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US withdrawal from Pacific tuna treaty will take effect next January

Starkist tuna from American Samoa ... A drop in tuna prices in 2015 has been blamed by fishing trade journals as a reason that US fishermen are struggling in the Pacific Ocean. Image: Danny Johnston/LAT

Starkist tuna from American Samoa … A drop in tuna prices in 2015 has been blamed by fishing trade journals as a reason that US fishermen are struggling in the Pacific Ocean. Image: Danny Johnston/LAT

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch in Suva

The decision by the United States to withdraw from the 30-year Tuna Treaty with Pacific Island countries will not take effect until January 2017, says Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) deputy director general Wez Norris.

In his initial response to Pacnews queries, Norris admitted that the impact of the US withdrawal “will be markedly different among individual Pacific Island Parties (PIPs)”.

“Some of them have viable alternative markets that could absorb their fishing days with relatively little impact. Others, however that are reliant on the Treaty to sell their days would struggle to achieve revenues similar to those currently enjoyed, said Norris. Read more »

#COP21: The Paris climate agreement: The real work starts now

The more ambitious target of 1.5C will be beyond our reach within a decade or two at current rates of fossil fuel use around the world. Image: Pulse

The more ambitious target of 1.5C will be beyond our reach within a decade or two at current rates of fossil fuel use around the world. Image: Pulse

Pacific Scoop:
Analysis – By
Pep Canadell and Rob Jackson

The Paris climate agreement is an extraordinary achievement. It codifies the long-term goal of keeping global temperature increases below 2°C. It also sets a more ambitious aspirational target of capping global warming at 1.5°C degrees.

But this more ambitious target will be beyond our reach within a decade or two at current rates of fossil fuel use around the world.

Beyond how achievable the goals are, and at what cost they can be achieved, they are aggressive and consistent with minimising the dangerous interference of human activities on the climate system. Read more »

COP21: Draft Paris Outcome on table for climate deal includes Pacific options

Draft Paris Agreement on the table ... relief for the moment for Pacific. Image: Politico

Draft Paris Agreement on the table … relief for the moment for Pacific. Image: Politico

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By
Makereta Komai, editor of PACNEWS, in Paris

After a week of negotiations, negotiators from 195 countries have produced a Draft Paris Outcome that is likely to become the new global climate agreement on 11 December.

To the relief of Pacific, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and G77 and China, the proposal by the United States and other developed countries to remove loss and damage from the Paris Agreement is now gone, replaced with a proposal (Option 1) to include it  as a stand-alone Article 5.

The second option wants to push Loss & Damage back to Article 4, alongside the Adaptation provision. Read more »

RSF criticises Nauru government over blocking media visa requests

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Refugees in Nauru … Australian legislation outlawing “whistleblowers”. Image: Guardian

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch

Reporters Without Borders condemns Nauru’s decision to impose a media embargo amid growing controversy about alleged human rights abuses in the Australian government refugee detention centre on the island.

Nauru’s authorities must allow journalists to investigate the allegations.

The island’s authorities have not only turned a blind eye to allegations of rape and other abuses in the detention centre, which they host on behalf of the Australian government, but they have also decided to block all media coverage of the alleged abuses. Read more »

Remove all asylum seekers from Pacific detention centres plea to Turnbull


An alleged rape victim makes call to Nauruan police. Video: ABC News

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

An Australian women’s human rights campaign has appealed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to urgently remove all asylum seekers from the Pacific detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.

The group Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru has announced that a crowd-funding drive has raised more than $20,000 to send investigative journalist Wendy Bacon and former West Australian premier Carmen Lawrence to Nauru to “bear witness” in the wake of allegations of 23 men, women and children being raped with impunity.

A 26-year-old Somalian woman – whose terrified phone plea to police for help after allegedly being raped was broadcast by ABC television – is still on Nauru. Police have dropped her case citing lack of evidence. Read more »

Rainbow Warrior campaign pushes spotlight on Pacific fish ‘laundering’

Crew of illegal fishing vessel Shuen De Ching No.888 look on as the Rainbow Warrior pulls up alongside. The Rainbow Warrior travels in the Pacific to expose out of control tuna fisheries. Tuna fishing has been linked to shark finning, overfishing and human rights abuses.

