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PNA ministers send strong signal for tuna conservation at RMI meeting

Parties to the Nauru Agreement
24 June 2017 Majuro, Marshall Islands—
Pacific tuna resource owners concluded their annual meeting Friday in the Marshall Islands by sending a strong message of their commitment to conserving and managing tuna resources, while increasing economic benefits for the nine islands in the western and central Pacific that use the globally-recognized “Vessel Day Scheme” (VDS) to manage their fishery. Ministers from the eight Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) members — Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau — and Tokelau recognized the successful implementation of the purse seine VDS, the development of the longline VDS and the progress in branding and vertical integration through the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Pacifical marketing joint venture. At the outset of the three-day meeting Kiribati Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Development Tetabo Nakara handed over chairmanship of the PNA to his counterpart from the Marshall Islands, Minister of Resources and Development Alfred Alfred, Jr.
The ministers thanked both new CEO Ludwig Kumoru and outgoing CEO Dr. Transform Aqorau for their work in furthering effective resource management and business initiatives of the PNA. Following Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine’s announcement at the opening of the 12th PNA Ministerial Meeting Wednesday of the Marshall Islands intention to build a new facility for the PNA Office in Majuro, ministers agreed to the plan, and committed to share the financing of the building. In addition, PNA called on members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission to work with them on adopting a new conservation measure at the December annual meeting that will sustain tuna resources going forward, expressed concern about the delay in a scheduled payment by the United States government for fisheries access of its purse seine fleet, and set the “Total Allowed Effort” — the number of fishing days annually allowed for purse seine fishing 2017-2019 — as well as the “Parties Allowed Effort” — the division of the TAE for each of the nine islands implementing the VDS.
Among key developments at this week’s annual PNA Ministers meeting: • A stock report on skipjack tuna, the primary target species for purse seiners, showed that this important stock is being maintained around the Target Reference Point, meaning skipjack is being fished at sustainable levels. Because fishing for tropical tuna stocks occurs mainly in the waters of the PNA and other Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) members, PNA Ministers called on other Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) members to work with the PNA and the other FFA Members to ensure the long term conservation and management of those stocks in ways that recognize the special requirements of Small Island Developing States that are highly dependent on these stocks, and do not transfer a disproportionate burden of conservation action onto SIDS in accordance with WCPFC Conservation and Management Measures 2013-06 and 2013-07. • Ministers expressed concern about the overfished status of bigeye tuna, which is important for the longline fishery, and called for the adoption of measures at the WCPFC meeting later this year to rebuild the bigeye stock within the agreed time frame of ten years. • From PNA business initiatives to date, the ministers see there is great scope for increasing benefits from PNA tuna resources. This includes such initiatives as having more of the tuna catch within PNA waters processed in PNA onshore facilities, and the PNA’s small scale tuna canning training and technical assistance program to members that is increasing food self-sufficiency through development of small and medium sized local enterprises. •
Ministers viewed reports on trends in tuna catches in PNA waters, which confirm that the VDS is effectively controlling the number of purse seine vessels while promoting growth in domestic fleets. PNA has held effort within the agreed limit at 2010 catch levels and relatively stable catches have been maintained. In keeping with these limits, the ministers adopted VDS fishing day limits for 2017 and 2018, with a provisional total allowed effort agreed for 2019. • The increase in revenue from VDS implementation from about US$60 million annually seven years ago to between US$450- US$500 million in 2016 was welcomed by the ministers, who took note of the wide range of profitability and financial capacity to pay for days between purse seine fleets and between different vessels in the same fleet. • Ministers were encouraged by implementation of the revised fishing treaty with the United States in 2017, including the fact that all U.S. industry fees had been received. But the leaders expressed grave concern that the U.S. Government had not paid its 2017-18 contribution by the due date of 14 June 2017. Ministers noted that this U.S. Government contribution is an integral part of the revised Treaty arrangement and this failure to meet the payment terms seriously affects the financial management of Pacific Island Governments that are dependent on fisheries access revenues for their budgets. The ministers called on the U.S. Department of State to overcome the apparent process-related difficulties that have caused this delay, and directed the FFA to provide an update to the Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial meeting in early July. • For the PNA Trial Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) Tracking and Monitoring Program, the ministers welcomed the plan for a FAD workshop to progress FAD management. They also recommended the development of amendments of domestic legislation and PNA Implementing Arrangements to enforce compliance with FAD tracking and FAD management by 2018. • The ministers took steps to implement decisions by an earlier PNA Ministerial Meeting and last year’s Pacific Islands Forum Leaders to halt bunkering on the high seas. Ministers agreed that at the 2018 annual meeting, Parties will adopt a revision to appropriate legal instruments banning high seas bunkering by purse seine vessels as a condition of licenses to fish in Party waters. The ministers also determined that this bunkering revision will take into account the geographical situation of Kiribati, which has three areas of EEZ separated by areas of high seas. Ministers also agreed that the PNA Office and FFA will conduct a review of the range of issues involved in bringing bunkering into zone, designated areas or ports, through closing high seas bunkering. Before concluding the 12th PNA Ministerial Meeting Friday afternoon, ministers agreed to accept Nauru’s invitation to host the 2018 annual Official and Ministerial Meetings.

