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Environmental impacts of seabed mining brochure
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Te Ipukarea Society Brochure 2017-18
Marumaru Atua anchors just off Suwarrow

The Traditional Cook Islands Voyaging Vaka (Canoe) the Marumaru Atua, was back in Rarotonga with some extra cargo. Taking a team of 10 volunteers, it set off for Suwarrow two weeks prior and after a 4 day voyage arrived just outside the reef of Suwarrow. Staying for four days the crew then joined in on the Rat Eradication that had already been done by a group of ten for the past three weeks. The crew were happy to help out with the project as they too could see the benefit first hand in preserving the quality of life and especially bird life in this pristine bird sanctuary.

After the four day lay over all the Eradication staff including photographers, and Environment service staff put their hand to the job of being part of the crew to sail Marumaru Atua back to Rarotonga. With a longer trip back due to not so friendly winds, after six days of sailing the beautiful waters back from Suwarrow, Rarotonga was a beautiful sight. The crew though a little weary from the Sun and continuing shifts on watch welcomed the extra hands the Rat Eradication team provided and added to the experience of sailing a traditional voyaging canoe. With everyone home safe, the question now was whether the Vaka would go back to Suwarrow in November to pick up the two game keepers that were stationed there before the return of the hurricane season.

Steve briefing the Team for Suwarrow Project Team

Suwarrow Atoll, a necklace of remote Cook Islands land forms, has been renowned for many things over the centuries; a Pacific treasure trove, a hermit’s paradise and a birder’s wonderland. It would be perfect except for an invasion of rats.

Across Polynesia, Pacific, Brown and Black Rat brought in by vessels over the past 200 years have driven more bird species to extinction than in any other region in the world.

Suwarrow, where 100,000 seabirds are found, has not escaped the slaughter.

“Left unchecked the rats put at risk globally important seabird populations found at the site”, said Ian Karika – from Te Ipukarea society (BirdLife in the Cook Islands).

Its importance as a breeding sanctuary for seabirds, and Important Bird Area, can’t be underestimated. It is home to 9% of the world’s population of Lesser Frigatebird, 3 % of the world’s Red-Tailed Tropicbird and a staggering 100,000 Sooty Tern.

“The fear is the rats will continue their invasion to other parts of the atoll”, said BirdLife’s Steve Cranwell who has removed invasive species from 30 islands across the Pacific.

Now BirdLife International and Te Ipukarea Society (BirdLife in the Cook Islands) are about to set off for Suwarrow to eradicate the rats for good. Following two years of careful planning, the small team will use their expert knowledge to eradicate all the rats and save the remaining seabird colonies.

Joining the team is wildlife documentary filmmaker Nick Hayward who will be producing a film about the operation and will be posting regular blogs about the trip via satellite phone. Nick won a place on the trip following a worldwide search by BirdLife for an experienced wildlife filmmaker to record the adventure.

“I’m really looking forwards to blogging from the field and telling the fascinating stories which will happen during such an amazing trip”, said Nick as he prepared to leave Rarotonga.

“With invasive species accounting for 90 % of all known extinctions since 1800 we know the stakes are high”, added Nick.

Members of the project team preparing for Suwarrow. Ian Karika (far right) and Steve Cranwell (third from right).

The baiting operation will last for just a month, a successful decade of perfecting the science of island rat eradication has meant less ‘wait and see’ and more extermination of rats.

In mid-May, the team will return from Suwarrow to Rarotonga, a 950 kilometre journey on the Cook Islands Traditional Vaka, Marumaru atua.

The film which Nick will create – with the kind support of Wildiaries – will be launched in June at BirdLife’s World congress, and used to launch a new global Invasive Alien Species Programme.

You can follow Nick’s posts by subscribing to emails at http://birdlife-pacific.wildiaries.com/or through BirdLife’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

The BirdLife Invasive Alien Species Programme urgently needs your support to tackle more sites and save more species. To support our work and make a donation today, please go to www.justgiving.com/BirdLife-invasive-specieswhere every penny counts. Thank you.

