Pacific Region News

Posted on Oct 28 1999

Bluefin tuna stocks hit record-low

MELBOURNE, Australia—Research undertaken by Australian marine scientist Tom Polacheck had found that stocks of Pacific southern bluefin tuna are at historically low levels “with a low chance of recovery.”

Polacheck said while member countries of the International Tuna Commission have begun reducing catches, some non-member countries have increased their annual take of the fish. Non-members, he said, now account for about half the southern bluefin tuna caught.

Polacheck has urged that immediate steps be taken to assure survival of the species as a viable fisheries product.

Peace monitoring group begins work

HONIARA, Solomon Islands—New police commissioner Rererangi Rangihika, a Maori from New Zealand, has announced that the multi-national peace-monitoring group will begin work on Guadalcanal Saturday.

The group from Fiji and Vanuatu, joined by 100 Solomon Islands police, will monitor the surrender of weapons from militants at nine collection points on the island.

Local Guadalcanal islanders have fought a yearlong guerilla campaign against immigrants from neighboring Malaita over land rights, jobs and political power. Most Malaitans have now returned to their home islands.

Pacific countries attend climate conference

BONN, Germany—Delegates from 10 Pacific Island countries are demanding global action at a weeklong United Nations sponsored meeting to stop climate change.

They have present detailed studies which show that Pacific countries produce only minute amounts of greenhouse gases compared to the world’s industrial giants, yet low lying Pacific Islands are most effected by the warming of the earth and the resultant rise in sea levels that the gases cause.

The Pacific delegates are seeking international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas production.

Irian Jaya wants new ship

MERAUKE, Indonesia—Irian Jaya legislators are urging the national Ministry of Transportation to send new ships to the island of New Guinea province and withdraw vessels that no longer are seaworthy.

The demand is in response to the sinking of the MV Bimas Raya II ferry off Merauke a week ago.

The over-loaded vessel was carrying 339 passengers when it went down in coastal waters. At last report, there were only 35 survivors.

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