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Vice President George Visits USAID and IOM Project in Chuuk

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International Organization for Migration
On June 15th, Federated States of Micronesia’s Vice President Yosiwo George participated in a Typhoon Maysak house handover in Chuuk. The house is one of a total of 334 private family homes being built throughout the state of Chuuk as part of USAID’s Typhoon Maysak Reconstruction Project. In partnership with IOM and the FSM government, USAID is rebuilding homes and infrastructure destroyed by 2015’s Super Typhoon Maysak. Accompanied by a team from USAID and IOM, Vice President George hiked up Chuuk’s steep and rugged terrain to participate in the handover and ask questions about the project. The Typhoon Maysak homes are being built by groups of trained workers from within each community. Before a completed house is presented to the beneficiary, it must pass a stringent quality control check to ensure it has been built properly according to the drawings and specifications of the engineers and architects.

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Pohnpei coffer watchers sign an MOU to work together


June 20, 2017 P o h n p e i—T h e watchdogs of Pohnpei’s financial resources this afternoon signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) promising to do their jobs in a cooperative way in order to prevent financial fraud and waste of Pohnpei’s funds. Ihlen Joseph, the Pohnpei State Auditor, Benito Cantero, the Director of the Department of Public Safety, and Dana Smith, the Attorney General signed the MOU that affirms cooperative and mutual law enforcement efforts on financial crimes on Pohnpei’s resources. Under the MOU, the Office of the Pohnpei State Public Auditor's Compliance Investigation Division (CID) will continue to receive allegations of fraud, waste and mismanagement after audits are completed. The CID would continue to conduct preliminary inquiries to determine whether or not there is reasonable cause to work with the Department of Public Safety to cooperatively refer the results of investigations to the Office of Attorney General for further investigation and potential prosecution. The MOU essentially confirms that all of the offices will work together as they are charged to do.

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Groundbreaking Ceremony for Construction of Gymnasium at Nett Elementary School

On June 16, 2017, the Groundbreaking Ceremony was held at Nett Elementary School for the Project for Construction of Gymnasium in Nett Elementary School, Pohnpei State which provided Department of Education, Pohnpei State with US$180,970 from Grant Assistance for Grass-roots Human Security Projects of the Government of Japan. The goal for this project is to provide a gymnasium which improves an educational environment and students’ health at Nett Elementary School. Nett Elementary School has physical education classes for improving mental and physical health, and preventing a lifestylerelated disease for students.
However, this school has only an outside playground so that unfortunately the classes are often cancelled by heavy rains. Therefore, the provided gymnasium expects to help to conduct the classes regularly and safely which would improve education and health for 897 students and 18 teachers at Nett Elementary School. The gymnasium would be open to local people as well. Charge d’Affairs ad interim Koji Sugiyama sincerely congratulated this day as a reinforcement of two countries’ friendship and hoped the Gymnasium will increase opportunities of exercise for students and local people.
Mr. Hagino Iriarte, Nett School PTA President expressed his full of joys for making local people’s long- term dream coming true by this project and his gratitude to the Congress of the FSM. The Hon. Marcelo K. Peterson, Governor of Pohnpei State stated that the Gymnasium will help not only people in Nett but also everyone in Pohnpei State to enhance their health and community’s and expressed his sincere appreciation to the government and people of Japan. At the ceremony, Director of Department of Education Churchill Edward, Nett Elementary School Principal Primo Loyola, Budget Officer Christina Elnei, Public Affairs Officer Heinrick Stevenson, Nett District Administrator Peteriko Hairens, Delco Construction, and staffs of the Embassy of Japan in the FSM were also present.

