PEIN Marine Digest - March 2010

Pacific Environment Information Network [PEIN] Marine Digest

March 2010


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.


SEATTLE GROUP TO MONITOR SAIPAN SALVAGE FIRM: Concern over possible toxic pollution
Pacific Islands Report - 31 March 2010
A Seattle-based nonprofit organization that monitors global trade in toxic materials will scrutinize the ship-scrapping contract of Worldwide Salvage Saipan to make sure that the firm will not violate federal laws and international regulations on exporting toxic vessels...more

Chinese mine company forced to back off as injunction stays
Ramumine - 27 March 2010
The Chinese Metallurigcal Construction Company, MCC, developer of the controversial Ramu nickel mine in Madang province, went to court yesterday, Friday 26 March, to request the injunction against its plans to dump 100 million tons of mine waste in the pristine Basamuk Bay be lifted...more

Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative
Fish and Wildlife Sevice - 26 March 2010
Climate change is the greatest environmental and conservation challenge of the 21st century. The impacts of climate change exacerbate many other existing threats and stressors on fish and wildlife resources. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is soliciting proposals to support the establishment and operation of the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC) in Honolulu, HI. The PICCC is a cooperative project between the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Hawaiii Conservation Alliance (HCA) whose mission is to assist with increased long-term effectiveness of conservation in Hawaiii and other Pacific Islands. The PICCC will provide spatially-explicit, scientific analyses and tools that link biological planning, conservation design, conservation delivery, monitoring and research in an iterative, adaptive cycle... more

SOLOMONS PARLIAMENT CONSIDERS CONSERVATION BILL: Current regulations inadequate to protect resources: Minister
Pacific Islands Report - 25 March 2010
Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo says the Protected Areas Bill 2010 will strengthen existing institutional arrangements to promote and properly regulate protected areas system and biodiversity conservation in Solomon Islands. The Minister of Environment and Conservation was speaking in Parliament when he tabled the Bill yesterday. Mr. Lilo said Solomon Islands has one of the richest marine and territorial resources in the world with only Papua New Guinea surpassing us. However, he said current legislations are inadequate to protect "our marine and territorial resources." ...more

PNG CREATES STAMP OF SINKING CARTERET ISLANDS: Raising awareness of sea level rise
Pacific Islands Report - 25 March 2010
Awareness on climate change in Papua New Guinea has gone a step ahead in creating awareness on a wider scope. Climate change has affected many lives globally and will affect more if the world's governments fail to do something about it. PNG is taking a bold initiative in addressing the problem with Post PNG in partnership with the Department of Environment and Conservation launching a stamp issue featuring the sinking Carteret Islands in Bougainville as a result of climate change. The stamps were launched yesterday and will create awareness in PNG and overseas...more

PALAU ENVIRONMENTALIST SUPPORTS OIL EXPLORATION: President's brother says no coral in area
Pacific Islands Report - 25 March 2010
Francis Toribiong, a known environmentalist is in support of oil and gas exploration in Kayangel State. Toribiong is the Marine Biology Coordinator for Palau Pacific Exploration (PPX) which has secured a million acre drilling concession on the North Block of Palau located at the Velasco Reef in Kayangel State. Toribiong said Velaso Reef has no corals, thus the planned drilling will no impact the environment. "There is no reason why we need to preserve the Velasco Reef," Toribiong said. He is working with the PPX to ensure that the company complies with the environmental impact requirements...more

PIMRIS Portal, the one stop website for all Pacific marine fisheries information
SPREP - 24 March 2010
By the end of this week it will take as much effort as pushing a button for you to have access to a wealth of quality marine and fisheries information from the Pacific. Gone are the days of having to trawl through different websites and constant library visits as you search for information on Pacific marine fisheries and environment. With thanks to the cooperation and contribution of all regional agencies who work in this area, the soon to be launched Pacific Islands Marine Portal has brought everything together in the one website, making life a lot easier when it comes to seeking out information on Pacific marine environment and fisheries...more ...visit the portal -

Ships from polluting mothball fleet in Suisun may go to South Pacific
Oakland Tribune - 24 March 2010
Mothballed ships polluting Suisun Bay soon could be towed and scrapped at a South Pacific island once notorious for its sweatshops and inexpensive labor, according to a business plan filed there.
A company in the Northern Mariana Islands has announced plans to bid on ship disposal contracts and, if successful, tow the aged vessels to the islands' biggest city, Saipan, for scrapping...Because the tiny 14-island archipelago east of the Philippines is a U.S. commonwealth, company officials asserted in lease documents that doing the work there will not violate federal law restricting the disposal of U.S. ships to domestic scrapping yards - nor will it violate an international ban on the exporting of toxic vessels, the company wrote. A member of an environmental group said he was not so sure..."If this company gets a contract, we are going to have a fleet of lawyers looking into the law," said Colby Self of the BASEL Action Network, a Seattle-based nonprofit that monitors global trade in toxic materials. Some of the older Suisun ships "are in horrible condition," he said, and the voyage of more than 4,000 nautical miles through the open Pacific makes "the likelihood of sinking a definite possibility." ... more

