PEIN Marine Digest - June 2010

The PEIN Marine Digest is a monthly digest of pacific marine and fisheries 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.


NEW CALEDONIA ACID SPILL TRIGGERS PROTEST: Environmentalists angry over lack of prosecution
Pacific Islands Report - 30 June 2010
Environmentalists in New Caledonia are planning a demonstration against the lack of legal action for last April's acid spill from the Vale nickel mining plant. The leak killed thousands of fish and affected the World Heritage protected Prony Bay during a test run of Vale New Caledonia's new facility...more

WHALING COMMISSION STYMIED, JAPAN CONTINUES HUNT: Palau loses bid to restrict Japan hunt
Pacific Islands Report - 30 June 2010
Palau's position calling for a limited commercial whale hunt has been defeated after the International Whaling Commission ended without an agreement. President Johnson Toribiong in a telephone interview said ["We ]will continue to insist on a policy to ensure the conservation of whales." Toribiong also clarified that Palau's voting rights were reinstated since June 4 contrary to reports that it was barred from voting for failing to pay their annual fees...more

Pacific exchange on marine sanctuaries underway
Tahitipresse - 25 June 2010
A bi-lateral agreement forged in 2009 between the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the French Marine Protected Areas Agency (Agence des aires marines protégées) has led to increased efforts to further regional cooperation between Pacific Islands. Delegates from French Polynesia and France are visiting Hawaii during the Pacific Exchange...more

WWF Pacific spokesperson says impasse shows there's no support for whaling
PacNews - 25 June 2010
A spokesperson for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pacific says the break-down in talks at the International Whaling Commission in Morocco shows there's no support for Japan to kill whales in the Southern Ocean. Delegates have this week been discussing a plan to end the moratorium, and instead make gradual cuts to the number of whales killed, but those talks have now been suspended for a year...more

APN Global Change and Coral Reef Management Capacity in the Pacific
CentralMalaita blogspot - 25 June 2010
A two day workshop was held on 9 and 10 June at the Marine Studies Centre at USP, and it came at an opportune time as it coincides with 2010 being the year of biodiversity. The workshop was facilitated by USP IMR and PACE-SD and with kind support from the Asia Pacific Network (APN) for Global Change Research. The "Global Change and Coral Reef Management Capacity in the South Pacific" workshop reflected on engaging scientists and policy makers in Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu and Tonga so that policy makers can be apprised of the impacts of global change and of those factors that are affecting the healt h of our coral reefs, using the most recent information available... more

Japan to carry on whale culling
Islands Business - 25 June 2010
Three years after key IWC members began to look for a way out of the organisation's deadlock, the package to deliver renewed rights to commercial whaling in exchange for tighter regulated catches hit a wall in Agadir this week. The chief sponsor of the talks, the United States, said: "We regret that the IWC failed to reach agreement on a new paradigm that would improve the conservation of whales." ...more

DEAD FISH A MYSTERY ON PORT MORESBY SHORE: Authorities investigate unusual sight
Pacific Islands Report - 24 June 2010
Lots of dead fish floating in the sea along Ela Beach in the Port Moresby yesterday caused fear among beach users. The fish, in all sizes were floating in the sea and some were washed ashore due to the prevailing wind. Beachgoer Bonny Aiyat of West Sepik said the dead fish were causing an alarm ... more

17 nations barred from whaling vote
PacNews - 23 June 2010
Seventeen mostly pro-whaling nations have had their voting rights suspended at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Morocco, in what could be a blow to Japan's hopes of resuming commercial whaling. Delegates at the Agadir meeting are currently engaged in secret talks in a bid to break the deadlock over proposals to allow Japan to resume a limited commercial whale hunt in exchange for a reduction in its so-called scientific whaling program in the Southern Ocean.Yesterday's meeting deputy chairman Anthony Liverpool said about one-fifth of the meeting's 88 member states would not be allowed to vote. The countries include Palau, the Marshall Islands, Ghana and Gambia and are mostly drawn from the pro-whaling bloc which had been expected to back Japan's move. They have been suspended for reasons including failing to pay their annual fees. Solomon Islands, meanwhile, failed to show up at the meeting...more