The expedition to remove rats from Suwarrow National Park is a joint project between BirdLife International, Te Ipukarea Society (BirdLife Partner in the Cook Islands) and the Cook Island National Environment Service. The project is being kindly supported by the European Community, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, SPREP, GEF and Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, and forms part of the BirdLife Invasive Alien Species Programme which is tackling this greatest of threats to wildlife around the world. BirdLife wishes to thank the efforts of many who are supporting the programme including Pacific Invasive Initiative, Pacific Invasive Learning Network, New Zealand Department of Conservation the University of the South Pacific, Landcare Research New Zealand, Island Conservation, Wildiaries and Nick Hayward.

By Steve Menzies, Communications Adviser for the SPC-EU Deep Sea Minerals Project.

From March 11-15th 2013, the Kingdom of Tonga is to host a regional workshop on “Law and Contract Negotiations for Deep Sea Minerals” in Nuku’alofa, on behalf of the SPC-EU Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project.

The EU-funded Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project managed by SOPAC, the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, involves 15 Pacific Island Countries including: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Hannah Lily, Legal Adviser for the Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project, says a main objective of the Tonga workshop is to provide government officials with the knowledge, skills and confidence to negotiate effectively with well-resourced deep sea mining companies.

Ms Lily says the Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project stresses the need for countries to first put in place robust law and regulatory mechanisms for the national management of deep sea minerals before any negotiations take place.

“We strongly recommend that countries have these mechanisms in place before any individual project negotiations commence. Dedicated seabed minerals legislation will assist the country meets its obligations under international law, such as the protection of the marine environment. It will also provide clarity and stability to that country’s operating environment and what it expects from mineral companies,” she says.

“Seabed mineral resources represent an exciting new economic opportunity for Pacific Island States. But, in order to make the most of this opportunity, governments will need to find responsible exploration and mining companies, and work to set terms that provide sufficient protection and financial return to the country,” she says.

Ms, Lily says one of the main objectives of the Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project is to enable countries to make informed decisions about whether or not to give out exploration and mining licences for their deep sea minerals resources.

“If those licences are issued it is critical that they contain terms that protect the country from environmental damage, protect the people from impacts on their livelihoods, and ensure a proper financial return that will be collected and managed responsibly,” she says.

spc_logoDr. Taaniela Kula, Deputy Secretary for Tonga’s Natural Resources at the Ministry of Lands Survey and Natural Resources, believes the upcoming workshop will be critical for public administrators throughout the region.

“I don’t want to speak on behalf of all Pacific Islanders but I don’t think that negotiation skills are something that Pacific Islanders are particularly good at. From my perspective Pacific Islanders are brought up to respect others and especially foreigners. With long-term management issues like deep sea minerals I think there can be a tendency to feel inferior in front of big companies that come with a lot of status, wealth and technical knowledge,” he says.

Mr. Akuila Tawake, Manager of the Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project, says the regional initiative has been specifically designed to operate as an independent adviser. “The role of the project is to provide countries with the relevant information and advice they need to make informed decisions whether they want allow deep sea mining within their national jurisdictions,” he says.

Although the 4-year Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project is scheduled to end in 2014, Mr. Tawake says Pacific Island countries will still need to have the capacity to deal with this important resource management issue over the next 20 to 30 years.

“We are trying to assist the Pacific Island countries to learn from the mistakes that have been made in other industries like fisheries and on land mining. But ultimately, after the Project has provided its advice and support, it is up to the countries to decide whether or not they want to proceed with mining their deep sea mineral resources,” he says.

“Over the last two years we have done our best to engage with all stakeholders in each of the countries. Across the countries we have been holding “National Deep Sea Minerals Stakeholder Consultation Workshops” where we invite all levels of stakeholders including a community leaders and NGOs.

“For the Tonga workshop we are inviting representatives from governments, civil society, mining companies and some experts from outside the region. This holistic approach signifies that we are serious about taking an inclusive approach to work with all stakeholders interested in deep sea minerals in the Pacific,” he says.

