PEIN Marine Digest - September 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.

Babauta OKs funds for Micronesia Challenge conservation efforts
Saipan Tribune - 30 September 2010
Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Tony Babauta signed yesterday a $130,059 a Coral Reef Initiative grant award to the Nature Conservancy's Micronesia Program. Funds will be used to further commitments established by the Chief Executives of the Micronesia Challenge to effectively conserve 30 percent of the near-shore marine and 20 percent of terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020...more

Palau President receives Ocean Heritage award: Shark Research Institute lauds Palau shark sanctuary
Pacific Islands Report - 29 September 2010
The Shark Research Institute (SRI) Saturday presented the prestigious Ocean Heritage Award to President Toribiong at Kitano Hotel in New York for his declaration of Palau's waters as shark sanctuary. The award was presented to Toribiong by SRI president Jupp Baron Kerckerinck, SRI executive director Marie Levie, SRI Chairman of the Board Stephen Nagiewicz. In last year's UN General Assembly, Toribiong declared Palau as the world's first national shark sanctuary, ending all commercial shark fishing and allowing sharks to live and reproduce unmolested in its 237,000 square miles of ocean...more

Greenpeace calls for ban on fish aggregators: Fishing vessels find way around temporary restrictions
Pacific Islands Report - 28 September 2010
Greenpeace is calling for a total ban on the use of fish aggregating devices in the Pacific tuna fishery. [PIR editor's note: A fish aggregating device is a man-made object - such as floats tied together and fixed with anchors - used to attract marlin, tuna, mahi-mahi and other fish. The State of Hawaii has placed such devices in waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands for the benefit of recreational and commercial fishermen.] The call comes as the world's powerful distant water fishing nations prepare for conservation talks...more

New suit filed to stop PNG mine dumping plan: China's Ramu InCo faces new plaintiffs
Pacific Islands Report - 28 September 2010
Landowner efforts to halt construction of a pipeline to dump waste into the sea off Papua New Guinea's northeast coast will continue despite last week's lifting of an injunction on the project. Judge David Cannings on Friday lifted the injunction which prevented Metallurgical Corporation of China from building a marine tailings pipe from the proposed US$1 billion Ramu nickel mine in Madang Province. This followed the sudden withdrawal from the case of the plaintiffs, representatives of three local Rai Coast landowners groups, who were earlier seeking to make the injunction permanent. However their former lawyer, Tiffany Nonggorr, has filed a fresh application for a new injunction...more

Pacific island countries warn UN debate of threats from overfishing
UN News - 28 September 2010
Unsustainable fishing of shark and tuna is threatening stocks and jeopardizing the health of the fragile economies of many small island States, the leaders of two Pacific Ocean nations told the General Assembly's high-level debate today in New York. "We must reorient our priorities to put biodiversity and the welfare of our ecosystems first," said Palau's President Johnson Toribiong. "In doing so, we can serve both our long-term commercial interests and protect the natural bounty that sustains us." This week Palau and Honduras signed a joint declaration calling on other nations to stop unsustainable shark fishing, and Mr. Toribiong noted that the health of sharks is closely linked to the health of tuna...more

Palau, at risk from rising seas, aims to drill for oil
Reuters Alertnet - 27 September 2010
Palau is a paradox: The low-lying Pacific island nation is threatened by climate change but may soon be drilling for oil. Seismic tests in the 1970s indicated the presence of petroleum but exploratory wells were never dug. Now, President Johnson Toribiong is pushing for exploration, hopeful oil will bring cheaper fuel, revenue and jobs. "Right now we are importing fossil fuel and that is very, very expensive," Toribiong said in a telephone interview. "If we find oil we will use the proceeds to make Palau a green country." ... more

Chinese mine in PNG cleared to dump waste after judge lifts court injunction
RNZI - 24 September 2010
A Papua New Guinea judge has lifted a court injunction that blocked a Chinese nickel mine from dumping waste into the sea off the country's northeast coast. The battle between Metallurgical Corporation of China and local Rai Coast villagers, who did not want waste from the mine piped into their bay, came to an end yesterday afternoon. Judge David Cannings lifted the injunction preventing MCC from building a deep-sea tailings pipe from the proposed 1 billion US dollar Ramu nickel mine in the northeast coastal province of Madang. He also has granted the three plaintiffs leave to withdraw from the case...more

