PEIN Marine Digest - October 2010

Featured topic - the Pacific at CBD Cop 10

Pacific supports ocean moratorium on ocean fertilization at Nagoya biodiversity conference
Green.pina - 22 October 2010
Tuvalu on behalf of the Pacific Island parties is supporting a moratorium pertaining to ocean fertilization and other forms of geo-engineering activities to counteract the effects of climate change, at the ongoing biodiversity negotiations in Nagoya. Geo-engineering is defined as an option that would involve large-scale engineering of the environment in order to combat or counteract the effects of changes in atmospheric chemistry . Tuvalu raised this point during an intervention in the climate change discussions at the 10th Conference of the Parties on Biological Diversity...more

Pacific raises voice at negotiations on marine and coastal biodiversity
Green.pina - 22 October 2010
The Pacific entered negotiations at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity by raising points at the discussion on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity. Head of Fiji's delegation, Ambassador to Japan, Isikeli Mataitoga read the intervention on behalf of the Pacific region, which called for three main points. The Pacific would like to see the final outcome of the CBD COP 10 in Nagoya acknowledge that marine and coastal biodiversity is impacted upon by climate change. If this is made official in the final statement, it will help strengthen support in addressing marine and coastal biodiversity...more

New report of interest soon to be released: "Ocean Voices: Lessons from the Whales for the CBD"
Bionesian - 22 October 2010
The report, titled "Ocean Voices: Lessons from the Whales for the CBD" outlines the status and trends of humpback whale populations in Oceania and presents a story of conservation efforts to address the steep decline in population numbers due to whaling in the early 1960's. Due to the highly migratory nature of humpback whales, effective conservation requires active partnerships at international, regional and national and local level. Oceania humpback whales spend their time traveling between the Pacific Ocean and the freezing waters of the Antarctic. They feed in the food-abundant but ice-cold waters of the Antarctic and then migrate to the Pacific waters where they can breed. The warm waters of the Pacific Ocean are far friendlier to new-born whale calves, which have little body fat at birth and would probably die in the Antarctic. The report highlights the value of whales to many Pacific islands where they are a tourist attraction, bringing in significant economic benefits. The report notes that the Oceania humpback whale population remains low and states that this is limiting the economic opportunities for Pacific islands from whale-watching tourism....more ... download a pre-publication summary of the report

Palau Announces New Marine Mammal Sanctuary at International Biodiversity Meeting in Japan
PRNewswire - 22 October 2010
The Honorable Harry Fritz, Minister of the Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism of the Republic of Palau, announced the establishment of a sanctuary for marine mammals in the waters of Palau. The Sanctuary, which covers all of Palau's Exclusive Economic Zone (more than 600,000 square kilometers), was announced today during Ocean's Day, at the meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan. The Sanctuary covers all whales, dolphins, and dugongs. The Minister made the following statement: "Biodiversity has always been integral to the Palauan culture. Our traditional identity, values, legends, and practices are intimately linked to our surroundings and to our relationships with living creatures. Conservation of biodiversity is ingrained in our daily approach to life and inherent in the meaning of our words. From ancient times to today we have conserved our biodiversity through the tools of "bul" or moratoria, and protection of critical areas. Global threats and their influence on our values have made us recognize the importance of partnering and engaging internationally, including with the Convention on Biological Diversity. Today, we continue to use our traditional practices of bul and protected areas, but we enhance those practices with new ideas and information, gleaned through our partnerships with others...Palau Announces New Marine Mammal Sanctuary at International Biodiversity Meeting in Japan

Study confirms 11 species of whale and dolphin in Palau waters.
Bionesian - 21 October 2010
Palau in partnership with the South Pacific Whales Research Consortium, Whaleology, and the Pew Environmental Group, is beginning to lay the groundwork for developing a sustainable whale-watching industry. This was announced by Bilung Gloria Salli during a presentation on the importance of marine mammals in the region at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity...more

... See more stories from COP 10 on the Bionesian Pacific Biodiversity blog -  ...


