PEIN Marine Digest - May 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.

Pacific Islands Report - 31 May 2010
New research into coral reefs in the Pacific show sea snails are causing catastrophic damage. Victoria University's Costal Ecology Laboratory Director, Dr Jeff Shima, has been tracing the fate of coral in French Polynesia. He says a type of worm snail native to the Pacific can inhibit the growth of some species of coral by up to eighty per cent...more

POLLUTION THREATENS RAROTONGA LAGOON : Report shows Takitumu Lagoon in decline
Pacific Islands Report - 31 May 2010
The Takitumu Lagoon Health 2010 Report Card indicates that the state of the lagoon is in decline. Results this year are slightly worse than those of last year and again, five of seven lagoon sites failed a test that measured them against international marine health standards. The lagoon itself qualifies as "suitable for swimming" under World Health Organisation standards, but streams flowing into it have proven to be heavily polluted...more

MYSTERY OIL SEEPS FROM FIJI SHORELINE: Investigators collect samples
Pacific islands Report - 28 May 2010
The Fiji Mineral Resources Department yesterday made a second trip to Malake Island, Ra, to collect samples of oil slick oozing on the village shoreline. Director Ian Fong said the collection of samples at the site was part of a series of investigations. "We have not established what it is or where it originates from," he said late yesterday afternoon. "We came here on Monday and then again today -- whether we return again will depend on today's findings. I still have a team that is working on the island." ...more

Australia initiates legal action against Japanese whaling
Wireupdate - 28 May 2010
Australia will initiate legal action in the International Court of Justice in The Hague against Japanese 'scientific' whaling in the Southern Ocean, the Australian government said on Friday. "The decision underlines the Government's commitment to bring to an end Japan's program of so-called 'scientific' whaling in the Southern Ocean. It also demonstrates our commitment to do what it takes to end whaling globally," said Canberra...more

'PLASTIKI' A MARVEL OF PLASTIC WASTE: 60-foot catamaran visits Samoa
Pacific Islands Report - 27 May 2010
A 60-foot catamaran made from 12,500 plastic bottles rescued from the rubbish is anchored in Apia, Samoa today. Called the Plastiki, the vessel and her crew are on a journey of more than 11,000 nautical miles to draw attention to the shocking amount of waste dumped in the sea. And to showcase the message that waste can be recycled...more

Pacific lessons to learn from Deepwater Horizon event
SPREP - 26 May 2010
5,000 barrels estimated at over 800,000 litres (at the time of this article) of oil are being discharged daily into the Gulf of Mexico, washing ashore along the Gulf Coast in the United States lapping at the Louisiana shoreline. This follows the tragic turn of events when an oil drilling rig caught fire, exploded, burned for two days and then sank in 1,500 metres (5,000 feet) of water killing 11 workers. The recent Deepwater Horizon event has leaking oil reaching the US coastline with the local fishing industry facing an estimated loss of USD 1.5 million per month as they are unable to fish. This estimate does not include those that come under fire due to the ripple effect such as the net suppliers and tourism fishing industry who are all under threat...While this did not happen in our backyard, the stark reality is that oil related disasters, albeit of lesser magnitude and scale, though potentially as devastating, are an ever-present threat to our islands and our ocean. The smallness of most Pacific island nations makes us even more vulnerable to such disasters as, in many cases, we may not have the national capacity to respond effectively to address them but Horizon again shows, even industry and advanced countries can be similarly challenged...more ... download lessons learned document

Big eye tuna nears being over-fished
Islands Business - 25 May 2010
The big eye tuna species is close to being over-fished unless countries of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) cut their fishing rate by 30 percent. This is according to a 'Status of stocks report' (1/2008) on both purse seine fishery and long-line for the period 2004 to 2008 that was compiled by the secretariat of the Pacific community (SPC). The status report was disclosed to the forum fisheries committee (FFC) of 17-member countries including PNG at its 74th meeting in Solomon Islands from May 11-14...more