Teina MacKenzie, from the Te Ipukarea Society in the Cook Islands, is one of the stakeholders representing interested civil society organisations the Tonga workshop. In September 2012 the Te Ipukarea Society collaborated with 20 other non-government and academic institutions to pass Resolution 79 at the World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea, which focuses on the protection of deep-ocean ecosystems and biodiversity from the threats of sea bed mining.

Because of the rapidly growing commercial interest in deep sea minerals Mrs. MacKenzie says it’s even more critical for civil society organisations to get directly involved in this process as quickly as possible.

“We need to be involved to make sure that legislation is robust and there are no loopholes. It’s important that communities in all the countries really engage in the process of developing the legislation, frameworks and policies in each of their own countries. Transparency will come when the communities really understand what the issues are. We all need to be a part of this conversation,” she says.

Mrs. MacKenzie says that Pacific Island governments also have an obligation to get the necessary resources, information and systems in place before they start making hurried negotiations with the private sector.

“I can understand civil society organisations saying “Why are we even taking this up when we are not prepared for it?” This is what scares communities. They look at Government making decisions without consultation and then not having the means or the resources to be able to do it effectively. If every country really wants to develop this resource they really need to prioritize and give it the dedicated human resource and expertise that is required,” she says.

Teina Mackenzie (on the right) will be representing the Cook Islands in Tonga this week.

Tonga will host a regional workshop on Law and Contract Negotiations for Deep Sea Minerals in Nuku’alofa, on behalf of the SPC-EU Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project from March 11-15.The Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project is funded by the European Union and managed by SOPAC, the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.The project includes 15 Pacific Island Countries: the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Cook Islander Teina Mackenzie, from the Te Ipukarea Society, is one of the stakeholders representing interested civil society organisations at the Tonga workshop. In September 2012 the Te Ipukarea Society collaborated with a wide range of non-government and academic institutions to pass Resolution 79 at the World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea, which focuses on the protection of deep-ocean ecosystems and biodiversity from the threats of sea bed mining.Because of the rapidly growing commercial interest in deep sea minerals Mackenzie says it’s even more critical for civil society organisations to get directly involved in this process as quickly as possible. She insists that governments must ensure there is comprehensive stakeholder engagement before licences and contracts are even negotiated.

“Those who have been involved with the issue of seabed minerals mining recognise it is a pioneering activity and there are still many unknown factors surrounding its many impacts.“The argument has been made that the lack of data and information should not hinder development, but there is enough reason and logic to maintain that proceeding with caution is paramount. It must be a priority for individual countries to obtain further scientific and technical data and to research possible impacts. This should supersede the necessity to focus on enticing mining companies to do business in their country,” she says.

However, Mackenzie believes there is an urgent need for all conscientious non-state actors to be prepared if their governments decide to proceed with mining for seabed minerals. “We need to be involved to make sure that legislation is robust and there are no loopholes. It’s important that communities in all the countries really engage in the process of developing the legislation, frameworks and policies in each of their own countries. Transparency will come when the communities really understand what the issues are. We all need to be a part of this conversation,” she says.

Hannah Lily, legal adviser for the Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project, says a main objective of the Tonga workshop is to provide government officials with the knowledge, skills and confidence to negotiate effectively with well-resourced deep sea mining companies. Lily says the project stresses the importance for countries to put in place robust law and regulatory mechanisms for the national management of deep sea minerals before any negotiations take place. “We strongly recommend that countries have these mechanisms in place before any individual project negotiations commence. Dedicated seabed minerals legislation will assist the country to meet its obligations under international law, such as the protection of the marine environment. It will also provide clarity and stability to that country’s operating environment and what it expects from mineral companies.”
“Seabed mineral resources represent an exciting new economic opportunity for Pacific Island States. But, in order to make the most of this opportunity, governments will need to find responsible exploration and mining companies, and work to set terms that provide sufficient protection and financial return to the country,” she says.Lily says one of the main objectives of the Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project is to enable countries to make informed decisions about whether or not to give out exploration and mining licences for their deep sea minerals resources.“If those licences are issued it is critical that they contain terms that protect the country from environmental damage, protect the people from impacts on their livelihoods, and ensure a proper financial return that will be collected and managed responsibly,” she says.