New web resource: Pacific Islands Climate Change Virtual Library
NOAA - 23 March 2010
The Pacific Islands Climate Change Virtual Library provides web accessible climate information and products such as adaptation guides, case studies, and decision support tools relevant to Pacific Island coastal managers...
explore the virtual library -

Taiwan to help Kiribati battle rising sea levels: President Ma
PacNews - 23 March 2010
Taiwan will not sit idly by and watch its South Pacific ally battle rising sea levels resulting from global warming, President Ma Ying-jeou said in Kiribati . "We will help seek possible solutions to the global warming that is causing rising sea levels that could eventually submerge Kiribati people's homelands," Ma said during a meeting with Kiribati President Anote Tong after arriving in the island nation ...more

Pacific Islands Report - 22 March 2010
Landowners in Madang have won a David-and-Goliath battle to freeze a Chinese nickel miner's construction of a massive pipeline to dump waste into the sea. The National Court in Madang last Friday ordered work to stop on the nickel mine's previously approved submarine tailings disposal system. The Ramu mine in Madang, operated by the Chinese Metallurgical Construction Group Co (MCC), plans to dump five million tonnes of slurry waste annually into Basamuk Bay. The company was preparing to start blasting coral reefs for the tailings pipeline to be laid. The stop-work order is another setback for the Chinese project, which had suffered a series of problems with the mine's construction and relations with local people. Tiffany Nonggorr, the lawyer representing the Madang landowners, said MCC must find an alternative to dumping the mine waste into the bay...more

CITES rejects trade controls for overharvested corals
WWF - 21 March 2010
Governments participating in the United Nations' species trade convention voted today against implementing better protections for red and pink coral, which are being overharvested to supply the international jewelry trade. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) governments voted against a joint United States and European Union proposal to list all species in the family Corallidae in Appendix II of the Convention...more

OFMP plans to strengthen implementation of fisheries management rules by small Islands
FFA - 19 March 2010
FFA, UNDP, SPC, WWF and SPREP staff met over the past two days to plan a process for the design of a new phase of assistance to Pacific Islands under the Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management Project (OFMP). The Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management Project provides resources from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), to Pacific Islands to strengthen management of their oceanic fisheries. Pacific Islands receive assistance such as training, technical support, fisheries management, legal, compliance and scientific advice and assistance, coordinated and delivered by regional organisations Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA)...more

Samoa Voyaging Society to be Environment Ambassadors
SPREP - 19 March 2010
Crew members of the Va'a Gaualofa from the Samoa Voyaging Society are Environment Ambassadors to celebrate the Year of Biodiversity. While sailing on the open ocean, battering the elements of Mother Nature as part of their voyage, the crew will also be documenting their findings and working to help promote nature conservation and good environment practices. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Programme (SPREP) and the Coral Reef Initiative for the South Pacific (CRISP) are working in partnership with the Samoa Voyaging Society to help spread regional awareness about protecting our environment. Over the next few months, it is planned that seven of the Va'a Gaualofa crew will sail to French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tokelau as part of a Pacific voyaging expedition...more

Impacts of climate change on marine lives
Solomon Star - 17 March 2010
AROUND the world climate change is negatively affecting marine environments and in Solomon Islands, where many people rely on the sea for their livelihood, this is of particular concern.
To withstand the impacts of climate change, coral reefs and other marine ecosystems needs to be resilient. Rence Sore, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Meteorology says that climate change is a big threat to the marine resources that are so important to Solomon Islanders. "An increase in water temperatures, sea level rise, severity of storms and cyclones and ocean acidification will mean that our marine ecosystems will suffer," Mr Sore said.
"But if we look after the health of our reefs, sea grass meadows and mangrove forests we will be helping our environment to fight the impacts of climate change." ...more

CONCERN RAISED OVER CHINESE NICKEL MINE IN PNG : Slurry pipeline called environmental threat
Pacific islands Report - 15 March 2010
In Papua New Guinea, worries have been raised on the slurry pipeline to be used by Ramu NiCo (MCC) Limited and the kind of engineering work that goes into laying it but developers say there is no cause for concern. A miner and a local from Basamuk claimed the pipeline had flaws and was a threat to workers and the environment and public...more