Turtle Conservation in Papua New Guinea: Karkum Conservation Area
Green.pina - 24 September 2010
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme's (SPREP) financial assistance of US$2000 to the Mas Kagin Tapani Association (also known as Makata), a community based conservation organisation in Papua New Guinea, will aid efforts to protect nests of the endangered Leatherback and Green sea turtles in the Karkum Conservation Area to help maximise hatchling production for these two species...more

Tonga and Tuvalu Collaborate to Protect Whales and Dolphins
SPREP - 23 September 2010
Tonga and Tuvalu are the newest signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to protect cetaceans in the Pacific islands region. The signing took place during the 21st Annual Meeting of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme held in Madang, Papua New Guinea from 6 to 10 September. The Memorandum of Understanding for the conservation of cetaceans and their habitats in the Pacific islands region operates in the spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation toward the protection of whales and dolphins and their habitats...more

Palau calls for more shark sanctuaries
RNZI - 23 September 2010
At the United Nations summit on poverty and biodiversity in New York, the leaders of Palau and Honduras have called on other coastal nations to support their push to create shark sanctuaries. Palau's President, Johnson Toribiong, says they believe it's in the interest of countries to have healthy ocean ecosystems, which is not possible without healthy shark populations. Last year, Palau created the world's first national shark sanctuary and Honduras followed this year. Mr Toribiong says sharks need to be seen as a precious part of the ocean, not a source of mass food -- and certainly not a threat...more

PNG judge to decide future of murky mine lawsuit: Elusive Plaintiffs Appear Before Madang Judge
Pacific Islands Report - 23 September 2010
The three plaintiffs who disappeared in Papua New Guinea before pulling out of a court battle to stop a mine dumping waste into the sea have reappeared. In March the three men won a temporary injunction preventing the Ramu nickel mine from building an undersea tailings pipeline near Madang. But before the substantive hearing this week, they disappeared before dumping their lawyer by fax and announcing they wanted to stop the proceedings. On Wednesday they reappeared at the National Court in Madang but so far have declined to publicly explain their change of heart. In an affidavit tendered to the court, one of the plaintiffs, Eddie Tarsie, says the case is now generating disquiet among his people and he's concerned for his security. Justice David Cannings is expected to decide whether the case will continue on Thursday.

PNG Customs impound tanker off Manus
PacNews - 23 September 2010
AN oil tanker that ran aground on reef off the north of Manus, could have caused severe damages to the marine life if the oil and fuel it was carrying had spilled out, the PNG Customs Service said. The tanker, carrying 1,600 metric tonnes of oil and fuel with a crew of 21, including the captain, was detained by officials from PNG Customs, police and National Fisheries Authority to establish grounds and impose possible fines under their respective laws as per breach of each of their regulations...PNG more

FSM Minister says GEF support critical Pacific Islands manage 25 million sq km of ocean
FFA - 22 September 2010
The Minister of Environment in the Federated States of Micronesia has made a strong and urgent statement to support the continuation of GEF funding for the Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management Project. Honorable Andrew Yatilman, Director of the Office of Environment and Emergency Management, Government of the Federated States of Micronesia, told fellow Ministers it is critical that ongoing GEF support be provided if the small island developing states of the region are to continue to make gains to control their 25 million square kilometres of ocean. In thanking the Global Environment Facilty (GEF), he said: "The waters of the Pacific Island countries are home to the world's largest stocks of tuna and related pelagic species and they are custodians of a significant part of the Earth's major international waters ecosystems, a significant global responsibility for some of the smallest nations on the earth...Honourable Yatilman concluded by urging GEF to review at the earliest, the five year, $13 million dollar continuation of the Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management Project targeting the fifth GEF funding cycle that commenced in July 2010.

Solomons tribes agree to end dolphin hunting: Earth Island Institute claims deal with three tribes
Pacific Islands Report - 22 September 2010
The Earth Island Institute team successfully negotiated an end to a ancient tradition of killing dolphins with three of eight tribes in the Solomon Islands. Ric Barry, producer of the popular "Blood Dolphins," stated in his blog that it is "a huge victory for the dolphins and will result in thousands of dolphins saved." ...more

PNG Landowners drop suit against Ramu Nickel Mine: Attorney alleges threats by 'thugs' linked to government
Pacific Islands Report - 22 September 2010
Three Papua New Guinean villagers have been summonsed to appear before Madang's National Court tomorrow when the legal case over the validity of the planned Ramu nickel mine marine tailings system could be decided.The trial's start has been delayed another day after the three plaintiffs, customary landowners who have been opposed to the US$1 billion Chinese-run mine, missed the scheduled beginning...more

