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Tuna fisheries: Ready to hear the truth about South Pacific albacore?

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Fishermen on board the tuna longliner Ping Tai Rong 55 in the South Pacific haul in and process an albacore tuna. Image: Mark Smith/Greenpeace

Pacific Scoop:
Commentary – By Lagi Toribau of Greenpeace Pacific

These are worrying times for our local Pacific tuna industry. In Fiji boats are being tied up, and staff are being laid off in Samoa, Tonga and in American Samoa where entire fleets are up for sale.

Now there is talk of Starkist’s American Samoa cannery potentially losing 2000 jobs due to limited tuna supplies.

What this tells me is that the current business model and dependency on foreign fishing access and modern technology with destructive fishing techniques is not working for Pacific islanders. Read more »

Samoan media: Freedom of the press or pressed for freedom?

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Staff of the Samoa Observer … the country’s only daily newspaper is a staunch defender of a free press and opposed to the media law. Image: Samoa Observer

Samoa’s Media Council law, passed by Parliament earlier this year, will come into effect as soon as Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi formally endorses it. While some journalists and media commentators say there is a need for such a regulatory body for the Samoan media, others say the government’s involvement puts a strain on freedom of the press, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Mata Lauano

Now that the Samoan government has passed the Media Council legislation what does it mean for the media in Samoa, where freedom of the press has come under fire many times in past years?

The Media Council Bill, says acting Press Secretary Renate Rivers, was not pushed through hurriedly.

“There were a number of in-depth consultations that were held by government and the Journalists Association of (Western) Samoa (JAWS) over the course of three years.” Read more »

Vanuatu hopes for 1000 more workers in NZ as Pacific seeks expanded RSE scheme

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Seasonal workers with pastoral care managers at the Satara kiwifruit packhouse in Te Puke. Image: PMC archive

The recognised seasonal employer (RSE) scheme allows for workers from the Pacific Islands to work in New Zealand for harvesting seasons. Fruit industry leaders say the scheme has grown successfully since 2007, but now Pacific advocates want an expansion into other areas such as construction, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Matthew Hutching

Vanuatu is hoping to send a further 1000 workers to New Zealand next year under the recognised seasonal employer (RSE) scheme, says Vanuatu Labour Commissioner Lionel Kaluat.

The announcement comes after this month’s Pip Fruit Industry conference in Wellington, where Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi followed up on comments from Apia’s PACER Plus negotiations by calling for the RSE scheme to allow in more Pacific Island workers.

Tuilaepa said Samoa hopes to send 2000 workers in 2016, up from 1200 last season. Read more »

Advocates call for more more political will when faced with bureaucratic barriers

Tongan publisher Kalafi Moala at the Pacific Media Centre: His jailing in 1996 led to the founding of Pacific Media Watch. Photo: Pippa Brown/PMC

Tongan publisher Kalafi Moala speaks out on obstacles for Pacific reformists who seek change. Photo: Pippa Brown/PMC

Tongan newspaper publisher Kalafi Moala says bureaucracy, culture and religion are a “triune of power” standing in the way of reform in the 21st century Pacific. Asia-Pacific Journalism asks academic experts for their view.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Kai Ping Lew

Reformers in the kingdom of Tonga have often found themselves stymied by an unyielding bureaucracy, resulting in unnecessary delays in passing legislation citizens need, says Tongan newspaper publisher Kalafi Moala.

“No one benefits from such a situation. Those that lose the most are the people the government is serving,” he said.

Dr Steven Ratuva, University of Canterbury’s professor and director of the Macmillan Brown Research Centre for Pacific studies, agrees with Moala about the seriousness of the situation. Read more »

Greenpeace calls for market step up over Pacific tuna management ‘failure’

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Activists deploy a banner reading “No Fish No Future” next to the Albatun Tres, the world’s biggest tuna fishing vessel, known as a super super seiner. The ship can take 3000 tonnes of tuna in a single fishing trip which is almost double the annual catch of some Pacific island countries. Image: © Greenpeace-Paul Hilton/Greenpeace

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By PMC news desk

Greenpeace is urging tuna traders and investors to fill the “void” created by the Western and Central Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)’s failure to manage Pacific tuna fisheries.

Without “real action” at last week’s WCPFC conference, advocate Lagi Toribau of Greenpeace Australia Pacific called for the market end of the supply chain to “step up and use its influence to ensure both they and Pacific tuna have a future”.

