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Te Ipukarea Society Brochure 2017-18
Ensuring their future

Lagoon Day this year was held on July 17 and 18, at Punanga Nui Market. June Hosking once again did a fantastic job in the leadership and coordination of the event and TIS would like to say Meitaki Maata to her for that. The caliber of the stall holders and presenters this year was outstanding and based on questionnaires answered by students, everyone had a great time! It was great to see a number of TIS members popping by on their lunch breaks or volunteering on different aspects of Lagoon Day. For those of you who couldn’t make it, our stall focused on one of our key areas, ecologically sustainable development, namely eco-tourism. The stall was manned by Kelvin and his two daughters, Sieni and Hareta who did a great job of keeping the students engaged and interested in the topic. We focused on the local businesses who are doing their bit to lessen their footprint through tourism and even had a surprise visit from the Pacific Resort bio-fuel truck on the Friday.

Pictured above, from left, Ngamaru Ariki, Rongomatane Ariki, Paerangi Mataiapo Tutara, members of the Takutea Trust.  On the right is Tangata Vainepoto, the Secretary of the Trust.

Biodiversity survey of Takutea
A team from TIS, Birdlife Pacific, and local biodiversity experts based in Atiu, visited Takutea in May to resurvey the bird colonies there, and also to look for the presence of invasive species. The Polynesian rat is very common on the island, and the team looked at the feasibility of conducting a rate eradication exercise. They also met with members of the Takutea Trust on Atiu to discuss their vision for the island.

The Takutea Trust has seven members, who are responsible for the management of this important bird breeding island. Those pictured are, from left, Ngamaru Ariki, Rongomatane Ariki, Paerangi Mataiapo Tutara, members of the Takutea Trust. On the right is Tangata Vainepoto, the Secretary of the Trust. Not pictures are Parua Ariki, Aumai Mataiapo Tutara, Tinokura Mataiapo Tutara, and Makopi Mataiapo Tutara. A report on the trip is expected to be available soon.

Marae Moana Logo Pa’ua in Manuae Lagoon

Marae Moana it is!

The Cook Islands Marine Park now has its own unique name – Marae Moana. Whilst in Aitutaki today Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Hon. Henry Puna made the announcement.

In late November the Prime Minister launched the search for a uniquely Cook Islands name with which to brand the Cook Islands Marine Park.

“Last year a logo competition produced an incredibly unique logo designed by June Hosking and now we have an equally unique name to complement this logo” said marine park communications advisor, Jaewynn McKay.

The name – Marae Moana – was one of six entries submitted by Tereora College 7th former Bouchard Solomona. Bouchard from Tupapa will receive $250 cash as the prize for his effort. In total over 140 entries were submitted from around the Cook Islands.

The winning name together with the logo will be used extensively on products, printed material, clothing, media releases, websites, and pretty much everything associated with the Cook Islands Marine Park.

At this stage, the Marine Park will encompass approximately 1.1 million square kilometres of the southern Cook Islands’ Exclusive Economic Zone. The design of the marine park is still in progress and it is hoped that it will be fully legally designated and zoned by the end of 2015.

Ian Karika Dr. Takiora Ingram

This week 2 Cook Islands eco-warriors received international recognition for their dedication and tireless efforts to conserve our natural resources.

Ian Karika has been awarded the inaugural Pacific Islands Environmental Leadership Award for excellence in national leadership in environmental sustainability and conservation.

Ian is president of Te Ipukarea Society and the Cook Islands Voyaging Society, and has been a key figure for the Takitumu Conservation Area since it was established. The award was presented on Monday night at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas being held in Fiji. As Ian was unable to attend the conference, the award was received on his behalf by the two Cook Islands youth delegates attending the conference, Tehere Koteka and Myria Rongo. They were supported by the entire Cook Islands delegation!

In supporting Ian’s nomination Prime Minister Henry Puna wrote “Over the many years that I have known Ian, he has always given his time and energy selflessly to environmental conservation and to the revival and promotion of traditional voyaging and navigation – a passion deeply-rooted in the preservation of our marine ecosystem and values as Polynesians.”

The Prime Minister went on to say that Ian is renowned in the Cook Islands for his leadership and management of the Takitumu Conservation Area (TCA). “Under Ian’s stewardship of the TCA, he helped spearhead the key initiative to recover the population of a rare native bird – the Kakerori (Rarotonga Flycatcher). Ian was also part of an important programme to re-establish the Rimatara Lorikeet on the Island of Atiu by transferring birds from French Polynesia. This work necessitated increased efforts in the eradication of rats, as well as waste clean-up projects, to assist bird populations recovery and lift the profile of TCA internationally.