Tuvalu Launches 4-Year Roadmap For Fisheries
Pacific Scoop - 21 September 2010
After months of discussion,consultation, and planning, Tuvalu launched a roadmap for how to strengthen its fisheries institutions, manage and develop its fisheries and coordinate activities of government. The smallest FFA member country, with only nine small atolls and islands and 11,000 people, Tuvalu's fish are vital. Two out of three households go out fishing for food, while licence fees for foreign vessels have formed 25-50% of the GDP. However it faces a number of challenges including sea rise due to climate change, the global economic crisis and low revenue from fishing compared to foreign profits (an estimated $9 million worth of fish was caught in 2009, while licence fees were only 5 % of this). To counter these problems, Tuvalu needs strong institutions that encourage local fisheries development, manage the tuna stocks and create sustainable economies. The Institutional Strengthening Scoping Study Report, drafted by Tuvalu's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Department of Fisheries and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency with support from the UNDP-GEF funded Oceanic Fisheries Management Project, is a roadmap for how to do this over a period of four years...more

PNG landowners abandon Ramu mine waste case
Pacific Beat - 21 September 2010
A legal battle to stop a mine dumping its waste into the sea in Papua New Guinea's Madang Province looks likely to fail after the plaintiffs apparently abandoned the case. A trial was due to begin today to decide whether to lift an injunction preventing the Chinese-owned Ramu nickel mine from dumping waste into the sea or make it permanent. But the plaintiffs have changed their stand and wanted to withdraw from the case and discontinue the proceedings...more

Lawyer says PNG landowners have disappeared
PacNews - 22 September 2010
The lawyer acting for a group of landowners trying to stop a mine from dumping waste into the sea in Papua New Guinea says her clients have disappeared. In March, the landowners won a temporary injunction preventing the Ramu nickel mine from building a deep-sea tailings pipeline to dump waste into Astrobale Bay off Madang. A judge was due to begin hearings today to decide whether to lift the ban or make it permanent, but the landowners' lawyer Tiffany Nongorr said she hasn't heard from them since Sunday afternoon and she fears for their safety...more

PNG sides with mine operator against landowners: Plaintiffs in lawsuit against mine reportedly threatened
Pacific Islands Report - 21 September 2010
The trial in a Papua New Guinea court case which has halted the Ramu Nickel project in Madang province has been delayed a day due to last minute motions filed by the Government and the mine operator. The trial reviewing the validity of the planned deep sea tailings disposal system for the nickel mine was due to get underway tomorrow. An injunction remains on construction of the tailings system, after a legal move by a group of landowners opposed to the system. The plaintiffs' lawyer, Tiffany Nonggorr, says the miner, the China Metallurgical and Construction Company (MCC) and the state have filed motions to sue for security over costs and losses if they win the case. "The state and the miner are saying because the customary landowners don't have any cash and won't be able to satisfy the judgment if we do lose, they should pay into the court before we start the trial a sum of money. Now the sum of money sought from these customary landowners is eight million kina. These customary landowners don't exist in the cash economy. So this application is being used very oppressively." ...more

Fiji fishing ban yields replenished stocks: Villagers spot fish not seen in long time
Pacific Islands Report - 20 September 2010
Three years into the 10-year ban on 12 fishing grounds and villagers in four districts in the Ra province are spotting fishes that have not been seen in a long time. Villages in the districts of Navitilevu, Nakorotubu, Kavula and Bureiwai no longer need to travel any farther for good catches. Nakorotubu district representative Mosese Nasese said the ban that was first introduced in 2009 had brought back richness to the marine resources of these four districts, particularly his village of Naocobau...more

Protection of Marine Species Enhanced in the Pacific Islands Region and South-East Asia
CMS - 16 September 2010
Five Pacific Island States and Territories signed CMS Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) for the conservation of marine turtles, cetaceans, dugongs and sharks. Government representatives, among which Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands signed the four CMS agreements on marine species on the occasion of the 21st Meeting of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), convened in Madang 6-10 September 2010, Papua New Guinea...more

Guam buildup raises coral reef concerns: U.S. task force hosts Saipan meeting
Pacific Islands Report - 16 September 2010
Island nations and partner U.S. agencies have made some progress in protecting their coral reefs in recent years but they are faced with yet another challenge: how to minimize or prevent a massive military buildup from impacting the marine ecosystems not only of Guam, but also that of the CNMI, Palau, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, and other islands. This was among the key issues in yesterday's opening of the two-day 2010 U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Meeting at the Saipan World Resort in Susupe...more

