protect about 600,000 sq km (230,000 sq miles) of ocean, an area about the size of France. President Toribiong will also call for a global ban on shark-finning, the practice of removing the fins at sea...more

Greenpeace responds to Korean diplomat claim
PINA - 24 September 2009
Environmental campaign group, Greenpeace maintains the Korean vessel, Oryong 717, is part of the 8,000 foreign vessels that are emptying the Pacific off its fish, says Lagi Toribau. Toribau, who is Greenpeace's Oceans Campaign Team Leader, said the Korean fishing boat has ignored warning made by scientists that fish stocks in the Pacific are in danger. "In fact, eight of the Pacific island countries, including Kiribati, signed an agreement last year that effectively closes off the high seas pockets even to vessels that are licensed, Toribau told PACNEWS...more

Pacific coral reef destruction continues unabated, says researcher
Pacific Scoop - 22 September 2009
The "tremendous" decline of Pacific coral reefs in the past two decades is continuing unabated, says a researcher. Joan Koven of Astrolabe Incorporated, a non-profit organisation that promotes coral reef conservation, has called for immediate action. She said governments and individuals and should do everything possible to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the principle cause of warming sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification that will destroy coral reefs. "Coral reefs are an important resource and need to be preserved as more than 100 countries rely on them for sustenance, fisheries and tourism," Koven told Wansolwara...more

DOLPHIN TRADE HURTS SOLOMONS TUNA INDUSTRY: Advocates say PNG enjoying 'Dolphin Safe' advantage
Pacific Islands Report - 18 September 2009
Solomon Islands should learn from the Papua New Guinea Tuna Industry experience if it wants to have more foreign investment in this area. Director for the Pacific Region's Earth Island Insitute (EII) Lawrence Makili made the statement after returning from a Tuna Congress in Port Moresby, at the weekend. He said the eyes and ears of all tuna investors are on Solomon Islands because of its involvement in the industry...more

NAUTILUS WINS PNG PERMIT FOR UNDERSEA OIL SEARCH : Canada firm wants to mine for copper off New Britain [PNG]
Pacific Islands Report - 15 September 2009
The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has approved in principle the environment permit for Solwara 1 project within the waters of New Britain. Canada's Nautilus Mineral Inc said in a statement that DEC Minister Benny Allan signed the "approval in principle", signalling the completion of DEC's rigorous internal and independent external reviews of the proposed project. Steve Rogers, Nautilus' chief executive officer said: "This is a major milestone for both the Solwara 1 development and the seafloor resource production industry as a whole. "The approval is testament to the positive environmental and social aspects of seafloor mineral production, as well as to the project design...more

Greenpeace fights tuna trawler
TVNZ - 15 September 2009
A fresh fishing battle has broken out in the Pacific, with Greenpeace forcing a Korean trawler to move out of international waters proposed as a future marine reserve. The Greenpeace ship Esperanza confiscated fishing gear off the vessel MFV Oryong 717 and refused to give it back until the boat agreed to move into the waters off Kiribati, where it has a licence to fish.
The environmental organisation is on a mission to protect rapidly depleting stocks of bigeye and yellowfin tuna, which are being increasingly fished by vessels from the US, Europe and Asia.
In May, Pacific countries proposed that all pockets of international waters located in between their economic zones be closed to fishing activities to allow stocks to rebuild...more

Questions remain over Vanuatu fish processing plant
PINA - 14 September 2009
A lobby group in Vanuatu says there are many unanswered questions surrounding the new fish processing plant at Black Sands near the capital, Port Vila, reports Radio New Zealand International. This comes as China has given the Vanuatu Government the keys to the new plant. But the lobby group, the residents against processing tuna, says the government has said very little about the plant. It said s a review of an environmental impact report on the plant found there were some outstanding issues that needed to be addressed. But the chairman of the group, Michael Taurakoto, said the government has not made the report public. He also adds that the government has been telling people that there is nothing to worry about. "We just want information, if it's really true that there is nothing to worry about then I think people given proper answers for the outstanding issues that have been identified in the report." He also said there are also environmental concerns over Port Vila harbour with an expected increase in fishing boats delivering their catch...more

Fisheries warden to protect Marine Protected Areas [Fiji]
PINA - 14 September 2009
Traditional fishermen have been trained as fisheries wardens to protect Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on the island of Kadavu, just off the Fiji's main island of Viti Levu. Officials from the fisheries ministry from the capital, Suva, have conducted trainings for the new wardens to manage their traditional fishing ground (qoliqoli)...more

JAPANESE FISHING BOAT USES ILLEGAL DEVICE: Greenpeace documents action in Pacific 'pocket'
Pacific Islands Report - 14 September 2009
Activists on the Greenpeace ship Esperanza yesterday witnessed a Japanese vessel hauling a massive catch in the Pacific Ocean using the banned fish aggregating device (FAD). The activists unfurled banners saying 'Marine reserves now' and 'No return from overfishing' as they filmed a Japanese purse seiner Fukuichi Maru take tuna in a pocket of international waters in the Pacific where key tuna stocks are threatened with collapse. Greenpeace media adviser Josephine Prasad said they documented the ship using a fish aggregating device (FAD), supposedly banned in the Pacific region for two months. She said a gaping loophole in the ban was allowing fleets from Japan, the Philippines and New Zealand to continue their plunder of the Pacific...more

