brad brace

6/27/2014

Pacific islands face fishing crisis

As the population on the Pacific islands grows, finding enough fish to eat is becoming increasingly difficult. Now, the fishing industry is switching to tuna to tackle the problem.

The coral fishermen of Vanuatu are facing a growing crisis: they are increasingly returning from their fishing expeditions with ever dwindling hauls. That`s because the coral reefs that they travel out to are disappearing at an alarming rate as are the fish stocks near the coast that have traditionally served as the staple diet for people in the region. It`s a similar story in the other Pacific Islands too.

A variety of factors are responsible for the phenomenon. In addition to environmental pollution, rising temperatures and a creeping acidity in the ocean`s waters – both a consequence of climate change – have taken a huge toll on the reefs.

In fact, the ocean’s chemical makeup has changed more now than it has in 55 million years. That has put incredible pressure on the region’s embattled coral reefs, which have seen their rich biodiversity diminish. More people, fewer fish

The growing population has led to a shortage of food – and climate change has exacerbated the problem

“Coral fishing in the region could shrink by 20 percent by the year 2050,” says Johann Bell, a fishing expert who lives on New Caledonia, an archipelago located some 1,500 kilometers east of Australia. Bell works with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), an organization of Pacific island countries and territories dealing with environmental and social issues. The decline of the fish catch presents a troubling problem for SPC members. “We have observed that the gap between the amount of fish available in the reefs and the amount that we need to feed the population is growing,” says Bell. And the numbers don’t lie: that gap amounts to 4,000 tons of fish a year. The disappearing reefs have only exacerbated an existing problem. The population on southwest Pacific Ocean islands continues to expand at a rapid rate, expected to reach 50 percent by 2030. If that happens, the islands would need an additional 150,000 tons of fish a year.

A fourth of the world’s tuna stock is found in the waters surrounding eight Pacific islands: Micronesia, Kribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands

But attempting to increase the catch for coral fishermen would only put the reefs under further pressure. “When you don’t cultivate an eco-system in a sustainable way, when you overfish, it is significantly less prepared to deal with the changing climate,” says Doris Soto, a senior officer of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department at the Food and Agricultulture Organization (FAO). That is why fishermen in the region are not permitted to catch more than 3 of the 50 to 100 tons of fish pro square meter of water each year. Yet, fish forms the main diet on the Pacific islands, and remains an important source of protein for residents. As coastal fishing wanes, so too does the locals’ most basic staple. Vanuautu, like most Pacific islands, has been forced to look for alternatives. But the question is just where. One alternative would be on land. For instance, the Nile tilapia is a large fish and the most prominent example of species that can be cultivated in fisheries and aquacultures on land.

The Pacific Community has recommended the increased use of freshwater aquacultures, and the Nile tilapia is the perfect solution. Since the region is expected to get more rain in future, the Nile tilapa can now even be bred in areas which have received little precipitation so far. To catch tuna, fishermen have to venture far past the coral reefs where they have traditionally caught their bounty

But the SPC’s main solution to the question of alternative food sources lies further off the coast. Far into the ocean’s turquoise waters, huge swarms of tuna swim freely, offering an enticing alternative. But the fishing sector first needs to adapt its ways to learn how and where to catch the fish before tuna can become a fixture on lunch tables. Luring tuna to the coast Fishermen have already been forced to venture further out into the ocean in their small fishing boats for catch. That means more fuel is needed, raising costs. That`s why the Pacific Community recommends installing Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) to attract ocean fish and other sea creatures back towards the coast. FADs are usually man-made floats or buoys that are anchored to the ocean floor with long ropes. They lure tuna and other marine life that often seek protection in the shadow of the floating devices. Vanuatu has already started experimenting with FADs, installing one between the islands of Nguna, Pele and Efate. That has made it easier for the surrounding 30 communities to access fish.

“Now our fishermen can fish in the vicinity of their homes,” Mariwota, a village elder from the community of Taloa was quoted as saying in a joint report by the Pacific Community and Germany’s federal development agency (GIZ). “They are now ensured a good catch,” he said. Selling by-catch at local markets

Many Pacific islands earn a lot of money selling fishing licenses to foreign shipping companies

The approach also involves pushing foreign fleets, that catch tuna in the region on a large scale, to contribute towards improving the food security of the local population. That`s because it`s not just tuna but also other marine creatures, too small to be processed in canning facilities, that end up in the huge fishing nets. The practice has long been criticized by environmental organizations as well.