Pacific Islands Report - 23 June 2010
The group of scientists who advises the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council will meet on June 22-24, 2010, in Honolulu to make decisions that could have significant impact on the amount of fish that fishermen can catch in the U.S. Pacific Islands, including the CNMI. The Scientific and Statistical Committee will consider methods to set annual catch limits, or ACLs, for fish species caught in the exclusive economic zone waters of the Western Pacific Region, which span 3 to 200 miles offshore of Hawaii, American Samoa and Guam and 0 to 200 miles offshore of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and eight U.S. Pacific remote islands areas...more

EMIRATES TO SUPPORT PALAU DUGONG PROTECTION: Arab state pledges assistance grant
Pacific Islands Report - 22 June 2010
The United Arab Emirates has expressed interest in assisting Palau in the protection of dugongs.Mandy Etpison, proponent of the Dugong Awareness campaign in the country said that UAE will be giving a technical assistance grant to Palau for this effort...more

OIL-COVERED TURTLE RESCUED IN KOROR HARBOR: Rare sea turtle nursing at dolphin facility
Pacific Islands Report - 22 June 2010
A Olive Ridley sea turtle covered in oil is being nursed back to health after boat operators rescued it floating in the harbor...more

PNG UNDERWATER GAS PIPELINE 'RECIPE FOR DISASTER': Geologist says Exxon's plan poorly conceived
Pacific Islands Report - 22 June 2010
A GEOLOGIST says the proposed LNG Gas pipeline to be laid across the Gulf Province sea has a potentially unstable geological condition and should be abandoned. That's the recommendation of a study carried out by a geotechnical engineering company that stated the proposed offshore submarine LNG pipeline to Port Moresby is a "poorly thought out" proposition...more

Return to commercial whaling could be determined by tiny Pacific island: International Whaling Commission 'peace plan' would seek agreement on catch limits based on scientific advice
The Guardian - 18 June 2010
One of the world's smallest states could determine whether commercial whaling is legitimised after a 25 year ban. The Pacific island of Palau, which only achieved nationhood in 1992 and has a population of just 20,000, has said it intends to switch sides and join other anti-whaling countries at a crucial meeting next week. The proposal to resume commercial whaling will be voted on in the next few days by the 88 countries who are members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). If passed by a 75% majority, a new system of whaling quotas set by the IWC could be in place within months...more

Marshall Island official dismisses responsibility claim for Gulf spill
PacNews -18 June 2010
A senior Maritime Affairs official in the Marshall Islands says the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico met the safety standards and was inspected regularly. It has been suggested the Marshalls should be held responsible for the explosion, which killed 11 people and flooded the open sea with crude oil, because the rig was registered in the Marshalls...more

CLIMATE CHANGE BRINGS HARDSHIP TO REEF ISLANDS : Fish scarce in the easternmost Solomons
Pacific Islands Report - 18 June 2010
Villagers of Tuo in the Reef Islands of Temotu are now suffering the double impacts of climate change. Apart from coastal erosion, villagers there are now experiencing a decline of marine resources...more

MARSHALLS DENOUNCE 'DISTORTED' NEWS REPORT: Official reportedly confirms bribes for whaling vote
Pacific Islands Report - 18 June 2010
The Marshall Islands foreign minister accused the Sunday Times of London of "falsifying" and "distorting" information in a news report that claimed a Marshall Islands official confirmed that this Pacific nation votes in favor of Japan's whaling program because of Japanese aid. The Marshall Islands' vote at the International Whaling Commission "is not for sale," Foreign Minister John Silk said in a statement issued Wednesday in response to the Sunday Times article...more

Island states must be united on whale stand, says conservationist
PacNews - 17 June 2010
A Pacific conservationist says Island states need to unite at next week's International Whaling Commission (IWC) convention in Morroco to protect their whale sanctuaries from Japan. Sue Taei heads to Morocco from Samoa tomorrow for the IWC meeting which will vote on whether to lift the moratorium on commercial whaling. She said many Pacific nations have declared whale sanctuaries in their exclusive economic zones and these now constitute an area of more than 18 million square kilometres... more

PNG TO LAUNCH $3 MILLION TUNA TAGGING PROGRAM: Country seeks to protect a threatened resource
Pacific islands Report - 17 June 2010
Papua New Guinea's National Fisheries Authority says it's taking ownership of the country's fish resource with a new multi-million dollar tuna monitoring programme...more

CHINESE NICKEL MINER THREATENS TO LEAVE PNG: Lawsuit seeks to forbid waste disposal in sea
Pacific Islands Report - 17 June 2010
Concerns have intensified over the possible closure of the Ramu nickel project and attempts have been made to get the people who have taken out the injunction on developers to withdraw their case...more

