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Pacific News Briefs

Baroness Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary General, speaks to the media during the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games Opening on July 17, 2017 in Nassau, Bahamas.  [Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images/AFP]
compiled by Samoa News staff


Pacific Islands Forum countries say they'll work to ban North Korean fishing vessels from their waters.

North Korea has tested nuclear warheads and threatened the United States Pacific territory of Guam in recent weeks, which the forum countries have condemned.

Speaking for the Forum leaders, Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, said the region would work to force North Korean boats out of their waters.

He said some North Korean vessels were fishing in the region using the flags of forum states, through the so-called flags of convenience system.

"New Zealand and Australia will assist other member states with intelligence gathering to identify illegal flagging of vessels by North Korea," Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said.

(Source: RNZI)


A video showing a hearse returning to pick up a casket it appeared to have dropped on the road in Apia has surfaced.

The video, taken by a member of the public, shows a black van turned into a hearse, turning around at the Malifa four corners to pick up the black casket left lying in the middle of the road amidst busy traffic.

The hearse driver promptly parks the car in the middle of the street, runs out and drags the casket back in, before driving off hurriedly.

It did not look like someone was inside the casket.

(Source: Samoa Observer)


The Commonwealth's secretary general has told Pacific countries they need to collaborate more to address the challenges of climate change and illegal fishing.

Patricia Scotland last week presented a report to the Pacific Islands Forum calling for improvements in areas including politics, data, "good governance," partnerships and sustainable finance.

She said with the pressures they face, it's vital that small island nations share intelligence and resources - such as sharing monitoring tools, observers and satellite systems to monitor illegal fishing.

Ms. Scotland said countries need to share information and not use commercial sensitivities as an excuse.

"We know that unless we are better at data sharing, some of the real assets that need to be preserved for our countries and our world, are going to be illegally stolen," said Patricia Scotland.

(Source: RNZI)


The National Marine and Fisheries Services is proposing a catch limit of 2,000 metric tons of longline-caught bigeye tuna for Guam, the Northern Marianas and American Samoa, in a bid to support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific islands.

“Without this catch limit, these U.S territories would not be subject to a limit because, as participating territories to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, they do not have a bigeye tuna limit under international measures adopted by the WCPFC,” NMFS said in its filing recently posted on the Federal Register.

Based on this proposed action, NMFS would authorize each U.S. Pacific territory to allocate up to 1,000-mt of its 2,000-mt bigeye tuna limit to U.S. longline fishing vessels that are permitted to fish under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific.

Citing an evaluation by the chief counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce, NMFS said there would be little— if any— disproportionate adverse economic impacts from the proposed rule based on gear type or relative vessel size.

“The proposed rule also will not place a substantial number of small entities, or any segment of small entities, at a significant competitive disadvantage to large entities,” said Chris Oliver, assistant administrator for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.

As an accountability measure, Oliver said, the NMFS will monitor catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna by the longline fisheries of each U.S Pacific territory, including catches made by U.S. longline vessels operating under specified fishing agreements.

“When NMFS projects that a territorial catch or allocation limit will be reached, NMFS would…prohibit the catch and retention of longline-caught bigeye tuna by vessels in the applicable territory (if the territorial catch limit is projected to be reached), and/or vessels in a specified fishing agreement (if the allocation limit is projected to be reached),” NMFS said.

Meanwhile, the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council is evaluating its 2016 decision to reduce the area off-limits to large vessels along the coast of American Samoa, which has been invalidated by a federal court in Hawaii.

The court’s ruling issued in March was based on a lawsuit by  the American Samoa Government which challenged the NMFS’s decision to shrink the large vessel protected area to 12 miles from the shoreline, allowing vessels 50 feet and longer to net hauls traditionally reserved for local fishermen.

Fishing waters had been preserved for small boat fishing fleet from the shoreline out to 50 miles since 2002 and the court agreed that such policy is in line with efforts to preserve the American Samoans’ cultural fishing rights as implied under the Instruments of Cession.

“The council is currently reevaluating the (long vessel protected area) rule, including options to define cultural fishing rights in American Samoa that are subject to preservation and protection,” NMFS said.

(Source: Marianas Variety)


This year's Paramount winner of New Zealand's Wallace Art Awards says the achievement gives Pacific people a visual presence in the country.

South Auckland artist Andy Leleisi'uao has been practicing his art since the early 1990s.

Leleisi'uao said he was fortunate to win the accolade, but what was important was striving to help other Pacific artists get to the top.

"There's a constellation of us that are working and practicing every day and these younger artists need to track down the artist they enjoy and talk to them, you know, just make time to have coffee with them because there's quite a few of us now and I think in order for them to grow and their work to grow further they need to just talk to these wonderful artists that we have while they're still around."

Andy Leleisi'uao is now working towards exhibitions in the next couple of months in Raratonga and south Auckland's Fresh Gallery.

Harmonic People art work that made Andy Leleisi’uao the Paramount Winner for the Wallace Art Awards. [Photo: Supplied]

(Source: RNZI)


Football Federation Samoa is hosting two FIFA officials this week.

FIFA Technical Instructor and Oceania Football Confederation Referee Development Officer, Neil Poloso and FIFA fitness Instructor Kadek Touata are in Samoa to help local football officials.

Some 24 local officials have registered for weeklong OFC Referee workshops at Tuana'imato.

 “The main objectives of this course as you know from 2016 up to now, so many rules of the game have been changed,” said Poloso. 

The Football International Federation Board who was in charge of laws changed so many rules of the game, and for some reason Samoa was not in the programme in 2016.

“So this year we came here to Samoa so we can update all the rules and laws to our referees here.”

The workshop is organized by FIFA in collaboration with the Oceania Football Confederation.

The workshop started yesterday and will continue until the end of the week.

(Source: Samoa Observer)