Taaniela Kula, deputy secretary for Tonga’s Natural Resources at the Ministry of Lands, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, believes the upcoming workshop will be critical for public administrators throughout the region.
“I think the Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project is already helping many Pacific Island Seabed Mineral Authorities to build much needed skills in areas such as international law, contract negotiations, geological and technical knowledge, environmental management and a greater understanding of potentially critical socio-economic issues related to deep sea mining.

“The workshop here in Tonga is extremely important because, if government administrations don’t build these important skills, they may overlook critical aspects of exploration and mining agreements that could lead to possible disputes after any contracts have been already been signed,” he says.“By building these skills will be able to build greater confidence among our administrators because we will know exactly what terms we are signing up for. These skills are obviously critical when you are sitting around a negotiation table with a well-resourced company where there may already be the perception that they have great status, wealth and access to a lot of the technical knowledge about deep sea mineral resources,” he says.

Akuila Tawake, manager of the Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project, says the regional initiative has been specifically designed to operate as an independent adviser. “The role of the project is to provide countries with the relevant information and advice they need to make informed decisions whether they want deep sea mining within their national jurisdictions,” he says.Although the 4-year Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project is scheduled to end in 2014, Tawake says Pacific Island countries will still need to have the capacity to deal with this important resource management issue over the next 20 to 30 years.“We are trying to assist the Pacific Island countries to learn from the mistakes that have been made in other industries like fisheries and on land mining.

But ultimately, after the Project has provided its advice and support, it is up to the countries to decide whether or not they want to proceed with mining their deep sea mineral resources,” he says.“Over the last two years we have done our best to engage with all stakeholders in each of the countries. Across the countries we have been holding “National Deep Sea Minerals Stakeholder Consultation Workshops” where we invite all levels of stakeholders including community leaders and NGOs.“For the Tonga workshop we are inviting representatives from governments, civil society, mining companies and some experts from outside the region. This holistic approach signifies that we are serious about taking an inclusive approach to work with all stakeholders interested in deep sea minerals in the Pacific,” he says.

The Cook Islands Marine Park joins Big Ocean Our Marine Park

As part of its strategy to implement the recently established Cook Islands Marine Park – currently the largest MPA in the world – the Cook Islands’ government recently accepted the invitation to formally join Big Ocean: A Network of World’s Large-Scale Marine Managed Areas.

Upon acceptance of the network’s invitation to become a member site Prime Minster Henry Puna said, “We were honored to join the family of large scale marine managed areas and contribute to the well-being of not only our peoples, but also of humanity. We look forward to actively participating in Big Ocean.”

Sized at 1.065 million km2 (411,000 mi2), the Cook Islands Marine Park encompasses the entire southern half of the nation’s waters and was established for integrated ocean conservation and management. According to Elizabeth Wright-Koteka, Chief of Staff for Prime Minister Puna, “the goal is to have the marine park’s management framework create a balance between economic growth and conserving core biodiversity. We recognize that peer-learning through Big Ocean will be very helpful in achieving success.

Big Ocean is a network of managers and partners of existing and proposed large-scale marine managed areas. The collective aim is to improve the effectiveness of management efforts, to serve as a peer learning resource and support system, and to build the professional standards of practice for this emerging genre of marine conservation. Big Ocean also aims to share outcomes and lessons learned in order to increase understanding of the unique contributions of large-scale marine protection and how management of the ocean at such scales is changing the game of ocean governance. Collectively, Big Ocean member sites encompass 3.2 million km2 of ocean—twice the size of the Gulf of Mexico.

BIG OCEAN Committee IUCN Congress

TIS representatives at the IUCN World Conservation Congress attended a workshop with Big Ocean: A network of the World’s Large Scale Marine Managed Areas last month. Big Ocean is made up of member sites, represented by managers and partners, and provides support to other existing and proposed large-scale marine managed areas and site partners through peer-learning opportunities.

The workshop entitled “The Role of Partnerships and Size in Scaling Up Marine Protection Efforts Across the Globe,” was organized and hosted jointly by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Big Ocean, Conservation International and the New England Aquarium.

