PEIN Marine Digest November 2010

Australia moves to protect southern bluefin tuna
PacNews - 25 November 2010
The Australian government has announced it will formally protect the southern bluefin tuna by listing it as a threatened species. The species has been categorised as "conservation dependent", which means it can still be fished. But the Government and fisherman will have to establish a plan of management to stop its decline and support its long-term recovery... more

Palau hosts meeting to protect marine resources: 6 countries meet to strengthen maritime surveillance
Pacific Islands Report - 17 November 2010
Six countries, including Palau, and two Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) met yesterday at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center to discuss measures to strengthen the maritime surveillance capacity in the Micronesia Region. The meeting, co-organized by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and the Nippon Foundation, aims to develop a maritime perspective and promote international cooperation and partnership for the preservation and security of the Pacific seas... more

Pacific turtle dies after 2,000 kilometer journey: Hawksbill last seen in Vanuatu
Pacific Islands Report - 17 November 2010
A Hawksbill turtle has covered over 2,000 kilometers in a journey from Vanuatu to Australia's east coast. Andrew Lugg, from Australia's National Parks and Wildlife Service, says the turtle was last seen nesting on a beach in Vanuatu more than a year ago. He says the internet was used to track it. "We used the power of Google, and just did a Google search, and then straight away came to the site that is managing this program and let them know via the internet that we'd found this turtle with the tag and they gave us a response with all the details of the turtle straight away," he said...more

Environment: are coral reefs a good investment?
Islands Business - 15 November 2010
Kiribati, Vanuatu, New Caledonia show the way. As of August 1, 2010, Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. This sanctuary, the largest marine protected area in the world, encompasses 410,500 sq km of virtually untouched coral reef ecosystems.
The UNESCO designation is a source of great satisfaction for the Coral Reef Initiatives for the Pacific (CRISP) programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), which partnered with the Government of Kiribati, Conservation International and the New England Aquarium in supporting the creation of this protected area. It is a victory for conservationists, ushering in a new era of large-scale ocean protection. It is also a victory for the people of the remote archipelago, who, it is hoped, will be preserved from the devastation of large-scale fishing and will be able to enjoy the fruits of the ocean for a long time...more

Coral Reef Conservation Fund Announces Request for Proposals.
NFWF - 12 November 2010
Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in partnership with the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, the Coral Reef Conservation Fund provides grants to public-private partnerships working to reduce and prevent degradation of coral reefs and associated reef habitats (e.g., seagrass beds, mangroves, etc). Funding is available for conservation projects in Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Projects must implement watershed management plans and local action strategies designed to improve water quality, enhance coral reef ecosystem resilience, and improve the management of protected marine areas that harbor key coral reef ecosystem components and functions...apply

New Pacific tuna regulations to protect resource: Greater revenues, smaller catch envisioned
Pacific Islands Report - 9 November 2010
A new licensing system for long line fishing vessels in the Pacific will go into effect on January 1 the latest in a series of measures from the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) to generate more revenue for the islands while cutting catch levels...more

PNA moves to protect threatened whale sharks
FFA - 8 November 2010
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) advanced their record of innovative conservation and management measures last week by advancing a proposal to protect whale sharks. Up to 12 metres long, whale sharks are the largest living fish species in the world admired for their distinctive spotted markings and gentleness towards divers. Being a long-lived species (70 years), and subject to fishing, their status has been classified by the IUCN as vulnerable. The PNA brings together eight Pacific Island countries to sustainably manage tuna. PNA members are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. These countries own waters which supply 25% of the world's tuna, an estimated $2 billion worth of fish every year. On Friday last week, the PNA secured support of all the 17 members of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency for their proposed conservation and management measure on whale sharks. The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee meeting agreed to support the PNA whale sharks proposal at this year's annual session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), a body that sets legally-binding rules for fishing across the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The PNA-proposed whale sharks measure bans purse seine fishing vessels in the region from setting nets around whale sharks (both alive and dead as some often bask motionlessly at the surface of the water). The measure also says if any whale sharks are caught in nets, fishing vessel owners must stop the net-haul and free the whale sharks.

Japan 'ignoring laws' as it starts whale hunt
PacNews - 5 November 2010
Conservation groups have accused the Japanese whaling fleet of ignoring international law as the fleet prepares to head off on its annual whale hunt. Every November the Japanese whaling fleet heads to the Southern Ocean for its so-called scientific research program. This year the quota includes 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales. Three years ago, 50 humpbacks were added to that quota but are yet to be included in the cull. International Fund for Animal Welfare spokesman Patrick Ramage says humpbacks could be the target this year...more

Climate change bleaching Pacific coral, say scientists
PacNews - 5 November 2010
Marine scientists are linking human-induced global warming to widespread coral bleaching across Asia and parts of the Pacific this year. Beginning in May, extreme water temperatures caused what scientists say were the worst coral bleachings since 1998. The bleaching hit the Coral Triangle, an important ecosystem that includes Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. The scientists say the dead coral will have a flow-on effect for reef fish and eventually the fisheries and tourism industries of local communities...more

Fiji samaritan saves sea turtle from stew pot: A black market delicacy in face of hunting ban
Pacific Islands Report - 1 November 2010
In Fiji, a sub-adult green turtle which could have become someone's meal was mercifully released into the ocean by a good Samaritan on Saturday. Jordan Mar, 23, said he bought the turtle from fishermen at the Suva market on Saturday. He said the turtle was hidden elsewhere and only shown to him after he agreed to buy it ...more