Oceans: Protecting the Pacific
Time Magazine blog - 10 September 2010
..something .. ambitious is happening over in the Pacific Ocean, where the island nation of Kiribati is leading the way toward creating a vast protected area throughout the planet's largest body of water. It's called the Pacific Oceanscape, and it may represent the best chance to defend the oceans against the rising threats of overfishing, pollution and climate change...more

Fiji whale watchers track humpback migration: Survey notes different whale, dolphin species
Pacific Islands Report - 10 September 2010
...The survey has entered its third week and so far more than 20 Humpback whales have been seen in the waters between Levuka and Makogai. Dr Miller said during the first week of the survey the team had been rewarded with numerous visits from large pods of spinner dolphins. She said the main purpose of the exercise was to document the migration pattern of endangered Oceania humpback whales through Fiji waters...more

Why wartime wrecks are slicking time bombs
New Scientist - 9 September 2010
Thousands of ships sunk in the second world war are seeping oil - and with their rusty tanks disintegrating, "peak leak" is only a few years away ...more

Cook Islands environmentalists warn about seabed mining
PacNews - 9 September 2010
A Cook Islands environmental organisation has issued a warning against deep sea mining in the country's exclusive economic zone which is an internationally recognised whale sanctuary. The Cook Islands passed deep sea mining legislation last year and the government has set up framework to apply for licenses to explore mining. The Manager of Te Ipukarea Society, Jacquie Evans, said the mining industry will consider the environment as an afterthought because it is driven by the desire to make money. She said the organisation is worried about the threat that sea bed mining poses on marine life...more

Cook Islands task force to guide undersea mining: Huge deposits of cobalt near Cook isles
Pacific Islands Report - 8 September 2010By
In the Cook Islands, a Seabed Minerals Policy Taskforce has been set up by government to provide advice on the national seabed minerals policy and guidelines on the set up of the Seabed Minerals Authority. The taskforce, headed by Marine Resources Secretary Ben Ponia, was appointed about two months ago with the approval of cabinet under minister of natural minerals resources Robert Wigmore. It is responsible for developing the national policy for the seabed minerals industry and will provide legal, policy and technical advice to government in the development and management of the resource...more

PNG mining minister backs Ramu waste plan: 'We must appreciate the financial risk'
Pacific Islands Report - 2 September 2010
The government has maintained the disposal of mine tailings from the Ramu nickel mine is done in an "environmentally safe and socially responsible manner." Mining Minister John Pundari, commenting on the outcome of a week-long stakeholders meeting in Madang on the deep-sea tailings placement system (DSTP), said it (the system) was the right approach...more

Chinese oil tanker grounded on PNG reef : Precarious situation with full cargo
Pacific Islands Report - 1 September 2010
A fully loaded 90 meter oil tanker, M.T. Hai Soon, is sitting dangerously on the western reef off Bipi Island in Manus Province. Paul Werei, public relations officer to the Manus Provincial Administrator, has confirmed that the oil tanker is fully loaded and stuck on the reef, awaiting rescue operations from a local salvaging company...more

New body to provide advice on national seabed minerals policy in Cook Islands
Islands Business - 1 September 2010
A Seabed Minerals Policy Taskforce has been set up by the Cook Islands government to provide advice on the national seabed minerals policy and guidelines on the set up of the Seabed Minerals Authority. The taskforce, headed by Marine Resources Secretary Ben Ponia, was appointed about two months ago with the approval of cabinet under minister of natural minerals resources Robert Wigmore...more


 New resources of interest

Outlook Report on the State of the Marine Biodiversity in the Pacific Region
A Report prepared for the United Nations Environment Program's Regional Seas Program Nairobi, Kenya and the United Nations Environment Program's World Conservation Monitoring Centre's Marine Assessment and Decision Support Program Cambridge United Kingdom by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Progam, Apia ,Samoa . August 2010. This report provides a summary of current information regarding pressure, state and responses to these threats for the Pacific Islands region, as well the responses by PICTs in addressing, alleviating and/or mitigating these the report

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].

- September 2010

Reducing the climate vulnerability of coastal communities in Samoa / Michele Daly, Namouta Poutasi, Filomena Nelson, Jude Kohlhase . Journal of International Development ; (2010), Volume 22, Issue 2, pages 265-281, March 2010*

Warming Seas in the Coral Triangle: Coral Reef Vulnerability and Management Implications / Elizabeth McLeod et al. (2010) Coastal Management, Volume 38 Issue 5 : 518 - 539*


* 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.