PEIN Marine Digest - November 2009

Pacific Environment Information Network [PEIN] Marine Digest

November 2009


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.


Coral Triangle group calls for massive emissions cut
PacNews - 20 November 2009
The six member countries of the Coral Triangle group say that developed countries should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2015. Environment ministers from the group's members - Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand, East Timor and Solomon Islands - have been in Honiara this week for the fifth Coral Triangle Initiative senior officials meeting. Solomons Minister for Environment Gordon Darcy Lilo said they have identified three critical threats to their marine ecosystem: sea-level rise, ocean acidification and coral bleaching. With a new secretariat for the group being established in Indonesia, Mr Lilo said the Coral Triangle countries have been galvanised into a major drive for action on climate change...more

AMERICAN SAMOA'S ROSE ATOLL TOPIC OF HEARING: Some residents object to 50-mile protective boundary
Pacific Islands Report - 20 November 2009
In American Samoa, public hearings have been held in Manu'a since late last week to gather input on the Rose Atoll National Marine Monument with a public hearing in Tutuila set for Nov. 19 at the Convention Center.The hearings are conducted by the Intergovernmental Committee - comprised of local and federal officials- as complaints were received early this year about the proposed 50 nautical miles out boundary. Manu'a lawmakers and some residents are arguing that the proposed 50 nautical miles out boundary will take away their traditional fishing grounds...more

PALAU STANDS TO LOSE KAYANGEL TO SEA LEVEL RISE: President Toribiong urges action to stop climate change
Pacific Islands Report - 19 November 2009
Palau will lose a significant amount of land if the prediction of the 2001 International Panel on Climate Change that there will be a rise of between 0.2-0.9m in sea level by 2100 will come through. President Johnson Toribiong in his speech before the World Ocean Forum in Korea last week said climate change will affect the low-lying coastal areas, erosion and inundation are also major risks to Palau. According to data, in Palau it is forecasted that the Kayangel atoll in Palau will be inundated by sea water and may cease to exist by 2100 if the sea level rises close to one meter from its current level...more

AUSTRALIA NAVY CLEANS SAMOA SHORELINE: 60 crewmembers clear debris from beaches, reefs
Pacific Islands Report - 18 November 2009
The naval crew of the Royal Australian transport ship the HMAS Tobruk mounted a much needed clean up campaign yesterday, along the seafront of the villages struck by the tsunami on the south coast about 4 weeks ago. Over 60 crewmembers devoted a full day's clean up, at the same time, showing how it should be done and demonstrating techniques to the local communities on how to remove debris remaining on the beach and in the reefs. The 'clean up the reef' project, as it is called, began in the Lalomanu affected areas where beach fales of Litia and Taufua once stood because it is a beautiful tourist site, which Australians loved and enjoyed...more

RARE SAMOA TURTLES VICTIMS OF TSUNAMI: At least 40 turtles lost in shoreline nests
Pacific Islands Report - 18 November 2009
Among the mass casualties in Apia, Samoa, destruction of homes, schools and businesses, people's belongings swept away and natural resources in ruins from the tsunami, the story of what has become of our rare turtles has been untold as well as unseen. According to Principal Environment Conservation Officer Malama Moemausu, the sea grass between off-shore islands of the south coast and the Aleipata wharf is one of the reasons why it is known as the best nesting and feeding areas for sea turtles. Unfortunately, post-tsunami assessments revealed that these areas were significantly destroyed from the deadly wave, leading to the destruction of these nesting areas and the killing of over 40 sea turtles...more

MELANESIA MULLS REVISING FISHING QUOTA : Concern over fishing impacts on 'Coral Triangle'
Pacific Islands Report - 18 November 2009
A meeting on preserving the Coral Triangle says it is considering revising fishing quotas. Senior officials from the six countries bordering the triangle - Malaysia, Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Solomon Islands - are currently holding talks in Solomon Islands. The triangle, which is the world's richest marine area, has been threatened by a population increase and unsustainable fishing practices. However, the Solomon Islands Minister for Environment, Conservation and Meteorology, Hon Gordon Darcy Lilo, who is chairing the meeting - says they're confident of agreeing on new fishing quotas and practices that would help protect the area...more

Countries agree on Pacific fish pact
PacNews - 16 November 2009
Agreement was reached last week on a new organisation to manage South Pacific fisheries. Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley announced a new convention text had been agreed which would create a regional fisheries management organisation to manage non-highly-migratory fisheries in the high seas. The organisation would manage deep sea fish stocks such as orange roughy and pelagic species such as jack mackerel, Mr Heatley said. More than 20 countries have been meeting last week in Auckland to establish the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO). "This new convention is a key milestone in sustainable management of South Pacific fisheries," Mr Heatley said...more convention text ... visit PacificRFMO website

Sharks to be protected from slaughter
NZ Herald - 16 November 2009
More than 80 species of sharks that frequent the Pacific oceans will now be protected under a new regional plan of action. Their protection means cultural practices based around the shark will also be preserved. Sharks are not just significant in the marine environment, they are also very much ingrained in Pacific-region cultural myths, legends and current oratory traditions, say experts...The protection of sharks was enacted today by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) during the launch of the Pacific Islands Regional Plan of Action on Sharks. According to FFA at least 80 species of sharks and rays occur within the Pacific Islands region. Around half of these species are considered to be highly migratory, therefore fishing impacts upon them must be internationally managed. Due to their low productivity and long life span, these species are particularly vulnerable to overexploitation...more