KIRIBATI DENIES ACCEPTING BRIBES FOR WHALING VOTE: Sunday Times probe turns up willing partners
Pacific Islands Report - 17 June 2010
Kiribati has strongly denied allegations by a British newspaper that it was bribed to back Japan's pro-whaling vote at the International Whaling Commission...more

SAMOA EMBARKS ON $2.6 MILLION SEWER PROJECT: Sewage treatment to improve shoreline pollution
Pacific Islands Report - 16 June 2010
A sanitation project costing more than WST7 million [US$2.6 million] will help prevent diseases as well as floods. The new pressure sewer system was launched at Sogi on Friday. Its three components include drainage, wastewater management and sanitation, capacity building and project implementation...more

OIL SPILL RAISES CONCERN AT BOUGAINVILLE MINE: Environmentalists warn of potential catastrophe
Pacific Islands Report - 16 June 2010
Environmental groups are warning of a catastrophe in Papua New Guinea, as two large oil tanks leak fuel oil close to the sea on the island of Bougainville. The tanks once powered the abandoned Panguna copper mine, which stopped operating more than 20 years ago because of Bougainville's civil war. South Pacific Environmental has offered to clean up the leak but the mine's Australian owner, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), says it is too dangerous and wants to send its own workers back to clean up the spill...more

PROBE TURNS TO MARSHALLS IN GULF OIL DISASTER: Oil rig Horizon registered in Majuro
Pacific Islands Report - 16 June 2010
The investigation into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has turned to the Marshall Islands where the rig was registered. Under international law, offshore rigs like the Horizon are treated as ships and it has been suggested the Marshall Islands is more culpable than the United States because the Deeptwater Horizon rig carried its flag...more

New report highlights innovative method for community-based adaptation of SIDS to global climate change
Global Coral Reef Alliance - 15 June 2010
Wind, Wave, and Solar powered shore protection and coral reef restoration projects were installed in the Marshall Islands in early 2010 by the Arno Kobamaron Community Base Organization, in collaboration with the Global Reef Alliance and Pacific Aquaculture Cooperatives, funded by the Federal Republic of Germany Federal Foreign Office Task Force for Humanitarian Aid. The projects were installed at Ine Village, Arno Atoll (Wind powered), Jabo Village, Arno Atoll (Wave powered), and Enemanit, Majuro Atoll, (Solar powered). Local community residents were trained in construction and installation skills. These projects will help restore near-shore coral reefs and fisheries habitat, protecting beaches from wave erosion and allowing them to grow. The results of these pilot demonstration projects demonstrate that local communities can use their own vast and untapped sources of sustainable energy to grow back their coral reef and fisheries resources and protect their islands from erosion by global sea level rise. ...Download the report - Project Report.pdf

U.S. MILITARY SUBMITS OCEAN STUDY FOR GUAM BUILDUP: Area includes 502,000 square miles of water
Pacific Islands Report - 15 June 2010
The U.S. military studied a total of 501,873 square nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean's surface, extending from the international waters south of Guam to the Northern Marianas' east and northern parts up to the middle of the Philippine Sea to the west as part of the planned military buildup project in the Marianas which is designed to provide extensive maritime, land and aerial drills for its troops and U.S. allied forces. According to the U.S. Department of Navy's Mariana Islands Range Complex, or MIRC, the Final Environmental Impact Statement/ Overseas Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS/OEIS, filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the requirements in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act the Record of Decision for the planned military buildup may soon be signed...more

U.S. OIL SPILL CALLED WARNING TO PALAU : Remengesau urges caution in oil exploration
Pacific Islands Report - 15 June 2010
Sen. Tommy Remengesau said the oil spill at Gulf of Mexico should serve as a wake up call for Palau. In an interview, Remengesau said the planned oil exploration in Palau runs in contrast to the country's environmental protection policy. "This is a great lesson fro Palau that the interest of pursuing money is not always the right thing to do," he told reporters...more

PNG PRIME MINISTER DEFENDS NICKEL MINE OPERATION: Ramu mine under fire for toxic waste
Pacific Islands Report - 15 June 2010
- the people's interest is paramount to government and it would not have given the Ramu nickel/cobalt project the nod had it thought it would be detrimental to their lives. This came from Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare who traveled to Madang yesterday to meet landowners of the four mine impact areas and to address issues relating to the project...more