On Tuesday evening Dr. Takiora Ingram was one of eight women of and from Oceania to be honoured at the third “Stars of Oceania” recognition dinner held in Hawai’i.

The “Stars of Oceania” was inaugurated in 2006 with the intent to continue every three to four years. Rather than being an award or reward ceremony, the “Stars of Oceania” event recognises and acknowledges outstanding women for doing the right thing and honours their sense of humanity.

Dr Ingram was recognized for her Regional Leadership. A regional environmental leader; coordinator of the Pacific Regional Ocean Partnership; promoting health and stewardship of the Pacific Ocean’s resources; and former executive director of the All Islands Coral Reef Committee Secretariat based in Honolulu. It was noted that Takiora provides effective leadership and coordination of the US Pacific Islands and the Federal government to sustainably manage ocean resources and promote stewardship of the Pacific Ocean.

The executive and staff of Te Ipukarea Society wish to congratulate both Ian and Takiora on the recognitions they have received this week at the same time we thank them for the significant contribution they have both made to our oceans, our environment and conservation in general, meitaki ma’ata.

Purse Seine Fishing

A number of people have asked why Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) is not pushing for a complete ban on purse seining. Although like many others in the Cook Islands, our gut feeling is that a ban on purse seining is best, we believe our stance should be supported by science and facts. The science and facts do not justify a blanket ban on the fishing method.

Scientific evidence indicates that purse seining in our region, targeting the abundant free swimming schools of skipjack, is sustainable, given the current stock abundance of skipjack tuna. However, in order to catch more fish in a shorter time, most, if not all purse seiners, use large numbers of Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) fitted with radio beacons, to aggregate large schools of fish, and then set their nets around these schools.

In our part of the Pacific Ocean, along with the skipjack tuna, these drifting FADs also attract a large number of juvenile bigeye tuna. The scientists have warned the fishery managers that bigeye tuna stocks are suffering from overfishing, and catches have to be reduced by about 40% if the species is to be saved from commercial extinction.

According to reports, bigeye tuna in the eastern Pacific make up 28% of the total catch of purse seine fishing around drifting FADs. However when purse seining on free schools of fish, without the use of FADs, bigeye tuna makes up only 1% of the catch.

Local fishermen should also note that when TIS asks for a ban on FADs, this is referring to the drifting FADs used by purse seiners. The FADs that MMR have anchored around our islands are a different issue, and TIS has no problem with these, as they help local fishermen increase their catch and reduce their costs.

Rather than just following the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) rules and limiting the use of FADs for several months, the Cook Islands should make it a condition of licencing the purse seiners that they are not allowed to use fish aggregation devices (FADs) at all. We also need to put in place adequate observer coverage and enforcement mechanisms to ensure the fishing boat operators follow the rules, and the costs of monitoring needs to be paid for by the fishing boat owners.

TIS believes that if the above steps were put in place, it would be most unlikely that the Spanish will ask for their purse seiners to fish here.

Big Eye Tuna

The tuna industry in the Pacific is not meeting its target to reduce catches, and leaders say there must be an agreement this year on new quotas.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission is concerned about the lack of consensus, as more boats prepare to enter Pacific waters.

In the lead-up to a crucial meeting in December, the Commission says difficult decisions must be made in the interests of sustainability.

Alex Perrottet has more:

Bigeye tuna are being caught in record numbers, despite weight limits introduced in 2008 for longline fisheries. They caused the Honolulu fishery to close down its yearly catch early on two occasions, and it’s warning it would almost halve its current catch and cause shutdowns as early as July, if proposed limits are set. Purse seine vessels have limits on the number of days they can fish, and a scientist advising the US pacific fisheries, Dr Charles Daxboeck, says they aren’t restricted by weight and it’s a double-standard.

CHARLES DAXBOECK: Somehow we have to, down the road, figure out a way of getting catch in terms of the weight because it’s calculated once it gets to the processor and therefore it’s already too late.

The Hawai’i longline fishery has signalled it will not agree to recommendations from the Parties to the Nauru Agreement that their yearly catches be further cut. But the executive director of the Tuna Commission, Professor Glenn Hurry, says its one of several difficult demands to be met.

