PEIN Marine Digest - October 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.


NOAA, The Nature Conservancy Address Coral Reef Threats: Four-year agreement supports projects totaling $7.2 million
NOAA -30 October 2009
NOAA and The Nature Conservancy have entered into an agreement to protect the health of the nation's valuable but increasingly vulnerable coral reef ecosystems in the Caribbean, Florida, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. The four-year agreement will dedicate $3.6 million in NOAA funding and $3.6 million in matching funds from The Nature Conservancy to address the top three threats facing coral reef ecosystems: climate change, overfishing, and land-based sources of pollution...more

SOLOMONS LAUNCHES ENQUIRY INTO SHORELINE RIGHTS: Clarity sought on legal, customary ownership of resource
Pacific Islands Report - 29 October 2009
The Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission (LRC) will today launch its consultation paper for an enquiry into the law and custom that applies to land below high water and low water mark. The launch of the consultation paper marks the beginning of public consultation by the LRC for this enquiry. The consultation paper, to be launched by the Minister for Justice and Legal Affairs, the Honourable Laurie Chan, gives information about the current written law (legislation) that applies to this area of land and identifies issues that need to be considered during the enquiry. The paper also gives information about the law of neighboring countries over this area of land, and asks questions about how the law should be changed in Solomon Islands. The land below high and low water mark is the beaches, foreshores, reefs and seabed...more

Pacific Islands Report - 27 October 2009
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), met this week and agreed to actions to advance their interests in securing greater economic benefits from the tuna resources and co-ordinate and harmonise the management of common fish stocks for the benefit of their peoples. The Parties to the Nauru Agreement are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu and often are referred to as the PNA. Their 3rd Implementing Arrangement, adopted in 2008, follows a tradition of innovation by PNA leaders in developing new initiatives to manage tuna resources in the region. Many of the measures of the PNA were also adopted at the last meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission such as the high seas pockets closure, controls on Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) and the coverage of purse seine fishing vessels with observers.

Outcomes from the PNA Officials and Ministerial meeting this week include:

ESTABLISHMENT OF A PNA OFFICE: Ministers agreed to the establishment of the PNA Office in the Marshall Islands from 1 January 2010...more

Moving to close high seas pockets
Solomon Star - 26 October 2009
THE parties to the Nauru Agreement are to investigate closing off additional high seas pockets to rein in illegal tuna fishing. The fisheries ministers from the PNA countries - the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu - met in Kiribati this week. The PNA aims to secure greater economic benefits from tuna and co-ordinate and harmonise the management of the resource. This week's meeting agreed to establish a PNA office in the Marshall Islands next year. The ministers have also agreed that further work be done on closing additional high seas areas because they provide a safe haven for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing...more

Call to protect Pacific Ocean from overfishing
PacNews - 19 October 2009
Scientists are calling for large ocean areas to be protected in a similar way to the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland's coast. Most of the world's open ocean is still unprotected and fishing is largely uncontrolled in international waters. Professor Bob Pressey from the Centre of Excellence for Reef Studies said satellite technology is making the concept of protecting the entire southern Pacific Ocean a reality...more

Samoa tsunamis obliterate some coral, spare others
AFP - 17 October 2009
Scientists surveying American Samoa's coral reefs say Sept. 29's tsunami obliterated some corals and damaged others to the point that they may not recover. Researchers say more assessments will be needed to get a full sense of how the disaster affected coral in the U.S. territory. But in at least one area, the damage was so severe, and the affected area already in such bad shape before the tsunamis, that the coral may never return. There's an additional threat the surviving coral may suffer secondary damage weeks after the tsunamis if waves drag heavy debris from people's wave-wrecked homes - like refrigerators, tin roofs and other objects - across the reefs. Mounds of household goods dislodged by the giant waves are still sitting in the water off tsunami-torn villages...more

Former Commonwealth Secretary General sees sea level challenges as global responsibility
PacNews - 16 October 2009
Former Commonwealth secretary general Don McKinnon is describing planning for the future of Kiribati and Tuvalu in the light of rising sea levels, as a global responsibility. Mr McKinnon said proactive strategies now could help avoid a panic response in the future. He said the people of Kiribati and Tuvalu need new options in case their islands disappear and they should be consulted now on possible solutions...more

PALAU TO RECONSIDER POSITION ON WHALING: Country has backed Japan's 'research' whaling
Pacific Islands Report - 15 October 2009
President Johnson Toribiong said Palau will revisit its current position on whaling. The president in an interview said that he will be looking into Palau's position anew to ensure that the countries present position will not contribute to the depletion and extinction of whales. Toribiong, recently declared Palau as a shark sanctuary before the United Nations General Assembly head of states. For marine protection, the president said, the country also needs to protect other marine species in Palau...more