Government representatives who met in Samoa for the 11th session of the WCPFC not only “failed the countries they were there representing, they also failed the Pacific”, Toribau said. Read more »

SPECIAL REPORT: Poverty in Paradise – commitment needed from Pacific nations

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Dr Teuila Percival … tourists find it hard to believe that malnourished children actually die in Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomons. Image: Struan Purdie/APJ

Beyond the glossy travel brochures and postcards, a disturbing trend is emerging. Poverty is on the rise across the Pacific region, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Special Report – By Struan Purdie

The waters surrounding Fiji’s outer atolls are crystal clear and warm all year round, which is just how visitors to Laucala Island Resort like it. But only a select few will ever get to visit the exclusive private island.

Prices start at around US$5520 a night for a one bedroom villa, making it one of the world’s most expensive holiday destinations.

It is islands like Laucala that have put the Pacific region on the map for stunning tourist escapes. Read more »

Samoa takes steps to boost its capacity to meet Rio objectives

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Anne Rasmussen (right), Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Lizbeth Cullity, the UNDP Resident Representative in Samoa, agree to work together on strengthening Samoa’s capacity to achieve the Rio goals. Image: Alamgir Mohammad/UNDP

The government of Samoa is trying to tidy up its fragmented environment strategies, plans and policies. With UNDP help it is strengthening its technical and institutional capacities, reports an Asia-Pacific Journalism reporter.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Sonja Schalin

Samoa has embarked on a new project to boost implementation of the Rio Conventions just two weeks after the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference in Apia had strongly shown the importance of effective climate change policies.

The US$1 million project involves cooperation between the Samoan government and UNDP and is funded by Global Environment Facility, the largest environmental fund.

The aim of the project is to strengthen technical and institutional capacities for better implementation of the three Rio Conventions. Read more »

SIDS wrap in Samoa: It really is a matter of life and death

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Facing the future … the SIDS conference in Apia, Samoa, this week. Image: SIDSlive.com

Pacific Scoop:
Comment – By Mata’afa Keni Lesa

The urgency with which a number of challenges the small island developing states are confronted with means only one thing. That is the third Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference, which has just ended in Samoa, cannot be treated as business as usual.

While it’s easy to get lost and become totally overwhelmed by the emotions and magnitude of the issues and the personalities who have been to Samoa to talk about them, the reality of life for small island states must never be forgotten.

It’s quite scary in fact. Our islands are slowly but surely sinking. Coastal erosion and sea level rise are becoming more menacing with each single day so that countless families have had to relocate or risk being swept out to sea. Read more »

End small islands’ dependency on expensive imported fuel, says UN Secretary-General

UN Under-Secretary-General Gyan Chandra Acharya addresses opening of the Private Sector Partnerships Forum in Apia, Samoa. Image: R. Dunn / UN News Centre

UN Undersecretary-General Gyan Chandra Acharya speaks at yesterday’s private sector forum ahead of the SIDS summit in Apia, Samoa.  Image: R. Dunn / UN News Centre

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says corporations must invest in renewable energy if small islands are to be lifted out of isolation and dependency on expensive imported fuel.

Ban spoke yesterday to a private sector forum being held a day before the UN Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) summit opened in Apia, Samoa, today.

The 52 Small Islands Developing States taking part in the SIDS summit are set to focus on the problems of climate change, depletion of fishing stocks in the Pacific, how to create sustainable agriculture and disaster risk reduction. Read more »

NZ failing support for threatened Pasifika languages, say linguists

Tongan school dancers in the annual Polyfest in Auckland ... keeping the language alive. Image: Spasifik magazine

Tongan school dancers in the annual Polyfest in Auckland … keeping the language alive. Image: Spasifik magazine

New Zealand doesn’t have enough parents from Pacific communities – Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau in particular – speaking indigenous languages to be able to speak to their children. Asia-Pacific Journalism reports on a threat to vulnerable languages.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Eva Corlett

Pasifika and Māori cultural well-being is under threat through the decline of native language speakers – with some Pacific languages tipped to disappear this generation if the New Zealand government does not act now, say many linguists.

A recent Victoria University report indicates growing inequality in areas such as smoking, obesity, employment, tertiary degrees, beneficiary agreements and income of Pacific and Māori people within New Zealand.

“Loss of language always occurs first among the most marginalised and disadvantaged groups in society,” says University of Auckland Professor Stephen May – an international and national authority on bilingualism and language rights – as Tongan Language Week opens tomorrow. Read more »

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