UN fish stocks review opens with dire outlook - Palau sounds alarm for sharks
PacNews - 25 May 2010
Environmentalists and scientists warned of collapsing fish stocks and tiny Pacific nation Palau sounded the alarm for sharks as diplomats Monday launched a weeklong review of high seas fisheries. The international conference will "take a hard look" at how to put some teeth in a 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, according to conference chairman David Balton, a U.S. deputy assistant secretary for oceans and fisheries. Palau's call for an international moratorium on shark finning came at the outset of a review held once every four years to address the declining numbers of fish stocks under the U.N. agreement, which took effect in 2001...more

DMWR and the village of Fagamalo create new Fishery Management Area [American Samoa]
DMWR - 23 May 2010
The Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources and the village of Fagamalo have partnered together to create the first long-term closed fishing area in Tutuila. Fagamalo has been involved in the Community Based Fishery Management Program (CFMP) for more than five years and has opted to keep their CFMP area closed to any type of fishing throughout this time period. They have now decided to expand their boundaries, taking into account guidance and advice from the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, to create a larger area closed to fishing... This is the first of a proposed network of no-take areas or FMAs in American Samoa. The Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources will continue to work with other villages to establish a network which will help to sustain the fish populations of American Samoa into the future.

Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management Project celebrates World Biodiversity Day with the launch of tuna species factsheets
FFA - 21 May 2010
Ever wondered what tuna is found in your country? How long tuna lives? What tuna is overfished and what tuna is sustainable? What other species are caught with tuna? These questions and more are answered in a set of factsheets produced by the UNDP/GEF-funded Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management Project...more

PALAU CLOSES NGEMELIS ISLES TO TOURISTS: Action to protect marine life
Pacific Islands Report - 21 May 2010
To preserve the marine resources is one of the main reasons of the Koror State Government in passing a law removing the Ngemelis Islands from the list of tourist activity areas. Last week the Island was closed after Gov. Adachi signed the Koror State Public Law (KSPL) No. K9-216-2010 on April 23, 2010. However fishing within 200 yards is still permitted. But Adachi said he is asking the legislature to reinstate the no fishing zone within one mile of the Islands' buffer zone including the diving spot ...more

FFA - May 2010
Project focal points from Pacific Island countries and participating agencies in the project FFA, SPC, IUCN, WWF met with UNDP to discuss and finalise plans for the submission for another phase of GEF funding. The meeting noted the substantial progress made as part of the Oceanic Fisheries Management Project in establishing the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) incorporating recognising rights of small island developing states. Several innovative conservation and management measures, such as observer coverage of purse seine vessels, closure of high seas pockets and cuts in overfishing of bigeye tuna have been adopted by the WCPFC based on Pacific Island proposals formulated with assistance of the project. The meeting discussed priorities for implementation of conservation and management measures as identified in national consultations and how the project could contribute to meeting global standards for sustainable fisheries management. The Project Document will be submitted to GEF Council in November, following national endorsement and technical review.

FIJI VILLAGE TO PROMOTE DOLPHIN-WATCHING: Activity seen as tourist attraction
Pacific Islands Report - 20 May 2010
The Fiji government is committed to the dolphin watching project in Rakiraki labeling it as an interesting venture between the villagers of Drauni-ivi and the Kader Buses Limited...FIJI VILLAGE more

SEWAGE CONTAMINATES PORT MORESBY OCEANFRONT: Authorities warn people away from water
Pacific Islands Report - 20 May 2010
In Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Health Department and the National Capital District (NCD) have evidence to show that salt water in and around the city is highly contaminated. This means the raw sewerage that is being defecated right into the sea poses a danger to coastal villagers who live off the sea and city residents who use the sea and beaches for recreational purposes. The raw sewerage deposited into the sea not only comes from NCD villagers but from Eda Ranu's sewerage outlet that runs out into the sea from below Paga Hill in Port Moresby. These contain all of the city's sewerage and it is not treated...more

Latest News from IUCN Oceania
IUCN ORO Newsletter
Pacific Island Seamounts - are they under threat?
A 2-day workshop was held in Nadi on 28th and 29th of April to discuss the impacts of longline fishing as well as other activities on seamounts in the Pacific Islands...more