Vaka Gaualofa Assists Coral Survey Team
Pacific Scoop - 13 March 2010
Vaka Gaualofa has helped ensure smooth sailing of the coral survey undertaken in Fagaloa Bay, Samoa. Since May last year, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has worked with the Ministry of Fisheries of the Government of Samoa to carry out a year long coral reef monitoring project at Fagaloa Bay. The project is to assess the impact of the fresh water discharge into the Bay and is funded by the Asian Development Bank in response to complaints from residents in the area who allege that coral health and marine resources have been declining due to a power plant in the area. "We did an extensive survey to assess the live coral cover and the fish population in Fagaloa Bay in July 2009 and since then, we have been doing more targeted surveys every three months to count the baby corals," said Caroline Vieux, SPREP's Coral Reef Management Officer. "There's clearly a problem of coral dying in Fagaloa Bay due to sedimentation in which we experience when we carry out the monitoring but the exact causes for it are still under examination as both natural factors such as cyclones and high water temperature as well as the human factors such as the freshwater discharge from the power plant have to be considered". The most recent surveying carried out in March worked in partnership with the Samoa Voyaging Society and Vaka Gaualofa...more

Islands Business - March 2010
It took two lawsuits over nearly a decade to overcome political pressure and get the US federal government to force Hawaii longline tuna fishermen to change their fishing methods and stop killing false killer whales, a rare species that puts our table manners to shame.
An ISLANDS BUSINESS investigation of that process illustrates how powerful politicians can effectively subvert the law-but not forever. As a result of the lawsuits, an official Take Reduction Team made up of fishermen, scientists and conservationists met in late February for the first time in Honolulu to elaborate a plan to do for the false killer whales what a similar process did for endangered loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles, whose by-catch in the longline swordfish fishery plummeted following court-mandated changes in gear and methods ...more

New Caledonia taps Australia for reef protection
AFP - 11 March 2010
New Caledonia on Wednesday enlisted Australia's help to protect its massive coral reef, the world's second biggest after the Great Barrier Reef. Senior officials said the French Pacific territory hoped to tap Australian research and expertise to maintain the reef, which rings its main island and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. "Australia has long-standing experience in the management of the coral reef," High Commissioner (governor) Yves Dassonville told reporters in Canberra during a visit. "We would like to seize the opportunity of your experience and exchange scientific information on research projects with regard to those two reefs, which are the largest in the world and which are essentially facing each other across the sea." Dassonville also said New Caledonia hoped to set up joint management of the Australian and French economic zones which extend across the Pacific from the huge reefs on either side...more

Pacific Loggerheads to Get Endangered Listing
Honolulu Advertiser - 10 March 2010
Today the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) jointly published a proposal to "up-list" North Pacific turtles to endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result, Turtle Island Restoration Network is calling for the immediate halt to increased capture and killing of Pacific loggerheads in the Hawaii-based longline fishery. "The imminent listing as endangered should trigger an immediate halt to excessive loggerhead capture in the Hawaii swordfish fleet and all U. S. fisheries," said Todd Steiner, Executive Director of Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) of Forest Knolls, CA. "Loggerheads will disappear from the Pacific without stronger protection." The new regulation also proposed the uplisting to endangered of the Northwest Atlantic loggerhead sea turtle and recognizes for the first time a total of nine separate loggerhead populations around the world, seven proposed to be listed as endangered and two threatened. Public comment on the rule will be accepted until June 14, 2010...more

MOOREA REEF BADLY DAMAGED BY CYCLONE: Scientists say some areas unlikely to recover
Pacific Islands Report - 5 March 2010
Scientists say the coral reef surrounding the French Polynesian island of Moorea, has been seriously damaged by last month's Category Four, Cyclone Ollie. They have completed their assessment of the reef and say parts of it may never recover and that could seriously affect future tourism on the island...more

PALAU THROWS BOOK AT TAIWANESE SHARK FINNER: Prosecutors seek $1 million fine, two-years in jail
Pacific Islands Report - 5 March 2010
Government prosecutors is asking the court to impose the maximum penalty against the captain of the Taiwanese vessel charged of shark fishing within Palau waters in a bid to end the rampant shark fishing in the island-nation. However, sentencing was postponed on Friday against the captain of a Taiwanese vessel seized in April, 2009 for shark fishing. Government prosecutors asked for a maximum penalty of $1,000,000 to be suspended except $250,000 and a jail term of two years imprisonment be imposed with 18 months suspended against Fang Chi Rong who was earlier charged with possession of steal leaders , fishing for shark, mutilation of shark and possession of shark , fishing for turtle and possession of turtle...more

EU and RAO Sign 10th EDF Regional Projects
Solomon Times - 5 March 2010
The management of fisheries and mineral resources in the Pacific region will benefit from 22 million Euros that will be injected by the European Union into three projects under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). This follows the signing today in Suva, Fiji, of the first three Financing Agreements under the Regional Indicative Programme for the Pacific, financed through the 10th EDF. The Agreements were signed by H.E Mr Wiepke van der Goot, Head of Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific in Fiji and Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Regional Authorising Officer.