Other big stories in October

Underwater mining project in PNG deferred: Mining Minister to oversee potential risks and benefits for state
Pacific Islands Report - 28 October 2010
In Papua New Guinea (PNG), the signing and granting of a license to Nautilus Mineral for the Solwara 1 underwater mining project has been deferred. Minister for Mining John Pundari yesterday attributed the deferral to conflicting advice given to him by the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA)...more

Study warns Pacific fisheries threatened in 25 years: Management of fisheries needs improvement
Pacific Islands Report - 28 October 2010
A major study of the future of Pacific Island fisheries has indicated that fisheries across the region face collapse within the next 25 years without urgent concerted efforts to preserve stocks. "The study, The Future of Pacific Fisheries, covers oceanic, coastal, aquaculture and freshwater fishery sectors." It has been presented for endorsement by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and has already been approved by members of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency. The projected collapse would have severe economic consequences and make food security impossible in a region where the population is projected to increase by 50 per cent by 2035...more

PNG'S Ramu mine can build waste pipeline but not use it: Momentarily, landowners are successful in stopping dumping
Pacific Islands Report - 27 October 2010
In Papua New Guinea (PNG), it was a win, win situation for both the defendants and the plaintiff in the Ramu Nickel Mine deep sea tailings placement project (DSTP), court battle...more

PNG Ramu mine resumes work on tailing pipeline: Mine to dump masses of waste in sea
Pacific Islands Report - 26 October 2010
The Chinese developer of Papua New Guinea's (PNG) Ramu Nickel mine has been allowed to resume work on the construction of a deep sea tailings disposal pipeline. China's Ramu Nico will now go ahead with the construction of the proposed pipeline from the Kurumbukari mine site to Madang's Basamuk Bay. It plans to dump millions of tonnes of slurry waste from the mine via the pipeline into the seas north of Madang...more

Training opportunity: Reef Resilience and Responding to Climate Change Koror, Palau June 3-7, 2011
PIMPAC - 25 October 2010
Workshop for Trainers from throughout the Western Pacific to learn about building resilience into reef management and the tools available for addressing the impacts of climate change. The meeting will bring together managers/trainers from throughout the Western Pacific to learn and share ideas that will lead to more effective long-term coral reef management. The workshop is designed to provide an atmosphere of exchange and creative problem solving so that participants leave with a specific training plan for their locale. Resources recently developed through major international collaborations will be highlighted and distributed to participants (e.g., Resilience Toolkit, Reef Managers Guide to Bleaching). The workshop will be facilitated by regional and global experts in coral reef management. For more information on the workshop, visit the website:
Application Deadline: November 30, 2010

Latest news from SPC Fisheries
SPC - October 2010
Features in the May-August issue of the SPC Fisheries Newsletter include: Regional workshop on CITES non-detrimental findings for marine-listed species ; Communicating about coral reef issues ; New research plan provides a blueprint for addressing shark issues in the western and central Pacific ; An overview of toothed whale depredation mitigation efforts in the Indo-Pacific region the SPC Fisheries Newsletter

Vanuatu mulls stiff fine for shoreline violations: Bill raises penalty from $2,000 to $52,000
Pacific Islands Report - 18 October 2010
In Vanuatu, changes to existing legislations expected to go before the next sitting of parliament will see new provisions that would increase the penalty for illegal foreshore activities from 200,000 vatu [US$2,000] to 5 million vatu [US$52,000] and developments taking place without an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) face a fine of 5 million vatu [US$52,000] or 100 million vatu [US$1 million]. The measures have been drafted into laws to safeguard the environment...more

Commentary: Pohnpei's diminishing reef fish need protection
Pacific Islands Report - 14 October 2010
Almost immediately after coming on board at the Conservation Society of Pohnpei last July, I began to hear about SPAGS monitoring - an acronym for spawning aggregations, which take place in Pohnpei every spring. After nearly nine months of waiting, I immediately understood the anticipation upon entering the water with the CSP Marine team as they conducted their annual grouper counts. I was supposed to follow the team and help count groupers along the 325-ft transect. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the swarm of viciously territorial groupers below and lost count within moments. With my count totally ruined, I resumed the only duty I could be trusted with, taking pictures of the fish and the team counting them...more

Nauru backs application for deep sea mining: Company estimates $4 billion investment
Pacific Islands Report - 12 October 2010
A Nauru based company seeking an application to explore for deep sea minerals says it could bring enormous benefits in revenue, employment and capacity building. The Nauru incorporated company, Nauru Ocean Resources has made the application to the International Seabed Authority to explore an area in the north-east Pacific Ocean reserved for developing states. The Nauru government says it is the first developing state to sponsor such an application. The government says the agreement requires no monetary commitment from the country, and will not deplete its resources as the minerals are in international waters...more