Alofa Tuvalu plunges into the water !
Alofa Tuvalau - 19 May 2010
For 3 years, the French and Tuvaluan NGO, Alofa Tuvalu, has been leading « Tuvalu Marine Life », an extensive study and documentation project aimed at reinforcing Tuvalu's capacities to survey, monitor and manage its marine resources, along with increasing its local and scientific knowledge of them. In 2009, the project's first phase consisted of summarizing existing data and identifying gaps in knowledge. After consultations with the project!s stakeholders, 3 out of 9 islands of Tuvalu have been chosen to host the needed remaining investigations : Funafuti (the capital atoll, at the center of the archipelago), Nanumea (to the north) and Nukulaelae (to the south). Alofa Tuvalu's experts in marine biodiversity, Sandrine Job, Daniela Ceccarelli, Semese Alefaio, are carrying out this second phase in partnership with Tuvalu fisheries (Tupulaga Poulasi and Nikolasi Apinelu), the environment office, local governments, the NBSAP program (National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan), New Zealand Aid, University of South Pacific and others.  Data will be analyzed and shared with other existing networks. Communication tools will then be produced : a reference and patrimonial book about Tuvalu's biodiversity and traditional knowledge, along with useful materials for local communities... more

MAJOR OIL SPILL THREATENS OCEAN IN BOUGAINVILLE: Pilferage at old storage tank caused spill
Pacific Islands Report - 18 May 2010
There is a huge oil spill at Loloho, the former Bougainville copper mine port facility area in Kieta, Central Bougainville. The lives of many Central Bougainvilleans are at risk from this oil, which was used to run the steam turbine generator and provide electricity for the port facilities - used and left 25 years ago by the Bougainville copper mine. Black oil was contained in two 28 million liter tanks left untouched during the Bougainville war. One of the tanks was empty from the crisis days while the other tank was still full with 28 million liters of this outdated oil. The leakage started from steel pipes taken away illegally by experts and individuals from abroad (Cubans, Americans and Asians) collaborating with the locals and illegally transporting the oil out of Loloho for the outside market...more

Phoenix Islands Protected Area starts fundraising; no-take zone to increase over time
MPA News - 13 May 2010
The group responsible for building an endowment to support the 408,000-km2 Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) in Kiribati has set a fundraising target of US $13.5 million to be achieved by the end of 2014. The board of the PIPA Conservation Trust held its first meeting in March, and consists of members from each of the three PIPA partner institutions: the government of Kiribati, Conservation International, and the New England Aquarium. Although the government's vision remains that commercial fishing will eventually be phased out in PIPA the rate of phaseout will be tied to the rate of fundraising. Because Kiribati relies on fishing license revenue for a significant portion of its budget (35%), much of the endowment funding will go to compensate the government for lost fishing license revenue as PIPA becomes increasingly no-take. "The more money the Trust is able to get for the endowment, the more of PIPA will become no-take," says Bud Ris, president of the New England Aquarium and a member of the Trust Board.

International Conference adopts new Protocol on Carriage of Hazardous Substances by Sea
IMO - May 2010
A Protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (HNS Convention), aimed at bringing that Convention into effect, has been adopted by consensus by a Diplomatic Conference convened by IMO at its Headquarters in London. The Protocol of 2010 to the HNS Convention addresses practical problems that have prevented many States from ratifying the original Convention, which, despite being adopted in 1996, has, to date, only 14 ratifications and is some way from meeting the conditions for its entry into force.... For further details see

WE SAY: PNA's closure of high seas a coup
Islands Business - May 2010
'The Parties to the Nauru Agreement has undoubtedly become a force to be reckoned with and has been recognised and lauded as such by the world. Last month, it achieved a coup of sorts when signatory countries agreed for the world's largest closure of the high seas to purse seine fishing from January 1, next year' Last month, the Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) once again showed the great collective result that well honed regional co-operation can achieve.
The agreement which includes eight Pacific islands countries - Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu-achieved a coup of sorts in April when these signatory countries agreed for the world's largest closure of the high seas to purse seine fishing from January 1, next year ... more

Study shows steep drop in Pacific Bluefin Tuna
PacNews - 12 May 2010
The population of large-sized Pacific bluefin tuna with reproductive capacity is shrinking at an alarming rate, in a sign they may face a crisis similar to the one their Atlantic peers are facing, according to a recent study by Japanese researchers...more