The crew of the illegal fishing vessel Shuen De Ching No.888 watch as the Rainbow Warrior pulls up alongside. Tuna fishing has been linked to shark finning, overfishing and human rights abuses in the Pacific. Image: Greenpeace

Nauru’s recent announcement that it would ban transshipping practices makes it the third Pacific Island country to do so. Asia-Pacific Journalism reports on the impact for the region.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Kai Ping Lew

Nauru has joined the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu to become the third country in the Pacific to ban the controversial practice of transhipping.

The ban comes in the wake of the Rainbow Warrior III discovering Taiwanese longliner Shuen De Ching No 888 operating illegally in its waters, including offloading its catch to a mothership and keeping incomplete records of its catch.

The practice of transhipping allows longliner vessels to stay out on the high seas without coming to port for long periods at a time by transferring their catch to other ships. Read more »

Digital broadcasting switchover starts for Pacific nations

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PNG’s Minister for Finance James Marape switches on Fiji-based Click TV’s equipment at the launch of the first HD broadcaster in the Pacific Islands. with him is Reenal Deo (left), Click’s engineering manager and managing director Richard Broadbridge (right). Image: Click TV

Nine Pacific countries now national “roadmaps” for the transition to digital broadcasting. Without a digital switchover, Pacific broadcasters face increased costs, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Matthew Hutching

Following the Pacific Media Partnership conference in Apia last month, there are plans for Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga to start the transition to digital broadcasting within the next two years.

The conference was organised by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union and International Telecommunication Union with the aim of addressing the challenges of content production, new technologies, and digitisation of broadcasting in the Pacific region.

So far, the ITU has helped nine Pacific countries develop national “roadmaps” for the transition to digital. They include Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga. Read more »

Push to ban transhipments in ‘out of control’ Pacific tuna fishery


Abuse at sea – “we were paid nothing at all”. One of a series of testimonies by abused fishermen. Video: Greenpeace

Transhipment – the process of transferring fish at sea from a smaller fishing vessel to a larger storage vessel – has been linked to overfishing, and calls have been made for a Pacific-wide ban. Asia-Pacific Journalism reports.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Neilson

Pressure is mounting to outlaw Pacific region transhipments – a practice linked to overfishing – after Nauru’s decision to impose a ban in its waters.

This decision follows Greenpeace’s discovery of the Taiwanese longliner Shuen De Ching No. 888, which the environmental organisation claims had been fishing without permission near Nauru’s waters for two months.

Along with an illegal amount of shark fins, Greenpeace said the logbook also showed an implausibly low catch of five tonnes, suggesting the vessel had been transferring undocumented fish to another ship. Read more »

Small Pacific states defiant over stronger climate change stance


Niklas Pedersen reporting from Fiji … Pacific leader calls for stronger action on climate change in Suva spilled over into Port Moresby at the Pacific Islands Forum this week. Video: PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Koro Vaka’uta and the PNG media

The Pacific Forum leaders summit has concluded without unity on climate change. While leaders have talked of solidarity, cracks have appeared over the subject of climate change.

Representatives from the 16 forum member countries gathered in Port Moresby over the week to address issues concerning the region, but there are a several conflicting positions, particularly when it comes to Australia and New Zealand.

Small island states have called for a global moratorium on new coal mines, which may struggle to get the backing of the wider forum, and enough of a reduction in emissions so that global temperature increases do not exceed 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels. Read more »

Smaller Pacific states’ Port Moresby Declaration calls for coal moratorium

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Pacific smaller island states representatives in Port Moresby. Image: PNG Loop

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By PNG Loop in Port Moresby

Leaders of the Pacific Smaller Island States have called on all nations  – especially  the advanced economies in the region – to rise to the challenge of climate change.

They want to steer the world on a path where climate change is no longer a threat to earth.

As a first step, they called for a global moratorium on all new coal mines. Read more »

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