Pacific nations extend bans on tuna fishing
PacNews - 6 October 2010
Eight tuna-rich Pacific Island nations have announced a major extension to their ban on high-seas fishing. The action taken by the Pacific nations, known as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, was announced at a meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. The ban is the latest move in a long-running battle to protect stocks of bigeye and yellowfin tuna...more

Palau and Vanuatu sign MOU on dugongs
Contributed by Lui Bell - 5 October 2010
On Monday 4 Oct 2010 at the opening of the First Official Signatory State Meeting of the UNEP/CMS Memorandan of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Dugongs and their Habitats throughout their Range, Palau and Vanuatu from the Pacific signed the MoU. This means all SPREP members that are dugong range states have signed the CMS Dugong MoU (with PNG and Solomon Is signing at the SPREP Madang Meeting last month). Hon Harry R. Fritz, Minister, Palau Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism signed for Palau. Mr Vatu Molisa, Marine Biologist, Vanuatu Department of Environment and Conservation signed for Vanuatu.

New plaintiff rekindles PNG mine battle: Earlier lawsuit against Ramu NiCo dropped
Pacific islands Report - 5 October 2010
A legal battle to stop a mine dumping its waste into the sea in Papua New Guinea is back on after the original plaintiffs pulled out. A court-ordered temporary injunction had prevented the Ramu nickel mine from proceeding with a plan to dump millions of tonnes of tailings into the sea near Madang. But the plaintiffs who had wanted to make the injunction permanent suddenly abandoned the case and a judge lifted the injunction just over a week ago. Now another plaintiff, Rai Coast landowner Louis Medaing, has taken up the legal challenge and gone to court to prevent the dumping. The matter has been adjourned until next week ...more

PNG Leadership applauds lifting of mine injunction: Acting Prime Minister Polye cites national interest
Pacific Islands Report - 1 October 2010
Acting Prime Minister Don Polye yesterday welcomed the decision by the National Court in Madang to allow operations at the Ramu nickel mine to resume. Operations at the mine had been halted since March 19 as a result of a court action by villagers relating to possible damages to the environment through the deep sea tailings disposal...more

Ramu nickel mine to wait on ocean waste disposal: Chinese company plans outfall pipe in Basamuk Bay
Pacific Islands Report - 1 October 2010
The operator of Papua New Guinea's Ramu nickel project has assured landowners it won't construct its marine tailings pipeline until a new legal application for an injunction on the project is heard. Landowner efforts to halt the pipeline from Madang Province's Ramu mine into Basamuk Bay will continue despite the lifting of an injunction on the project...more


 New resources of interest

Climate, Carbon and Coral Reefs - 28 October 2010
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have released a report titled "Climate, Carbon and Coral Reefs," outlining the threat to coral reefs caused by climate change and subsequent coral bleaching, as well as by ocean acidification.The report outlines the role of meteorological services in addressing climate change and coral reef issues. It highlights the importance of identifying periods of coral bleaching risks, sea temperature trends, ocean salinity trends, ocean circulation trends and sea level rise. It also describes the destructive powers of tropical cyclone impacts, reduced growth of coral due to ocean acidification, and direct human impacts to the report.

Traditional Marine Management Areas of the Pacific in the Context of National and International Law and Policy
Sids-l - 27 October 2010
The report explores the role of traditional marine resources management in meeting the goals of communities and those of national and international conservation strategies. Specifically, it looks at: how traditional practices are applied in various Pacific island countries; how concepts such as the ecosystem approach and adaptive management are incorporated; whether traditional marine managed areas are recognized by national law; and whether and how they are seen to contribute to national and international protected areas and conservation targets in the context of national law, as well as in the context of a regional framework for marine protected areas, which is currently being developed in the Pacific...more
... download the report

UNEP Regional Seas Releases Marine Biodiversity Assessments
Biodiversity-L - 19 October
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Seas office has released the Marine Biodiversity Assessment and Outlook: Global Synthesis, which provides the first systematic overview at a sub-global scale of the state of knowledge of marine biodiversity, the pressures it currently faces and the management frameworks in place for addressing those pressures...more ... download the report