A Sea of Change for Island Nations
Environmental Protection - 15 October 2009
Saturday, Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed will lead a cabinet meeting underwater. The unusual choice of location is to practice for later in the century when low-lying Pacific Island nations will find themselves inundated, thanks to the impacts of climate change. The political leaders of these countries know they don't have the luxury of seeing global warming through rose-colored glasses. Without action, the almost 9 million citizens of these island nations will be swallowed up by the sea. Conservative estimates of sea level rise over the next century promise "disproportionately great effects" for island states. Some are expected to disappear by the end of the century. Others may not disappear, but rising sea levels will create severe environmental problems that may make them uninhabitable. But as demonstrated by Nasheed, the leaders of these nations are not going down without a fight. One leading voice is President Anote Tong of Kiribati. Tong knows that his country's citizens "will have to face up to the reality of their islands being unable to support life," possibly in as little as 50 years from now. Tong has proposed a reasonable and practical solution: relocate the people of Kiribati around the globe. There are tremendous logistical, legal, and cultural downsides to the plan, but Tong remains clear-eyed in his focus-the most important thing is to guarantee the survival of his citizenry...more

SHIP'S ENGINEER PLEADS GUILTY TO POLLUTION: 370 tons of oily bilge dumped off Guam
Pacific Islands Report - 14 October 2009
A former chief engineer of a vessel being charged in federal court for discharging approximately 370 tons of untreated oily bilge waste overboard from a ship, has entered a plea agreement with the U.S. government. Under the plea agreement, John Wylie Davis, also known as Jack Davis, will plead guilty to the charges of false statement and failure to maintain an Oil Record Book. The charges carry maximum penalties of 11 years in prison, US$500,000 fine, six years of supervised release, and a US$200 court assessment fee...more

Climate to affect PNG's tuna stock
The National - 14 October 2009
PAPUA New Guinea could lose millions of kina through a decline in its stock of tuna as a result of climate change. While the Government is planning to build tuna canneries and processing plants, it does not have a plan to prevent the migration or loss of the tuna. Prof Simon Saulei, who is the director of the Papua New Guinea Forest Research Institute, sounded this warning yesterday.
"In the next 20 to 30 years, there will be a decline in the tune stocks due to climate change and its adverse effects on the marine environment. "However, the Government does not seem to have any strategic plan in place to counter tuna migration," Pro Saulei said. He said there was a likely trend that the country's tuna stock, especially skipjack tuna, was projected to migrate to the east of the Pacific Ocean by the year 2050, thus leaving PNG's waters with less tuna stock...more

Pacific activists catch Japanese pirate boat in Cook Island waters
Pacnews - 12 October 2009
Greenpeace has called for the arrest of the captain of the Japanese ship Koyu Maru 3, the fishing boat caught fishing illegally in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Cook Islands. "The Koyu Maru 3 and other pirate fishing vessels are stealing fish for their own profit, depriving the people of the Cook Islands of a vital source of income said Josua Turaganivalu, Oceans Campaigner of Greenpeace Australia Pacific on board the Esperanza. "These pirates of the Pacific must be stopped from plundering ocean life and robbing local communities." ...more

TOURISM: TO TONGA, TO TONGA FOR A WHALE ENCOUNTER : Tourists head to king's country
Islands Business - October 2009
So what does the Kingdom of Tonga have that other similarly placed South Pacific countries don't? Apart from the obvious answer that they still have a ruling monarch, the answer to this question for a growing number of tourists lies out to sea. In Tonga, you are allowed to swim with the many humpback whales that congregate in their waters during the winter months...more

REPORT TAKES MEASURE OF SAMOA DAMAGE: Coastal resources assessed [American Samoa]
Pacific Islands Report - 8 October 2009
Six villages on Tutuila sustained the "most severe damage" due to last Tuesday's tsunami caused by a massive earthquake 120 miles away, according to a 14-page 'Post-Tsunami Coastal Resource Damage Assessment" draft report compiled by the Governor's Coral Reef Advisory Group. This report documents a rapid coastal resource assessment of Tutuila in the days immediately following the tsunami with the main focus of the assessment on coastal and marine debris that could impact territorial coastal resources as well as environmental health from oil spills, septic systems and piggeries. "Overall, it appears that there are no urgent environmental health concerns although a number of items will require significant attention during the coming weeks to ensure that ecological impacts are minimized," the report says. "The most severe damage was found at Poloa, Amanave, Leone, Pago Pago, Alao, and Tula although widespread damage was also reported from Masefau, Vatia, Amaluia, and Asili." ... more ... download report -

PALAU TO ENFORCE BAN ON SHARK FISHING: President to petition Japan, Taiwan governments
Pacific Islands Report - 6 October 2009
The Senate on Tuesday killed the measure which calls for the repeal of the existing law which prohibits commercial fishing of sharks within Palau's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The bill was tabled and action will no longer be taken on it. The death of the controversial Senate Bill 8-44, came after President Johnson Toribiong declared Palau's EEZ as shark sanctuary before his address at the United Nations General Assembly... more