The aim of the workshop was to use discussions to inform and guide the development of practical management guidance on large-scale marine protected areas.

Cook Islands PM Henry Puna @ Eye on Earth Summit

Announcing the Government’s commitment of a one million sq km Marine Park in the Southern Cook Islands at a major international meeting in Abu Dhabi , Prime Minister Henry Puna issued a challenge to the international community to provide support to developing countries such as the Cook Islands who have expressed a commitment to protecting the oceans.

The Prime Minister was the day’s keynote speaker at the third day of the Eye on Earth summit, occupying a slot that had been filled the previous day by former US President Bill Clinton. The gathering, which has attracted over a thousand delegates from around the world, is focused on information gathering and sharing to provide for a sustainable future.

His challenge had an immediate response. Jack Dangermond, founder and President of the Environmental Systems Research Institute, (Esri), pledged the support of his company to build a database for the Cook Islands Marine Park that will utilise Seasketch – the world’s newest Geographic Information System (GIS) tool for marine spatial planning. Esri is one of the world’s most successful GIS companies, with more than 350,000 organisations using its products globally.

In a meeting following the PM’s address, Esri, in partnership with University College Santa Barbara, agreed to assign two senior scientists to bring together all the available information on the marine park into a single digital platform, and to train Cook Islands people to operate it. The project will begin in early 2012, with a stakeholder meeting in Rarotonga, and is anticipated to take eight months to complete.

“I came to the Eye on the Earth Summit to be able to see at first hand the cutting edge initiatives for the collection of environmental data and how to improve access to such information in the Pacific Islands. To work with Esri in the development of initiatives that will aid in better management of our ocean and a more secure future for all Cook Islands people is a very exciting development that underlines the global significance of our marine park declaration,” said the Prime Minister.

“An important mission of the Eye on Earth summit is to develop recommendations about using data sharing as an important step along the path towards sustainability, so we are very pleased to be able to offer our support to the Cook Islands Marine Park initiative,” Jack Dangermond said. “Esri is proud to be able to make a commitment to the protection of a very special part of the planet, and to provide the technical support through our most recent innovation, ArcGIS Online, that will help to make the Cook Island Government’s vision a reality.”

During the summit, the Prime Minister has also held meetings with Monique Barbut, CEO of the Global Environment Facility; Dr Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme; renowned oceans explorer, Dr Sylvia Earle of National Geographic; and Dr Rolph Poyet, Office of the President of the Seychelles. He has been accompanied by Repeta Puna of the Office of the Prime Minister and Kevin Iro of the Cook Islands Marine Park Steering Committee.

“The range of expertise and technological innovation that was on display at the summit was remarkable, and I was very encouraged at the support that was offered from so many quarters. It has become even clearer to me that not only is the Cook Islands on the right track in developing our marine park for the benefit of our own future generations, but also as a significant contribution to the future of the global oceans,” Mr Iro said.

“There is much work to be done to fulfil the promise of the marine park, but we now have some innovative partners in our endeavour, and the Cook Islands is now clearly positioned as a global leader in marine conservation and a champion of island states,” Mr Puna concluded.

The new Cook Islands Marine Park was announced by the Cook Islands Prime Minister at the opening of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting last month. The Marine Park comprises the southern half of our Exclusive Economic Zone from 15 degrees south and encompasses one atoll and eight islands with fringing coral reefs. It also includes over 1 million km2 of deep ocean with a number of seamounts that may be significant in terms of biodiversity and/or abundance of marine life. The legal designation of the Marine Park will follow island consultations, a legal analysis of existing legislation and a legislative process.

“The announcement is just the beginning of a long process to determine the zonation of activities in the Marine Park,” says Jacqui Evans of Te Ipukarea Society. “Where can certain activities occur in the area? Where will some activities be prohibited? How do we make marine protection effective?” says Jacqui.
A Marine Park Steering Committee, established and chaired by the Office of the Prime Minister, comprises government agencies, traditional leaders and Te Ipukarea Society. The committee will assist with the legal designation of the Marine Park and will help to address issues surrounding its management.The Marine Park Steering Committee are currently putting together a national work plan and budget to guide what needs to be done over the next three years to make the Marine Park effective.