UNEP Regional Seas Releases Report on Ecosystem Based Adaptation
Climate-L - 15 October 2010
he UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Seas has released a report titled "Using Ecosystems to Address Climate Change - Ecosystem Based Adaptation." This issue of the Regional Seas Information Series outlines policy recommendations to promote the application of the ecosystem-based management and restoration of ecosystems. It highlights that ecosystem-based management offers a valuable, although under-utilized approach for climate change adaptation that can replace or complement other adaptation actions like building expensive "hard" infrastructure such as sea-walls and the report

First Census of Marine Life 2010: Highlights of a Decade of Discovery
'First Census of Marine Life 2010: Highlights of a Decade of Discovery' is a 64-page report that describes some of the scientific highlights of ten years of exploration, research and analysis undertaken by Census of Marine Life scientists. Researchers have identified nearly 20,000 additional species as a result of the decade-long Census of Marine Life, which concluded Monday. The total number of species now known to live in the ocean is nearly 250,000, but scientists say that may only be a fraction of the total that remains to be discovered. ...

A guide to the decapod crustaceans of the South Pacific
CRISP - October 2010
"The purpose of this guide is to facilitate the identification of the common decapod
crustacean species of the South Pacific. It is intended for scientists, reef fishery
managers, nature conservation agencies, professional fishers and recreational users
of marine areas." ... available in English and French -


Articles of note - a selection of recent academic literature

Ecosystem-Based Management in Fiji: Successes and Challenges after Five Years of Implementation / Stacy D. Jupiter and Daniel P. Egli. Journal of Marine Biology Volume 2011, Article ID 940765, 14 pages doi:10.1155/2011/940765*

Sea-level variability and change in the US-affiliated Pacific Islands: understanding the high sea levels during 2006-2008 / Md. Rashed Chowdhury, Anthony G. Barnston, Charles 'Chip' Guard, Sarah Duncan,Thomas A. Schroeder, P.S. Chu. Weather Volume 65, Issue 10, pages 263-268, October 2010*

Wind Effects on Past and Future Regional Sea Level Trends in the Southern Indo-Pacific / Timmermann, Axel; McGregor, Shayne; Jin, Fei-Fei. Journal of Climate, Aug2010, Vol. 23 Issue 16, p4429-4437, 9p, 1 Diagram, 5 Graphs; DOI: 10.1175/2010JCLI3519.1;*

Marine Benthic Algae of Johnston Atoll: New Species Records, Spatial Distribution, and Taxonomic Affinities with Neighboring Islands / Tsuda, Roy T.; Abbott, Isabella A.; Vroom, Peter S.; Fisher, Jack R.. Pacific Science, Oct2010, Vol. 64 Issue 4, p585-605, 21p, 1 Diagram, 1 Chart, 2 Maps; DOI: 10.2984/64.4.585;*

Revisiting the association between sea surface temperature and the epidemiology of fish poisoning in the South Pacific: Reassessing the link between ciguatera and climate change / Llewellyn, Lyndon E.. Toxicon, Oct2010, Vol. 56 Issue 5, p691-697, 7p; DOI: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2009.08.011; *

Impacts of Recreational Divers on Palauan Coral Reefs and Options for Management / Poonian, Chris; Davis, Patricia Z. R.; McNaughton, Colby Kearns. Pacific Science, Oct2010, Vol. 64 Issue 4, p557-565, 9p, 2 Charts, 1 Map; DOI: 10.2984/64.4.557; (AN 53734046)*

Aligning tourist, industry and government expectations: A case study from the swim with whales industry in Tonga / Kessler, Megan; Harcourt, Robert. Marine Policy, Nov2010, Vol. 34 Issue 6, p1350-1356, 7p; DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2010.06.008;*

Socio-economic drivers and indicators for artisanal coastal fisheries in Pacific island countries and territories and their use for fisheries management strategies / Kronen, Mecki; Vunisea, Aliti; Magron, Franck; McArdle, Brian. Marine Policy, Nov2010, Vol. 34 Issue 6, p1135-1143, 9p; DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2010.03.013; *


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].

* see also Latest news from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme [SPREP]


** more PEIN Resources