Authorities meet to improve fight against oil spills in the region
PINA - 2 October 2009
Representatives from regional port authorities are meeting in the capital this week to plan how to better respond to major oil spills in the Pacific, reports Fiji TV. The important gathering is being facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, SPREP, with funding from the International Maritime Organisation. For a region surrounded and connected by the vast Pacific Ocean, responding to anything that can harm that delicate balance is crucial. And thats exactly that these regional port authority reps are doing in Fiji where experiences from learning to tackle oil spills is being shared...more

Massive ocean-floor rupture caused killer wave [Samoa]
The Age - 1 October 2009
A RUPTURE in the ocean floor, possibly 300 kilometres long and 200 kilometres deep, caused the tsunami that devastated Samoa. The magnitude 8.0 earthquake would have pushed the crust on one side of the fault up to seven metres higher than the other side, scientists estimate. This vertical uplift generated waves that were more than three metres from crest to trough by the time they hit the Pacific island, 200 kilometres to the north. The earthquake occurred in one of the most geologically active areas of the world, where the Pacific Plate is plunging westward under the Australian Plate at a rate of 86 millimetres a year...more

SOLOMONS DOLPHIN TRADE CALLED OBSTACLE TO FISHERY: Conservationists say tuna canneries won't invest in country
Pacific Islands Report - 1 October 2009
Earth Island Institute says dolphin dealer Chris Porter is misleading the public when he said tuna investment and dolphin trading are two separate issues. The Institute's director Mark Berman and his regional associate Lawrence Makili said their organisation is the recognised dolphin safe tuna certifier worldwide for 95 percent of the world's canned tuna markets. "Porter's allegations that tuna companies torture dolphins when catching tuna is without any basis with regards to tuna companies that are audited by Earth Island Institute," they said in a statement. The statement said 95 percent of the world's markets that are dolphin safe adhere to the Dolphin Safe Policy of Earth Island, which states that no dolphins can be chased, encircled, netted, harmed or killed in tuna fishing operations..more



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].

- October 2009

A collective approach to Pacific islands fisheries management: Moving beyond regional agreements / Hanich, Quentin; Teo, Feleti; Tsamenyi, Martin. Marine Policy, Jan2010, Vol. 34 Issue 1, p85-91, 7p; DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2009.04.018*

Policy implications of protected area discourse in the Pacific islands / Bartlett, C.Y.; Maltali, T.; Petro, G.; Valentine, P.. Marine Policy, Jan2010, Vol. 34 Issue 1, p99-104, 6p; DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2009.04.021*

Environmental effects on forage and longline fishery performance for albacore (Thunnus alalunga) in the American Samoa Exclusive Economic Zone / DOMOKOS, RÉKA. Fisheries Oceanography, Nov2009, Vol. 18 Issue 6, p419-438, 20p, 2 charts, 11 diagrams; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2419.2009.00521.x*

A comparison of two surveys of invertebrates at Pacific Ocean islands: the giant clam at Raivavae Island, Australes Archipelago, French Polynesia / Andréfouët, Serge; Friedman, Kim; Gilbert, Antoine; Remoissenet, Georges. ICES Journal of Marine Science / Journal du Conseil, Oct2009, Vol. 66 Issue 9, p1825-1836, 12p*

Migration and coastal resource use in Papua New Guinea / Cinner,J.E. 2009. Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 52 (8): 411-416 pp *


FFA IN THE NEWS 1 October - 31 October 2009

1) FFA

Pacific Islanders achievements in driving international tuna

commission highlighted at UNDP-GEF conference


2) FFA

Outcomes from PNA meeting this week


3) FFA

FFA members make gains at WCPFC committee



Pacific tries to show way in sustainable tuna fishing



More moves mooted to curb illegal fishing in the Pacific



Pacific tuna power



Pacific fishing observers



Pacific tuna blacklist expected to grow



Blacklist of tuna vessels to grow following FSM meet



PNA meeting outcomes



PNA awaits fishy talks outcome



Outcomes from PNA meeting this week



FFA conducts regional training



FFA  workshop concludes



US Discounts Pacific Fisheries Concerns



This story was featured in the Fiji Sun, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation

Limited Radio, National Broadcasting Corporation (PNG), Solomon Star,

One News (Solomon Islands) & Vanuatu Independent



Observers in Pacific



Observers identify needs to implement WCPFC decisions



PMIZ wins clan support



U.S. increases catches of bigeye tuna



Marshall Islands plans new fishing laws



Marshall Islands plans new fishing laws



FFA staff donate to tsunami victims



Fisheries top meeting concludes



Fisheries top meeting concludes in Honiara



* 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.