The three projects include:

. Scientific Support for the Management of Coastal and Oceanic Fisheries in the Pacific Islands Region (SCICOFish)
. Deep Sea Minerals in the Pacific Islands Region: Legal Framework and Resource Management
. Development of sustainable tuna fisheries in Pacific ACP countries phase 2 (DevFish ) ...more

Ancient corals offer new hope for reefs
PacNews - 4 March 2010
Scientists say they're studying ancient fossil corals near Papua New Guinea to determine how coral reefs might withstand effects of climate change. In what's called the world's first study of what happened to coral reefs when ocean levels sank to the lowest recorded level -- more than 390 feet below current sea levels -- researchers say they're found some indications that coral reefs might be able to survive the huge stresses imposed by human activity. The research involved eight fossil reefs in Papua New Guinea's Huon Gulf region and scientists concluded a rich diversity of corals managed to survive, although they were different in composition to corals under more benign conditions...more

[Community dynamics of Pleistocene coral reefs during alternative climatic regimes / Danika Tager, Jody M. Webster, Donald C. Potts, Willem Renema, Juan C. Braga, John M. Pandolfi (2010) . Ecology: Vol. 91, No. 1, pp. 191-200]

Marianas Says U.S. Has Failed to Fulfill Ocean Monument Promises
NY Times - 1 March 2010
More than a year after President George W. Bush created a vast marine national monument near the Northern Marianas Islands, the federal government has yet to make good on promised investments in the islands. Bush created three marine monuments near U.S. territories in the Pacific Ocean just weeks before he left the White House, part of a bid for a positive environmental legacy. The largest marine reserve, the Marianas Trench National Monument, encompasses nearly 61 million acres of submerged areas and waters and is the world's third-largest ocean reserve. The designation was hailed in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The islands' leaders said the reserve would bring international attention and federal investment, but they say they have been left empty-handed. The monument has no advisory council, no management plan and no plans for a visitor center or science education outreach...more

Micronesian Challenge to develop coral reef monitoring protocol
PacNews - 1 March 2010
The five jurisdictions representing the Micronesia Challenge (MC) have agreed to develop a coral reef monitoring protocol to aid them in effectively conserving marine and terrestrial resources across Micronesia by the year 2020, a consensus reached during the recently concluded MC workshop in Koror. "We're working on developing a monitoring protocol," said Yimnang Golbuu, chief researcher, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC). "We want those protocol to be used not only in Palau but overall the MC countries, all five jurisdictions." ...more

COOK ISLANDS SIGN FISHERIES CONSERVATION TREATY : Protects non-tuna species form over-fishing
Pacific Islands Report - 1 March 2010
The Cook Islands has become the second country to sign a treaty on the conservation and management of high seas fisheries this month. While in Wellington earlier this month, deputy prime minister and minister of marine resources Robert Wigmore signed the Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean (SPRFMO) on behalf of the country. The treaty covers the Pacific Ocean south of the equator from West Australia to the West, and to the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Chile and Peru to the East. It protects non-tuna species from over-fishing. The country has two Cook Islands flagged fishing vessels in the Jack Mackerel fishery west of Chile and Peru. The treaty was negotiated over eight sessions and participants included the European Union, United States, Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Peru...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].

- March 2010

A collective approach to Pacific islands fisheries management: Moving beyond regional agreements / Hanich, Q; Teo, F; Tsamenyi, M. Marine Policy [Mar. Policy]. Vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 85-91. Jan 2010.*

Policy implications of protected area discourse in the Pacific islands /Bartlett, CY; Maltali, T; Petro, G; Valentine, P. Marine Policy [Mar. Policy]. Vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 99-104. Jan 2010

Community dynamics of Pleistocene coral reefs during alternative climatic regimes / Danika Tager, Jody M. Webster, Donald C. Potts, Willem Renema, Juan C. Braga, John M. Pandolfi (2010) . Ecology: Vol. 91, No. 1, pp. 191-200. doi: 10.1890/08-0422.1 *


* 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.