The SPC now suggests that this by-catch, that in the past was thrown back in the ocean, should be used to feed the local populace. “We want the fleets to be forced to bring their by-catch to land and sell it in cities here before they return to their home countries with the tuna they’ve caught,” says Johann Bell. Bell also believes that the Pacific islands should reduce the number of fishing licenses handed out to foreign companies. “The island countries should hold onto more of those licenses to feed their own people,” he says. His concept could be especially helpful to the islands that lie further west, like Papua New Guinea and Palau. That`s because climate change is set to affect the distribution of tuna stocks in the region. “Our latest studies have shown that climate change will cause tuna fish to head east and to subtropical regions,” says Bell. He predicts that by the end of the century, the island countries in the west could see their tuna catch shrink by up to a third, while the catch increases in the east. That is why the Pacific islands have come up with the Vessel Day Scheme, or VDS, where vessel owners can buy and trade licenses for days fishing at sea. The scheme helps reduce the amount of tuna catch and more fairly distribute the fish among the participating islands. “Originally, the system was developed so that all the island countries could profit equally from the tuna populations, which have long traveled back and forth in the ocean’s waters,” says Johann Bell. “But it is also a good way to adapt to climate change.”

12/10/2012

Filed under: disaster,General,global islands,palau,philippines,weather — admin @ 6:06 am

2/17/2009

Health workers alarmed at pace of dengue in New Caledonia

Health authorities in New Caledonia say dengue fever is spreading at an
alarming rate, with over over 1,000 cases reported in the French Pacific
territory since the New Year.

In the first six weeks of this year, 1,027 dengue cases have been reported,
a figure close to the total number of cases recorded last year.

Health officials say they are particularly concerned that 546 of the 2009
caseload were reported in the past two weeks.

New Caledonia’s director of sanitary and social affairs, Jean Paul
Grangeon, says the situation is worrying.

“There is a serious outbreak of dengue in New Caledonia. We’ve got nearly
60 new cases a day now,” he said.

Most of the infections involve Type 4 dengue fever, which was last recorded
in New Caledonia 30 years ago, and against which most people have no
immunity.

The outbreak has also spread to neighbouring Pacific countries including
Fiji, Samoa, Palau, Kiribati, Vanuatu, American Samoa and the Cook Islands.

Health authorities say that as the weather gets cooler and milder, the
breeding rate of mosquitoes should slow, making it easier to bring the
epidemic under control.

10/10/2008

Fiscal Crisis: Migrating Global Spiritual Mess

The crisis is not Euro-centric as it is made out to be. It is global.
The crisis does not seem to affect Asia as much as human life is cheap
fodder in that segment of humanity.

The crisis is also not materialistic or fiscal as made out to be, it
is a spiritual crisis.

There seems to be no solution to the spiritual crisis from the
Eurocentric point of view with the deepest aspects and values of
Christianity having been denied and defaced consistently. Even as
the Judaic notion of Just Law and the Greek philosophical notions
of Quality and Moderation have been chucked into the dustbin of
militarism and consumerism.

As for the Asiatic spiritual solutions, they are multiple, mostly
kaleidoscopic odds and ends, throwbacks to primitivism and animism
and irrationalism or simply prescriptive of treating all crises as
illusion or delusion and reducing the task of salvation to yet another
selfish point of indulgence.

There seems no way out of the global spiritual mess all of which is
finally centred in the “self” of each individual, each tribe, each
ethnic group, each nation and any other human configuration you might
want to name.

Avy

•••

ENVIRONMENT:
Crises Likely to Spur Mass Migrations

As climate change, sea-level rise, earthquakes and floods threaten countries such as Bangladesh, Tuvalu, Vietnam and Tajikistan, the Tokyo-based U.N. University (UNU) warns that by 2050, some 200 million people will be displaced by environmental problems.

This estimated figure is roughly equal to two-thirds of the current population in the United States or the combined population of Britain, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

“All indicators show that we are dealing with a major emerging global problem,” says Janos Bogardi, director of UNU’s Institute on the Environment and Human Security.

The issue of migration, he points out, represents the most profound expression of the inter-linkage between the environment and human security.

Unlike the traditional economically-motivated migrants of today, the environmentally-motivated migration is expected to feature poorer people, more women, children and elderly, from more desperate environmental situations, and possibly less able to move far.

A group of experts who did a two-year research study points out that existing human trafficking networks would gain strength and new ones could emerge as environmental deterioration, climate change and disaster uproot millions of people.

In Bangladesh, women with children, whose husbands either died at sea during cyclone Sidr or are away as temporary labour migrants, are easy prey for traffickers and end up in prostitution networks or in forced labour in India.

Bangladesh is also often considered “the country that could be most affected by climate change” due to projected sea-level rise and flooding from melting Himalayan glaciers. It is also heavily affected by sudden disasters, such as cyclones.

According to preliminary findings, Bangladesh may lose up to one-fifth of its surface area due to rising sea level. And this scenario is likely to occur, if the sea level rises by one metre and no dyke enforcement measures are taken.

Asked if there should be an international treaty to protect the new breed of environmental migrants, Bogardi told IPS: “Yes, there should be a convention or set of treaties and formal recognition of people displaced or migrating due to environmental causes.”

