Pacific

Big fish harvest anticipated in Marshall Islands

Rongelap Mayor James Matayoshi said this week that the first harvest is just a few weeks away. The fish farming work is being run by the Atoll Technologies of the Marshall Islands or ATMI, a local company in partnership with off-shore investors that was developed by the Rongelap Atoll Local Government with the aim of developing fish farming export ventures on remote atolls around this western Pacific nation.

“I hope over the next three to five years, we will mature as a big company for export markets,” he said. “The market is there in the United States and Asia.”

Survey of Australians' attitudes to aid yields mixed results

Researchers from the Australian National University surveyed Australians about their opinions of foreign aid and what they expect from their aid programme.

One of the authors, Terence Wood, says in a nutshell, the research found most Australians support the government giving aid, even though many don't actually know how much Australia gives or where.

However, he says the public is also fairly comfortable with the amount of money given being reduced - but not to the Pacific.

Pacific region awash with asbestos

A survey has found that some South Pacific countries are awash with the hazardous building material which can lead to lung diseases or cancer.

The Pacific environment agency SPREP says that until now there's only been anecdotal evidence about the quantity and condition of asbestos in the region.

SPREP's Pacwaste project manager, Stewart Williams, says the survey, done with European Union assistance, found that the once-common building material is widespread, including in public buildings such as schools and hospitals.

Pacific health access improving in NZ

The Ala Mo'ui: Pathways to Pacific Health and Wellbeing plan was launched to identify why there is a gap in health outcomes between Pacific Islanders and other New Zealanders, and to address the disparity.

Associate Health Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says Pacific Islanders are showing better figures in accessing care from a nurse or doctor compared to the total New Zealand population.

But he says too many Pacific Islanders are affected by diabetes, childhood tooth decay and childhood obesity.

     

Anti-nuclear ‘dream team’ reunite

The day marked 20 years since passionate locals rallied together to promote an anti-nuclear Pacific, and five of those individuals came together to reminisce.

Brian Mason, Travis Moore, Peter Heays, Jolene Bosanquet and Cook Islands Voyaging Society captain Tua Pittman recounted the days they made history in our small nation.

“We did our best. We dared to care. We were part of the most amazing Pacific wide campaign,” said Bosanquet.

Nuclear weapons testing in Pacific waters occurred between 1966 and 1996 at Mururoa and Fangataufa in French Polynesia.

Pacific countries discuss options for deep sea minerals

Effective management of this revenue will be critical to ensure that long term benefits are realised.

Through the European Union Deep Sea Minerals Project, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is partnering with the International Monetary Fund and the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre to hold a workshop in Nadi this week (24-27 August) that focuses on the management of revenue emanating from deep sea minerals development.

Tropical Depression Three-C forms far southeast of the Hawaiian Islands

This is the sixth tropical cyclone in the Central North Pacific basin for the 2015 season.

If this depression attains tropical storm intensity, it will be named Kilo.

The center of tropical depression Three-C was located about 685 miles south-southeast of Hilo and 875 miles southeast of Honolulu.

The depression is moving toward the west near 16 mph. A west to west-northwest motion is expected over the next two days.

UNESCO urges Pacific to protect its culture

The renewed call came at the end of a workshop on the Fight against Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Objects in Vanuatu last week.

The director of the UNESCO Office for the Pacific states, Etienne Clement, says the convention is important for protecting the unique culture of the region.

"Which has been joined in by 129 countries all over the world but unfortunately none in the Pacific. So the workshop is really to invite the Pacific to join that convention, which is a benefit for the Pacific."

Tuna treaty can help with anti-trafficking push, industry says

The 1987 South Pacific Tuna Treaty, which provides US purse seine vessels access to the Western and Central Pacific Ocean fisheries, has been extended through interim agreements since 2013, but a longer-term renewal hasn't been agreed to.

At a meeting this week in Brisbane, Australia, the United States and Pacific island nations party to the treaty agreed to an extension through 2016, said Doug Hines, executive director of South Pacific Tuna Corp., which represents 14 purse seine vessels fishing under the treaty. Company owners attended the Australia meeting.

Pacific nations make plea at UN

The council heard pleas from ministers and ambassadors from Pacific states such as Kiribati, Fiji, Samoa, Niue and the Marshall Islands, and Caribbean countries like St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The island states want financial and technical assistance, to help avoid being washed away in the rising tides and powerful storms caused by global warming.

The president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, says the plight of smaller islands for too long has been at the bottom of the list of priorities of the United Nations and other global organisations.