SOLOMONS TO CONSIDER CUTBACK IN DOLPHIN EXPORTS: Minister recommends annual quota cut to 50 from 100 animals
Pacific Islands Report - 9 September 2009
It was disappointingly inappropriate for Mark Berman, Associate Director of Earth Island Institute's International Marine Mammal Project, to associate dolphin capture with tuna export, says a government official. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Meteorology, Rence Sore, said Earth Islands Institute also disappointingly fails to recognize that dolphin has economical and cultural values to the traditional and contemporary Solomon Islands society. "Our ancestors lived with dolphins, we are living with dolphins and our grandchildren will continue to live with dolphins. Dolphins are integral to the socio-economic and socio-cultural aspects of livelihood in Solomon Islands. The claim of 'defying logic and international law' with regards to dolphin capture is absurd. It is unbelievably true that Earth Islands Institute has made poor judgments in distancing logic from common-sense," he said in a press statement yesterday...more

KIDS GO HUNGRY IN SOLOMONS' REEF ISLANDS: Climate change, rising sea level cited
Pacific Islands Report - September 2009
Climate change has so badly affected crops in a tiny South Pacific island group that hungry children are being sent home early from school. They do not have enough energy to concentrate on lessons. The Reef Islands are part of the Solomon Islands' far-eastern Temotu Province. A severe food shortage is affecting the nine outlying atolls in the province's north-west. Government officials and Red Cross workers have been visiting the Reef group to compile a report on the situation. Temotu province secretary Freddy Me'esa told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program the team said crop shortages were due to rising sea levels and alteration of the rainfall pattern. "Crop failure in the Reef Islands is due mainly to weather paterns of climate change," Mr Me'esa said...more

CHUUK, POHNPEI GET SOLAR WATER STILLS: Rotarians sponsor installation of 400 units
Pacific Islands Report - 3 September 2009
ROTARIANS from Guam and Japan have teamed up to install solar water stills in Micronesian atolls, where residents constantly experience water shortages. Residents of these areas typically depend on rooftop rain catchments for their water supply, but prolonged droughts associated with El Niño exhaust household storage, leaving residents dependent on groundwater or imported water...more

Fisheries Minister denies live dolphins export plan [Solomon Islands]
PINA - 3 September 2009
Solomon Islands Fisheries and Marine Resources minister, Nollen Leni says he's not aware of any immediate plans to export of live dolphins, reports Solomon Star. Mr Leni said while there have been no preparations for a shipment, he can't understand why the trade is criticised. "Why don't you talk to all these purse seiner companies catching more dolphins with the tuna out in the ocean. "We're only exporting less than a hundred. They're killing more than thousands of dolphins in those giant purse seine nets," said Mr Leni...more

HUNDREDS WATCH AS DOLPHINS CAUGHT IN SOLOMONS: At least ten said being held for shipment
Pacific Islands Report - 2 September 2009
Solomon Islands Marine Wildlife Park yesterday caught about nine dolphins at the Marine school seashore in Honiara. This came days after dolphin advocacy organization Earth Island Institute attacked the Government's policy to export live dolphins overseas. ...more


FFA IN THE NEWS 1 September - 30 September

1) FFA
FFA prepares for WCPFC Subcommittee

2) FFA
FFA supports development of pole and line fishing in PNG and Solomon Islands through DEVFISH

PNG ready for new EU rules

Pole and line fishing assistance through DEVFISH

Pole and line fishing assistance through DEVFISH

PNG's impressive tuna industry

Pacific Tuna Forum interviews with FFA Deputy Director Dr Transform Aqorau

Fishy talks to assist PNG and Solomons

Pacific Islands nations seek tuna rules clarification

Pacific Islands seek outdated fish pact change

11) AFP
Pacific Islands seek outdated fish pact change

Bigeye tuna stocks in Pacific under threat

Bigeye tuna stocks in Pacific under threat

Bigeye tuna stocks in Pacific under threat

Bigeye tuna stocks in Pacific under threat 

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].

- September 2009

Do microbial processes regulate the stability of a coral atoll's enclosed pelagic ecosystem / Hosack, Geoffrey R.; Eldridge, Peter M.. Ecological Modelling, Oct2009, Vol. 220 Issue 20, p2665-2682, 18p; DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2009.07.006*

Floating marine debris surface drift: Convergence and accumulation toward the South Pacific subtropical gyre / Martinez, E; Maamaatuaiahutapu, K; Taillandier, V
Marine Pollution Bulletin [Mar. Pollut. Bull.]. Vol. 58, no. 9, pp. 1347-1355. Sep 2009*


* see also Latest news from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme [SPREP]

** more PEIN Resources [   ]: 

Pacific Environment Databases and Recommended Internet Resources Directory

Pacific Environment Information Network [PEIN] Country Profiles Directory

Pacific Environment Information Network [PEIN] Virtual Environment Libraries:
American Samoa , Cook Islands , Federated States of Micronesia , Fiji , French Polynesia , Guam , Kiribati , Marshall Islands , Nauru , New Caledonia , Niue , Northern Mariana Islands
, Palau , Papua New Guinea , Samoa , Solomon Islands , Tokelau , Tonga , Tuvalu , Vanuatu , Wallis and Futuna

Pacific Environment Information Network [PEIN] Regional Frameworks and Strategies Directory

Pacific Environment Information Network [PEIN] Directory of Pacific Environment Videos on YouTube 

Pacific Environment Information Network [PEIN] Virtual Library of Lessons Learned and Best Practices in Environment Management


 Compiled by Peter Murgatroyd.