GLENN HURRY: It’s going to be difficult. It will affect fleets, I mean, at the end of the day we’ve got to reduce the quota of bigeye and there’ll be a lot of very big industry operators at the table who are going to be watching this and potentially concerned about how it develops.

But Dr Daxboeck says those over-using fish aggregation devices, or FADs, remove juvenile bigeye tuna at increasing rates, which endangers ongoing sustainability. He also says the Honolulu catch services a domestic market in Hawai’i, where a lot of its seafood is still imported. He says the Honolulu market is local, and shouldn’t be seen as outside the Pacific.

CHARLES DAXBOECK: We still have to import almost 40 percent of our seafood products because of the demand. So it’s a rather unique situation for Hawai’i.

But Professor Hurry says the science isn’t settled. He says restrictions on adult catches is also important as they are the ones spawning the juvenile fish. He says member countries need to agree on new restrictions, as more boats are on their way.

GLENN HURRY: We’ve got too many boats in this purse seine fishery at the moment, and there’s another 45 under construction in Asian shipyards at the moment and some of those will enter our fishery and we need some strong regulations in place before they do get in.

Others in the region support the argument that the US is in a unique position. Last month Dr John Hampton, the manager of the Oceanic Fisheries Programme at the SPC, said he commended the US for taking action against its own vessels when it issued fines for boats that overused FADs. And Dr Hampton said other countries don’t live by the same standards.

JONN HAMPTON: All credit to the US government for zealously following up reports of irregularities amongst its own fleet. They are particularly good at that and follow up these sorts of reports with a lot of vigour, and I think it would be great if other distant-water fishing nations followed suit.

Professor Hurry says another difficult challenge is to find ways of meeting the demand of Pacific nations that have asked for large compensation packages to replace their lost income when vessels are banned from fishing.

EU wants to Purse Seine in the Cook Islands MMR Ben Ponia: Photo courtesy CI News

The first stage of negotiations involving a suggested Sustainable Fishing Partnership Agreement (SFPA) between the Cook Islands and the European Union has been held on the Island of Raratonga. The EU hopes to obtain tuna fishing rights for 4 tuna purse seiners. Currently within the WCPO EU seiners are only allowed to fish tuna in the waters of Kiribati and on the high seas.

An agreement with the Cook Islands, according to the European Commission will allow the EU to expand its network of tuna agreements in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) with four purse seiners, in an area where 50 percent of the global tuna catch is taken. Since the Cook Islands have recently become an associated member of the PNA, a deal with the Cooks could have EU seiners obtain access to all the EEZ’s of all 8 PNA member countries. The Cook Islands will receive a financial contribution for opening this back door for the European fleet into PNA waters.

The European Commission outlined that the discussions were held in a positive, open and constructive atmosphere, and progress was achieved in the production of a draft text for both SFPA and a Fisheries Protocol. The Commission stated that the draft text from the negotiations will now be tabled to the Cook Islands Cabinet of Ministers for its final consideration. A Cook Islands Delegation will travel to Brussels during the second week of September 2013 to continue the discussions, and if mutually agreed to initial the Agreement and its Protocol.

The 8 PNA member countries are critically following the negotiations, and already critical remarks have been heard about the Cook Islands conduct. The general feeling is that the EU is trying to increase its industry presence and influence within the PNA and the WCPO. Any fishing of EU seiners within the PNA or Cook waters would require these seiners to commit to the VDS (Vessel Day Scheme).

n addition to the final contribution for the access to the waters, the EU Commission stated that an additional specific amount will be granted to support the implementation of Cook Islands sectoral fisheries policy and maritime policy.

The EU says it wants to initiate a dialogue on fisheries governance, encourage sustainable and responsible fishing, and to cooperate in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

TIS is very concerned at this proposal and is adamant their will need to be open and transparent dialogue and consultation. TIS and other interested parties wanting to protect our fish and fishing in the Cook Islands want to see the end and not the continuation of Purse Seine fishing in the Pacific.

TIS Kelvin Passfield: Courtesy of CI Ne

e Ipukarea Society (TIS) is concerned that some government agencies are not following proper processes for public consultation.

The Minister of Marine Resources and Prime Minister, Hon Henry Puna, has assured the public there will be wide consultation on the European Union (EU) purse seine fishing proposal.