Hillary Clinton Supports Cook Islands Sanctuary Students from Mangaia school

We would like to thank and congratulate the Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative (PICI) for this achievement….

The Cook Islands established the world’s largest continuous shark sanctuary last month, enforcing heavy fines on violators who are found with any part of a shark on board their vessel in the 1.997 million sq. km (771,000 sq. miles) Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The sanctuary protects all sharks from targeted fishing and aims to prevent possession, sale, and trade of shark products. The animals are often killed to satisfy the high demand of shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy that sells upwards of $100 a bowl. Sharks targeted for this purpose are often thrown back into the ocean after their fins have been cut off, making it impossible for them to survive.

As many as one-third of all open ocean shark species face the threat of extinction, and the reduction in their numbers severely affect the ecosystem around them – especially since it often takes years for a shark to mature and since they have very few young.

In June 2012, there were reports that three tons of shark fins were found aboard an Asian fishing vessel in the Cook Islands, which led to a parliamentary debate over the extent of the problem. There is no data on the number of sharks killed in the Cook Islands each year, which makes it difficult to estimate the severity of shark fishing.

The Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative (PICI) spent more than 18 months gathering support for a much-needed sanctuary, after which the Cook Islands declared the entire 1.997 million sq. km EEZ, an area the size of Mexico, a sanctuary protecting sharks, rays, and elasmobranchs. Violators of the sanctuary’s regulations will be fined between $100,000 NZD ($84,000 USD) and $250,000 NZD ($210,550 USD).

Jess Cramp, program manager at PICI, said her group’s campaign was difficult at first and struggled to garner support from Cook Island legislators. The group was met with heavy opposition until it began to get the island community involved.

“We were met with strong opposition from the head of fisheries at first. So much that it made us question why he was so defensive about banning shark fishing,” Cramp said. “So what we did then is we went out into the community and we gave community presentations, we sent letters to the community we couldn’t reach – because it was expensive to get to the outer islands – and we began to acquire what we called ‘shark ambassadors.’”

The Cook Islands has a greater presence on the international conservation stage.

Te Ipukarea Society member Ana Tiraa was voted in as an Oceania councillor for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

She joins Australian Brendon Mackey and Andrew Bignell from New Zealand as the three new representatives from the Oceania region.

A founding member of Te Ipukarea Society, Tiraa previously held positions in the global organisation, most notably as an executive committee member and Oceania representative on the Transboundary Specialist Group (TSG).

Her appointment came at the IUCN Congress being held in Jeju, South Korea, and sees her join an elite group of 34 other councillors worldwide.

Wearing a beautiful white dress and head ei, Tiraa spoke of the need for managing the actions of all in order for greater conservation.

“As the largest of the world’s oceans, the Pacific Ocean is vital to the survival of the entire world,” Tiraa told the assembly.

“However, it is under a number of significant threats from the impacts of climate change, and also the requirements of rapidly developing mega economies in other regions of the world for resources to fuel their growth.

“The rapid increase of invasive alien species in the Pacific Islands also presents a major threat to us. We in Oceania need to do our utmost to ensure this ocean and the islands contained within it are maintained in a state of excellent health.”

Tiraa also thanked outgoing Pacific Islands representative Robin Yarrow for all of the hard work he had done.

Meanwhile the motion created by Te Ipukarea Society and being represented by Teina Mackenzie is gaining traction ahead of the plenary.

“Having been working diligently on our motion, it goes to a contact group today before it is presented at plenary for vote, so trying to anticipate any possible opposition,” Mackenzie reported.

TIS has been actively involved in the congress even before it began after the organisation was invited to a meeting with marine networking group Big Ocean.

The Cook Islands joined representatives from the United States (Hawai’i and Washington) as well as Chile, Kiribati, New Zealand, Samoa, South Korea and the United Kingdom (UK).

Matiu Workman – Cook Islands News

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