NEW ZEALAND SCIENTISTS PREDICT DRAMATIC SEA RISE: Level could rise by up to 1.5 meters by 2100
Pacific Islands Report - 13 November 2009
New research indicates sea levels may rise by up to one and a half metres by 2100. The findings have been released by the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University, in Wellington, New Zealand. The centre's director, glaciologist Tim Naish, says the latest range of plausible sea-level rise - of between half and one and a half metres - is based on observations to calculate how much water is likely to come from melting polar ice sheets. Dr Naish was speaking at a media briefing before international climate change talks in Copenhagen...more

Afloat in the Ocean, Expanding Islands of Trash
New York Times - 9 November 2009
ABOARD THE ALGUITA, 1,000 miles northeast of Hawaii - In this remote patch of the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from any national boundary, the detritus of human life is collecting in a swirling current so large that it defies precise measurement. Light bulbs, bottle caps, toothbrushes, Popsicle sticks and tiny pieces of plastic, each the size of a grain of rice, inhabit the Pacific garbage patch, an area of widely dispersed trash that doubles in size every decade and is now believed to be roughly twice the size of Texas. But one research organization estimates that the garbage now actually pervades the Pacific, though most of it is caught in what oceanographers call a gyre like this one - an area of heavy currents and slack winds that keep the trash swirling in a giant whirlpool. Scientists say the garbage patch is just one of five that may be caught in giant gyres scattered around the world's oceans...more

Key Pacific fisheries meetings outcomes
Pacific Scoop - 9 November 2009
The 5th Regional Steering Committee was held on 7 November 2009, the final steering committee meeting for the project which ends its first phase in December 2010. Achievements of the Project were detailed in science, fisheries management and fisheries monitoring, ...The 5th Regional Steering Committee was held on 7 November 2009, the final steering committee meeting for the project which ends its first phase in December 2010. Achievements of the Project were detailed in science, fisheries management and fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance.
Discussions on a potential second phase of the Oceanic Fisheries Management Project agreed:
* That the contribution of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) towards assisting Pacific SIDS in oceanic fisheries management was invaluable and much had been achieved under the current project phase;
* That the concept for a further phase of the project support by GEF needed to be ready for an early as possible submission to minimise the impacts of the gap between the current project and the next phase on the delivery of priority activities ...more

COOKS PARLIAMENT TO CONSIDER SEA MINING RULES: Environmental, cultural impacts among concerns
Pacific Islands Report - 6 November 2009
Parliament's final sitting of the year is set to be held on November 23-27. The main item on the agenda is the passing of the Seabed Minerals Bill which sets out the laws and regulations covering the exploration and mining of the country's manganese nodule resource...more

Kiwi charity heads to Tonga to help clean up the beaches
TV3 - 5 November 2009
New Zealand based charity is attempting to develop a sustainable waste management system for small Pacific Island states. The group from the charity 'Sustainable Coastlines' has made a start in one of the most difficult places, the Ha'apai Islands in Tonga. The Ha'apai Islands don't have any form of landfill or recycling system...more

Pacific climate change meeting divided on how to tackle the effects of rising sea levels
RNZI - 1 November 2009
A Pacific Islands meeting on climate change has ended without a cohesive position on tackling the effects of rising sea levels. Professor Patrick Nunn, who chaired the meeting, says some Pacific Island countries argue if mitigation of gas emissions is carried out effectively there will be no need to adapt to climate warming. He says this is an untenable view as climate change is already having an impact. "There is mounting concern from the Pacific Island countries at the pace of climate change in the Pacific. That said, there was not any discussion of a coherent regional position at that meeting that the Pacific Islands should take with regard either to adaptation or to mitigation." Patrick Nunn says plans should be made now to relocate people living in vulnerable areas and not in twenty years time when it's too late...more

Guam Reefs Included In $7.2M Joint Protection Effort
Guam News - 1 November 2009
As a U.S. territory, Guam is among Pacific Islands included in a multimillion-dollar joint effort to protect American reefs from the harmful effects of climate change, overfishing, and land-based pollution. In what amounts to a sustainable resources project, the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the nonprofit Nature Conservancy will each contribute $3.6 million to defend the health of coral reef ecosystems in the Caribbean, Florida, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands...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].

- November 2009

Disturbance and the rising tide: the challenge of biodiversity management on low-island ecosystems / Ross, Michael S., Joseph J. O'Brien, R. Glenn Ford, Keqi Zhang and Anne Morkill.Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2009 7(9): 471-478. doi:10.1890/070221*

Benthic foraminifera records of complex anthropogenic environmental changes combined with geochemical data in a tropical bay of New Caledonia (SW Pacific) / Debenay, Jean-Pierre and Jean-Michel Fernandez. 2009 Marine Pollution Bulletin 59(8-12): 311-322. oi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.09.014 *



* 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.