PALAU SHIFTS POSITION, SEEKS NEW LIMIT ON WHALING: Proposes halving Japan quota of minke whales
Pacific Islands Report - 15 June 2010
Palau is changing its stand on whaling and instead of voting with Japan it will propose a quota on the hunting of minke whales. President Johnson Toribiong met with Kenro Iino, Japan's special envoy to discuss whaling program. "We are shifting our vote, instead of voting with Japan we are proposing a quota, to cut down the hunting of minke whales to half," the president said. Palau is a member of the International Whaling Commission since 2002 and is one of the pro-whaling nations supporting Japan's research program...more

Marine raui to be legislated [Cook Islands]
Cook Islands News - 12 June 2010
A core group of local experts on marine protected areas is examining methods to strengthen the existing system of marine ra'ui in the Cook Islands...more

Former Kiribati leader not surprised at IWC bribery claims
PacNews - 14 June 2010
A former president of Kiribati says he's not surprised by reports two Pacific nations have been accused of taking bribes from Japan to support its effort to lift the moratorium on commercial whaling. Britain's Sunday Times reports Kiribati and the Marshall Islands were among six countries willing to consider selling their votes on the International Whaling Commission...more

Japan paid for whaling support: paper
PacNews - 14 June 2010
A British newspaper says it has evidence suggesting Japan has bribed small nations to support its attempts to lift a 24-year-old moratorium on commercial whaling. The Sunday Times say it has found officials from St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Guinea and Ivory Coast willing to discuss selling their votes at the International Whaling Commission (IWC). They admitted they voted with the pro-whaling grouping because of the aid they received from Japan, or because they were given cash or call girls...more

RESTRICTIONS MULLED FOR GUAM'S TUMON BAY: Heavy use threatens marine environment
Pacific Islands Report - 14 June 2010
There could be new restrictions on canoe paddling, windsurfing, snorkeling and other recreational and commercial activities in Tumon Bay in an effort to control adverse impacts to that marine preserve...more

New report: Coasts of life: helping tropical seaside communities cope with climate change
IUCN - 10 June 2010
Climate change is hitting coastal areas hard: rises in sea levels, ocean acidification, extreme events, bleaching and death of coral are all climate impacts which will require adjustments socially and economically. A new IUCN report, published today, provides practical guidance for coastal communities and industries to adapt to climate change...more ... Download the report - A Framework for Social Adaptation to Climate Change Sustaining Tropical Coastal Communitites and Industries

Islands Business - June 2010
2010 is the Year of Biodiversity-in the Pacific this is celebrated under the theme of "Value Island Biodiversity-it's our Life". This is especially true when we consider the relationship our Pacific communities have with our ocean. The Pacific Ocean covers 35% of the earth's surface. The ocean is our lifeblood with the majority of Pacific communities living close to the sea...more

Islands Business - June 2010
...So what are the lessons from the Gulf of America? First, accept that the Pacific Pan is susceptible to an oil spill similar in magnitude to that in the Gulf some time in the future. Rather than wait for such an eventuality, islands governments must learn from the unfolding disaster in the Gulf. Second, extreme care has to be taken in issuing mining licenses. Further, regulation of industry, particularly those with the potential to be disastrous for the environment, needs to be scrutinised closely. Third, SOPAC (South Pacific Island Applied Geoscience Commission) and SPREP (South Pacific Regional Environment Programme) must take lead in drawing lessons from the Gulf for island governments. Fourth, independent monitoring of the environmental impact of industries must be established...more

OFFSHORE TAILINGS DUMP HARMLESS: PNG FISHERIES MINISTER: Ramu mine proposal defended by government
Pacific Islands Report - 10 June 2010
The Government does not believe that tailings from the mines dumped in the sea poses any threat to fish stocks and humans. It is reliant on past experiences to substantiate its assumptions. Fisheries minister Ben Semri said this when questioned by the Post-Courier yesterday after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Filipino companies Trans Pacific Journey Fishing Company (TPJ) and TSP Marine Industries, the National Fisheries Authority and the Morobe Provincial Government in Port Moresby. "From experience, gold mines like Lihir and Misima have had no effects so we do not believe it is a concern at this stage," Mr. Semri said...more