Cook Islands aims to have largest Marine Park in the world
PacNews - 12 May 2010
Cook Islands Cabinet has approved a proposal to pursue the establishment of a national marine park. Last month cabinet decided to give the go ahead to local authorities to progress work on the concept. "The Cook Islands has the opportunity to designate a significant part of our waters as a protected marine area and to have the largest marine park in the world," the proposal to cabinet said. The potential marine park would cover all the territorial waters of the southern group islands... more

PIMRIS PORTAL - 10 May 2010
A polynesian fisheries co-operative has been formalised, strengthening the voice of the Southern Pacific members within the Forum Fisheries Agency. The Te Vaka Moana Arrangement means a closer co-operation between the Cook Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau and Tonga fisheries industries. The Cook Islands is chairing the group and it's representative, Peter Graham, says the group members currently share EEZ boundaries and the arrangement will strengthen the work already being done...more

Wave monitoring may help forecast floods for low-lying islands
PacNews - 10 May 2010
A project to measure the force and patterns of ocean waves has installed a monitoring buoy near Majuro Atoll, the first in this region of the Pacific, according to scientists running the programme. Deployment of the buoy is part of a larger project, which aims to improve the understanding of flooding events in the low-lying atolls of the Marshall Islands like one that inundated the capital, Majuro, causing damage and leaving hundreds homeless until homes could be repaired in Dec. 2008, Dr. Murray Ford, a University of Hawaii Sea Grant scientist based at the College of the Marshall Islands in Majuro, "The wave buoy gives us better knowledge of the ocean swell conditions and will improve forecast quality of large swell events," he said. "The project is also looking at what happens to waves once they reach the reef flat. The amount of wave energy - wave height - which reaches the shoreline is what ultimately drives flooding and erosion."...more

Pacific Island Seamounts - are they under threat?
Solomon Star - 3 May 2010
Pacific Island Seamounts - are they under threat? Monday, 03 May 2010 12:33
A two-day workshop was held in Nadi on 28th and 29th April to discuss the impacts of longline fishing as well as other activities on seamounts in the Pacific Islands. Participants from Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, met with experts from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, (SPC), the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the South Pacific Geosciences Commission (SOPAC), The New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA) and the Global Census of Marine Life on Seamounts (CenSeam) to discuss the results of research conducted under the Oceanic Fisheries Management Project, and other regional initiatives. Fishing industry representatives from Tonga, Kiribati, and Fiji also attended...more

PEIN Events -a diary of upcoming regional and international Conferences, Workshops and Meetings of particular relevance to the Pacific environment community


International Pacific Marine Educators Network (IPMEN) Conference. July 6-9, Sigatoka, Fiji
The International Pacific Marine Educators Network (IPMEN) is a developing collective of marine educators throughout the Pacific. The idea for this group was one of the outcomes of a two-day meeting (One Ocean Marine Forum) on the Hawaiian island of Maui in July 2005.The aim of the Forum was to create a global network of marine educators to share knowledge, expertise and resources to solve ocean related environmental issues. It was decided to further the Forum goal by first forming a network of Pacific marine educators as a pilot. The conference theme for IPMEN 2010 is Vakarau ni se siga toka - Marine education in the new millennium. Vakarau ni se siga toka is something Fijian elders used to say (and still do today, but rarely), which translated means "Prepare whilst there is time."...go to conference website -


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].

- May 2010

The importance of ecosystem-based management for conserving aquatic migratory pathways on tropical high islands: a case study from Fiji / JENKINS, AARON P.; JUPITER, STACY D.; QAUQAU, INGRID; ATHERTON, JAMES. Aquatic Conservation, Mar/Apr2010, Vol. 20 Issue 2, p224-238, 13p, 2 Charts, 2 Graphs; DOI: 10.1002/aqc.1086; (AN 49155593)*

Habitat degradation and fishing effects on the size structure of coral reef fish communities / Wilson, S. K.; Fisher, R.; Pratchett, M. S.; Graham, N. A. J.; Dulvy, N. K.; Turner, R. A.; Cakacaka, A.; Polunin, N. V. C.. Ecological Applications, Mar2010, Vol. 20 Issue 2, p442-451, 10p; (AN 49779802)

Sea level extremes in the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands--a coastal hazard scenario to aid in decision analyses / Chowdhury, Md. Rashed; Pao-Shin Chu; Xin Zhao; Schroeder, Thomas A.; Marra, John J.. Journal of Coastal Conservation (Springer Science & Business Media B.V.), Mar2010, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p53-62, 11p, 2 Charts, 5 Graphs, 1 Map; DOI: 10.1007/s11852-010-0086-3; (AN 48569511)*

Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef: A globally significant demonstration of the benefits of networks of marine reserves / Laurence J. McCook et al (2010) PNAS*

Effect of Diel Activity Patterns and Harvesting Pressure on the Diversity and Biomass of Sea Cucumbers in Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands / Christine Buckius, Simon Albert, Ian Tibbetts and , Environmental Management, 45, 5, pp. 963-973*

Oceanographic influences on the dive behavior of juvenile loggerhead turtles ( Caretta caretta) in the North Pacific Ocean / Howell, Evan A.; Dutton, Peter H.; Polovina, Jeffrey J.; Bailey, Helen; Parker, Denise M.; Balazs, George H.. Marine Biology, May2010, Vol. 157 Issue 5, p1011-1026, 16p; DOI: 10.1007/s00227-009-1381-0*

Molecular detection of betanodavirus from the farmed fish, Platax orbicularis (Forsskal) (Ephippidae), in French Polynesia / David, R.; Tréguier, C.; Montagnani, C.; Belliard, C.; Levy, P.; Nédélec, G.; Joufoques, V.; Remoissenet, G.; Gueguen, Y.; Cochennec-Laureau, N.. Journal of Fish Diseases, May2010, Vol. 33 Issue 5, p451-454, 4p; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2761.2009.01136.x*

Responses of atoll freshwater lenses to storm-surge overwash in the Northern Cook Islands.
/ Terry, James; Falkland, Anthony. Hydrogeology Journal, May2010, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p749-759, 11p; DOI: 10.1007/s10040-009-0544-x*

Counting coral reef fishes: Interaction between fish life-history traits and transect design / Kulbicki, Michel; Cornuet, Nathaniel; Vigliola, Laurent; Wantiez, Laurent; Moutham, Gérard; Chabanet, Pascale. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology, May2010, Vol. 387 Issue 1/2, p15-23, 9p; DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2010.03.003*

Coral assemblages and reef growth in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Western Pacific Ocean) / Houk, Peter; van Woesik, Robert. Marine Ecology, Jun2010, Vol. 31 Issue 2, p318-329, 12p; DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2009.00301.x;

Acanthaster planci outbreaks in Vanuatu coincide with ocean productivity, furthering trends throughout the pacific ocean / Houk, Peter; Raubani, Jason. Journal of Oceanography, Jun2010, Vol. 66 Issue 3, p435-438, 4p; DOI: 10.1007/s10872-010-0038-4*

Predators reduce abundance and species richness of coral reef fish recruits via non-selective predation / Heinlein, J.; Stier, A.; Steele, M.. Coral Reefs, Jun2010, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p527-532, 6p; DOI: 10.1007/s00338-010-0592-7*

Home range estimates for squaretail coralgrouper, Plectropomus areolatus (Rüppell 1830) / Hutchinson, N.; Rhodes, K.. Coral Reefs, Jun2010, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p511-519, 9p; DOI: 10.1007/s00338-010-0584-7*

Stable oxygen isotope records of corals and a sclerosponge in the Western Pacific warm pool / Wu, H.; Grottoli, A.. Coral Reefs, Jun2010, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p413-418, 6p; DOI: 10.1007/s00338-009-0576-7*

Mesophotic communities of the insular shelf at Tutuila, American Samoa / Bare, A.; Grimshaw, K.; Rooney, J.; Sabater, M.; Fenner, D.; Carroll, B.. Coral Reefs, Jun2010, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p369-377, 9p; DOI: 10.1007/s00338-010-0600-y*

Habitat degradation and fishing effects on the size structure of coral reef fish communities / Wilson, S. K., R. Fisher, M. S. Pratchett, N. A. J. Graham, N. K. Dulvy, R. A. Turner, A. Cakacaka and N. V. C. Polunin (2010) Ecological applications 20(2): 442-51*

Seamounts are hotspots of pelagic biodiversity in the open ocean / Telmo Moratoa,b,1, Simon D. Hoylea, Valerie Allaina, and Simon J. Nicola. PNAS May 4, 2010, 107 (18) *