Marshalls seek funds for Majuro seawall: Low-lying atoll faces rising sea
Pacific Islands Report - 1 November 2010
A Pacific atoll that rises barely one meter above sea level is seeking $20 million in international donor funding to launch construction of three miles of seawalls to protect its most vulnerable shoreline from sea level rise and flooding. "We want to prevent erosion and stop flooding," said Marshall Islands United Nations Ambassador Phillip Muller who was in Majuro last week to move climate change funding plans forward. This nation of 29 coral atolls and five single islands stretches across about 800,000 square kilometers (500,000 square miles) of Pacific ocean but has only about 116 sq. kilometers (72 square miles) of dry land. And virtually all of that is not more than a meter above the high tide mark. Muller said the government is asking donors to put up climate change mitigation funding to help his country forestall floods like the one that hit the eastern shore of Majuro Atoll, the capital, in December 2008, causing several million dollars in damage and forcing dozens of islanders into temporary shelters...more

 

 New resources of interest

Web resource: Pacific Ocean 2020 Challenge website
The Pacific Ocean 2020 Challenge aims to forge partnerships with sectors of ocean users who have not previously been fully engaged in ocean governance initiatives, and spanning geographic areas beyond the traditional 'Pacific region'. Working with Pacific Ocean-wide coalitions for action will enable the Challenge to complement and enhance stakeholder-engaging activities already established by CROP agencies and NGOs around the PIRCTs region, thus avoiding duplication of activities. In doing so, it is envisioned that a holistic and practical approach to ocean governance in the region will become a reality, and that the PIRCTs region will have a sustainable and healthy Pacific Ocean by 2020... http://www.pacificocean2020.org/

Web resource: film - 'Oceanic Guardians'
FFA - 5 November 2010
A new film titled 'Oceanic Guardians' (http://www.youtube.com/pacificislandfish ) was launched today by the UNDP-GEF funded Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management Project (OFMP) at the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee meeting in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Celebrating the success of Pacific Islands' negotiations to establish a tuna commission to set and enforce rules on tuna fishing, 'Oceanic Guardians' is shot in high definition video featuring the world's first underwater footage of longline fishing in the Pacific Islands, traditional canoe racing in the Solomon Islands and Tongan-owned and crewed patrol boats and fishing vessels.

 

New reports of interest:

 

10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
SPREP - 30 November 2010
A report prepared by the Secretariat outlining key outcomes achieved at the 10th Conference of the parties (COP10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held in Nagoya, Japan 18-29 October, 2010. The report also contains suggestions on possible actions for the Pacific to take to implement the COP10 outcomes and decisions. The report also outlines some key lessons learnt for the Pacific to strengthen engagement and participation in future COP meetings...download the report - http://www.sprep.org/att/irc/ecopies/pacific_region/676.pdf

 

Pacific food security toolkit: building resilience to climate change: root crop and fishery production
SPREP - 30 November 2010
The toolkit is divided into a series of modules, so as to accommodate future changes or additions. It includes an introductory module that looks at climate change in the Pacific, a module on key Pacific food production systems and two applied modules on Pacific root crops and Pacific fisheries. The toolkit also contains 55 "adaptation steps" that are designed to provide ideas and, in some cases, practical measures that can be used and, with time, adapted to help maintain and strengthen food security in the face of climate change. Importantly, the toolkit provides its readers a list of existing tools and resources that present more detailed information on climate change adaptation measures, food security and related issues... download the toolkit - http://www.sprep.org/att/irc/ecopies/pacific_region/677.pdf

Outlook Report on the State of the Marine Biodiversity in the Pacific Islands Region
SPREP - 26 November 2010
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. Major marine environmental issues have been identified in the Pacific Islands region, and these include potential (and perceived) impacts from environmental change (including climate variability and climate change), habitat loss and the effects of coastal modification, the introduction of invasive species, fishing pressure (including destructive practices), increased sedimentation and nutrient loading from land-use practices (including coastal mining), solid waste and liquid effluents, and other sources of land and marine pollution.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 threats... download a copy of the report - http://www.sprep.org/att/publication/000890_Kinchetal_2010_MarineBiodiversityOutlookReport_SPREP_UNEP_WCMC.pdf

 

Articles of note - a selection of recent academic literature


Improving social acceptability of marine protected area networks: A method for estimating opportunity costs to multiple gear types in both fished and currently unfished areas / Adams, V.M., Mills, M., Jupiter, S.D., Pressey, R.L. 2010 Biological Conservation ( Article in Press )*

Southernmost distribution of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the eastern South Pacific / Olavarría, C., Acevedo, J., Vester, H.I., Zamorano-Abramson, J., Viddi, F.A., Gibbons, J., Newcombe, E., (...), Torres-Flórez, J.P. 2010. Aquatic Mammals 36 (3), pp. 288-293*

Using local ecological knowledge to identify shark river habitats in Fiji (South Pacific) / Rasalato, E., Maginnity, V., Brunnschweiler, J.M. . 2010 Environmental Conservation 37 (1), pp. 90-97*

Crustose coralline algal diseases in the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands / Vargas-Ángel, Bernardo. Coral Reefs, Dec2010, Vol. 29 Issue 4, p943-956, 14p; DOI: 10.1007/s00338-010-0646-x; (AN 54864387)*

 

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].