However, the environment NGO TIS is expressing their concern after the Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR) announced their first public consultation on the EU fishing deal the day of the meeting saying it was to take place at the Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR) Avatiu office last night. Only it didn’t take place there!

Not only did they advise of the meeting, meeting time and venue in the paper on the day of the meeting (yesterday), but mid-way through the day, they changed the venue!

“And even though I personally phoned MMR yesterday morning to check on the details of the meeting, before arranging for radio advertisements at no cost to MMR promoting the meeting, no one had the courtesy to phone me back and tell me of the change in venue” Director of Te Ipukarea Society, Kelvin Passfield says.

“For the public to have an opportunity to have their say, it’s important that government agencies follow proper processes for public consultation, including providing adequate notice and regular advertisements,” Passfield added.

Passfield says the date, time and venue of public consultation meetings should be provided at least a week in advance.

“Announcing the public consultation on the EU fishing deal the day of the event and holding it at a poorly known location is totally unacceptable, and I doubt this is the format the PM expected when he stated there would be wide public consultation” says Passfield.

In addition, a recent meeting to discuss seabed minerals held Thursday 3rd October at the Sinai Hall was also announced only on the day of the meeting.

“Few people attended. I was told that if the people that came for the SOPAC conference weren’t there, nobody would have been present. If government agencies are genuine in their desire to consult the public, then they should have the decency to provide adequate notice so that “we”, the public, can contribute in a timely manner”, concluded Passfield.

Hon. Mark Brown with June Hosking Marine Park logo winner

We are proud to announce June Hosking as the winning entry!

A short time ago Hon Mark Brown, Minister of Finance, on behalf of Prime Minister Henry Puna announced the winner of the logo competition and presented June with the winners prize of $500 in the Cabinet Room.

In making the announcement Minister Brown paid tribute to all those who entered the competition. On the PM’s behalf he particularly noted that the entries were all of an exceptionally high standard and that the PM took much time to consider each individual entry before reaching his final decision.

Over 20 entries were entered from Rarotonga, Pa Enua and New Zealand.

The logo will be used extensively on products, printed material, clothing, media releases, websites and pretty much everything associated with the Cook Islands Marine Park from here on!

Meitaki ma’ata to all who entered, thank you for taking the time to do so.

Alex Herman, Courtesy of C I News Teina Mackenzie (on the right)

With financial support from SPC-EU SOPAC (the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Division), the search has begun for up to 12 young Cook Islanders (14-19 years) interested in participating in a national debate. They do not have to have any knowledge of Seabed Minerals – although it is expected that they will learn a lot about the topic during the process.

The aim of the debate being co-ordinated by Teina Mackenzie (TIS) and Alex Herman (SBMA) is to increase public awareness on deep sea mining issues and how these issues might relate to the Cook Islands and also to encourage youth to engage and develop a better understanding of deep seabed minerals. “It’s important to hear from our youth because, as our future leaders, young people should have an understanding of development issues affecting our country and be given the opportunity to contribute through a forum such as the debate” said Alex Herman.

“This debate will challenge our youth to extend their understanding of the potential effects – both positive and negative – of this pioneer industry; and to voice their opinions in a public forum” added Teina Mackenzie.

The Debate will be run along the lines of a competition. Once up to 12 entrants are identified, the organisers will disseminate a comprehensive set of papers and workshop material that have been previously published and shared within the seabed mining community. This information will allow the debaters to gain knowledge and will prepare them to debate the issues relating to the Cook Islands seabed minerals.

The aspiring debaters will also have the opportunity to participate in further information gathering, field trips and training sessions prior to the final debate early October.

As part of the generous sponsorship that the SOPAC Deep Seabed Minerals (DSM) Project are providing is the opportunity for the overall winner of the debate to accompany the representatives from Te Ipukarea and Seabed Minerals Authority in attending the next SOPAC DSM Workshop taking place in Fiji in early December. Return flights, meals, accommodation and travel insurance will be provided. As such, those who wish to enter the debate must have parental consent to travel and will need a valid passport.

“This prize is ideal in that it celebrates a young person who is able to understand the various issues and who can articulate their views well, regardless of which position they advocate.” said Teina.

The winner will meet regional decision makers and have the opportunity to contribute at the workshop in Fiji.

A brief submission on why you would like to participate is required. For more information please contact:

Teina Mackenzie

Email: teinam@gmail.com

Ph: 55 742

Alex Herman

Email: alex.herman@cookislands.gov.ck

Ph: 29 193

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