One of World's Most Pristine Coral Reefs Revealed [Kiribati]
LiveScience - 9 June 2010
One of the world's most well-preserved coral reefs lies near the island nation of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean, a new study reveals. The Millennium Atoll is a remote coral atoll - an island consisting of a circular coral reef surrounding a lagoon - that is home to one of the world's few relatively pristine coral reef ecosystems. The atoll belongs to the Republic of Kiribati, a tiny island only a few miles long and 0.3 miles (0.5 kilometers) wide...more

Pacific Islands Report - 9 June 2010
The Koror State Government (KSG) will implement the law restricting residents of Ngarchelong and Aimeliik from entering Koror State's territorial waters after the date set for the two States to review their Bul lapsed on May 30. [PIR editor's note: A "bul" is a traditional conservation strategy similar to a moratorium. Palau has successfully used "bul" as a way of controlling overfishing in nearshore waters, especially at specific times and places such as channels during spawning season.] Governor Yositaka Adachi said they will implement the law stated on the letter and looking for the possibility of adding more restrictions...more

Crocodiles "surf ocean currents" in South Pacific
PacNews - 9 June 2010
Crocodiles can surf ocean currents to take long leisurely journeys across open seas in the South Pacific, a researcher said on Wednesday. The research by a group of Australian ecologists published this week in the British Ecological Society's "Journal of Animal Ecology"' explains how the world's largest living reptile came to occupy so many South Pacific islands despite having little stamina for swimming...more

Pacific Islands Report - 8 June 2010
The Japan government is sending an envoy this month to hold talks and explain to Palau government its current hunts of whale for research. Toribiong earlier stated that his government wants to be consistent with his policies on the marine resources of the country and is reconsidering its position on whaling. The president said that Japan Ambassador to Palau Yoshiyuki Sadaoka has informed him that a special envoy will be visiting Palau "to educate me on the Japanese policies and scientific research." ...more

Palau's Shark Sanctuary looks into technological options to patrol high seas
Islands Business - 3 June 2010
The Palau Shark Sanctuary has sought the assistance of the Surveillance and Enforcement of Remote Marine Areas to find options to effectively patrol the country's Exclusive Economic Zone against the illegal shark fishing trade. Palau gained popularity after President Johnson Toribiong declared the country as the world's first shack sanctuary. However with only one patrol boat at its disposal, it will be a challenge to patrol Palau's 240,000 square-mile EEZ...more

Two years to decide on Australia's bid to stop Japanese whaling in Southern Ocean
PacNews - 2 June 2010
IT could take more than two years for the International Court of Justice to rule on Australia's bid to stop Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. The Federal Government filed a lawsuit with the court in The Hague yesterday. Australia's case seeks to stop Japan exploiting a loophole in a 1986 global moratorium which allows whaling for scientific research purposes...more


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

Pacific islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation Roundtable
Meeting- Samoa July 5-July 9, 2010. This year's Roundtable meeting will be include working group breakout sessions and central group meetings. For more information contact: Etika Rupeni This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.%20">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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].

- June 2010

Elemental composition and mineralogical characteristics of coastal marine sediments of Tutuila, American Samoa / Morrison, R.J., Peshut, P.J., Lasorsa, B.K. 2010 Marine Pollution Bulletin [Article in Press] *

Using local ecological knowledge to identify shark river habitats in Fiji (South Pacific) / RASALATO, E., MAGINNITY, V., BRUNNSCHWEILER, J.M. 2010 Environmental Conservation , pp. 1-8 [ Article in Press] *

The structure of tuna access agreements in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean: Lessons for Vessel Day Scheme planning / Havice, E. 2010 Marine Policy 34 (5), pp. 979-987 *

Introducing a transferable fishing day management regime for Pacific Island countries / Shanks, S. Marine Policy Volume 34, Issue 5, September 2010, Pages 988-994*

Cyclone effects on coral reef habitats in New Caledonia (South Pacific) / Guillemot, N.; Chabanet, P.; Le Pape, O.. Coral Reefs, Jun2010, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p445-453, 9p; DOI: 10.1007/s00338-010-0587-4*

The dynamic response of reef islands to sea level rise: evidence from multi-decadal analysis of island change in the central pacific / Arthur P. Webba, and Paul S. Kench. Global and Planetary Change (2010) doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2010.05.003*


* 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

Pacific Climate Change Resources

Pacific Regional Environmental Agreements Clearinghouse Mechanism


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Compiled by Peter Murgatroyd.