However, he said, such a treaty should be independent of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

The new refugees will also come from countries such as the Maldives, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Palau: small islands in danger of being wiped off the face of the earth due to sea level rise triggered by climate change.

“An entirely different question is how to deal with the disappearance of a state? This is a legal question and international lawyers have already been contemplating ‘solutions’ like governments [in permanent] exile or the model of the Sovereign Order of Malta,” said Bogardi.

“While the submergence of an entire state is unique, we expect that the humanitarian [and economic] challenge [measured by the number of people affected] will be much greater in the deltas of Bangladesh, the Nile River, Mekong River or even the Rhine and Mississippi Rivers, than in small island states,” he added.

A three-day conference on environmental migrants, described as the largest ever conference on this issue, is expected to conclude next weekend in Bonn, Germany.

Hosted by UNU, the conference, which is being attended by officials and experts from about 80 countries, also serves as a platform to introduce the fledgling Climate Change Environment and Migration Alliance (CCEMA).

Meanwhile, addressing the high-level segment of the General Assembly sessions last month, the vice president of Palau, Elias Camsek Chin, told member states they must be guided by a single consideration: “Saving those small island states that today live in danger of disappearance.”

Palau and members of the Pacific Islands Forum, including Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Micronesia, “are deeply concerned about the growing threat which climate change poses not only to our sustainable development but also to our future survival,” Chin said.

“This is a security matter which has gone un-addressed,” he warned the General Assembly.

James Michel, the president of Seychelles, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, said: “It is not right that small island states have to run the risk of being submerged by rising sea levels, whilst some nations refuse to even acknowledge their responsibility for the high levels of environmental pollution which are now threatening the planet’s resources.”

Kiribati’s President Anote Tong told the General Assembly his country has only several decades before its islands become uninhabitable. The 100,000 people in his country must one day move elsewhere, he said.

Asked if any of the countries neighbouring these small island states have expressed their willingness to accommodate the new migrants, Bogardi told IPS: “There is no recognition [yet] of environmentally [forced] migrants, hence there is no specific expression of obligation to let in migrants who migrate due to sea level rise, frequent storm surges or other such environmental events.”

“It is one of our main goals to establish and have accepted three categories of environmental migrants [namely, environmentally motivated migrants, environmentally forced migrants and environmental emergency migrants],” he said.

The latter category of environmental emergency migrants would account for those displaced by natural hazard events like earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis etc.

Bogardi said the frequently reported Tuvalu-New Zealand deal on migrants does not refer to accepting migrants for environmental reasons but rather New Zealand providing a labour migration quota for people from Tuvalu through its Pacific Access Category migration programme.

Asked about the possible extinction of some of the low-lying small island states, Bogardi said some small island states could face “disappearance” in the case of more extreme sea level rise than expected in benchmark reports such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Even if sea level rise exceeds expectations, he pointed out, the process is likely to be gradual over decades.

“Increasing sea level would threaten coastal aquifers, thus feasible life and economic activities would diminish much before the islands would disappear,” he said. Consequently, he added, “we expect migratory trends to emerge” or be stronger than at present in the years and decades to come.

“In summary, we expect depopulation as an ultimate coping measure to be implemented gradually before the physical disappearance of those islands. Time scale is decades, if not centuries.”

9/16/2008

Tok Pisin = English

tok baksait = gossip about
tok bilas = ridicule
tok bilong bipo yet = fable / myth
tok bilong ol tumbuna = tradition of ancestors
tok bokis = secret language / parable
tok grisim = flatter
tok gude = greet
tok gumi = tall tale
tok hait = secret
tok insait = conscience
tok pait = controversy
tok ples = local language
tok tru = speak the truth / truth
toktok = talk / conversation
tokautim sin / confess
tokim = tell
toksave = advertisement / information / explain
tok save long = explain
toktok long = talk about
toktok wantaim = converse with
tokwin = rumour

6/6/2008

Pacific population nears 9.5 million

Filed under: fiji,General,global islands,palau,png,solomon islands,tuvalu,vanuatu — admin @ 4:56 am

The population of the Pacific is set to reach nearly 9.5 million by the middle of this year.

New data from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community shows the region’s population is growing by 1.9 per cent a year, or 500 people a day.

The population estimates are compiled by the Secretariat from country statistics.

The report predicts the population of Melanesia will grow to more than eight-point-three million people, Polynesia to more than 655,000 and Micronesia more than 530,000 by mid-year.

The largest individual country population is that of Papua New Guinea, which has an estimated six-point-five million people, followed by Fiji with nearly 840,000.

The smallest is Pitcairn Island with just 66 people.

Predictably, the fastest-growing population is that of Guam, where thousands of American troops are being relocated from Japan.

Both Niue and the Northern Marianas are experiencing a decrease in residents, the latter because of the lack of jobs.

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