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77 year old Aikido master hopes to see the benefits of the martial art spread to Pohnpei

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By Bill Jaynes The Kaselehlie Press Pohnpei, FSM—JULY 2017
17 year old Kai Rekdahl, a first degree black belt in the Martial Art of Aikido, held up his hand as if ready to strike Sinsei Mutsuko Minegishi over the breakfast table at Ocean View. Minegishi is 60 years older than Rekdahl but nietherneither of her breakfast companions were at all worried. Even if Rekdahl actually did want to hurt her, he would not likely have been able to do so. Minegishi has been practicing and promoting Aikido all over the world since she was 32 years old. She reached up and gently guided Rekdahl’s hand in another direction. “He means me harm,” she said, “but I don’t want to hurt him so I redirect his energy in a way like water flows so that neither of us is hurt.” It was a small demonstration of the principles of Aikido. Minegishi had asked Rekdahl, who has been practicing the martial art with her at least three times a week since he was nine years old, because “Aikido requires to practice with a partner. I needed him to assist me,” Minegishi wrote in an email.

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FSM seeks shooting answers

Giff Johnson
The Marshall Islands Journal - JULY 2017
DC envoy Susaia’s concern on Tulsa shootings

The FSM Embassy in Washington, DC is looking into the deaths of two Micronesians that occurred in early June in Tulsa, Oklahoma — at least one of them an officer-involved shooting. “We have spoken to the Tulsa Police Department and were directed to the Detective Homicide Division, but so far have not received any information,” Federated States of Micronesia Ambassador Akillino Susaia told the Journal this week. To follow up the June 2 shooting deaths of Naway Willy, 18, and Rabson Robert, 36, Susaia sent a diplomatic note to the State Department last week requesting the US government’s aid to obtain information from local law enforcement authorities. News reports indicated that Robert had been killed and Willy was initially thought to be a suspect in the murder, but later police said they didn’t believe Willy was involved and arrested another suspect. In the diplomatic note, the FSM Embassy notes the “request for assistance is necessitated by the incident that took place on or around 2 June 2017 in Tulsa in which two citizens of the FSM, both of them young men, were reportedly shot to death by local law enforcement officers.
” The ambassador told the Journal they were requesting the US State Department’s assistance under the terms of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the provisions of the Compact of Free Association. The carefully worded request to the State Depart- ment also pointed out “the long history of law enforcement cooperation between FSM and the US” under the Compact. “Their (Robert’s and Willy’s) families and friends have sought to obtain information from the Tulsa Police Department but were not successful,” the FSM diplomatic note explained. “They have turned to the Embassy for assistance.” Susaia expressed condolences to the families and friends of the victims. He said he didn’t want to “make specific judgments on the police-involved shootings while all the relevant facts of the case have yet to be confirmed.” He took the opportunity to “remind us all about the importance of conducting ourselves appropriately to avoid harm and, just as important, for law enforcement authorities to exercise prudence in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities to the public.” While noting that “the Embassy is aware of the rise in police-related incidences in the United States,” Susaia said the FSM is “grateful for the basic decency and fairness of the American people, whom we hope will continue to be the advocates and tireless moral pillars of support for the friendship and historic ties between our peoples that are enshrined in the Compact of Free Association, and which serve as the founda- tion of the special partnership between the FSM and the US.”

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Cops kill islanders

Chuukese gunned down in WA, OK - JULY 2017

Giff Johnson The Marshall Islands Journal

A Marshall Islander and a Chuukese were killed by police officers in separate incidents in the US mainland over the past several weeks. Based on posts on social media by Marshallese living in the US and news reports, the Marshallese who was killed in Auburn, Wash- ington this past weekend was Isaiah Obet, a former resident of Delap, Majuro. A report on Auburn King 5 TV news said Au- burn police shot and killed a man armed with a knife who walked into two homes demanding money and later tried to carjack a vehicle with the driver inside. A local resident told King 5 she was sitting on a couch watching TV when the suspect walked in, demanding money. He left when she told him to leave, and then she rang 911. Police showed up when the suspect entered another house with people in it. The suspect fled. A few blocks away with police in pursuit, he attempted to carjack a vehicle with a female driver in it when the officer opened fire, killing the man, said to be Obet. The other death occurred in Tulsa, Oklahoma earlier this month involving 18-year-old Naway Willy, from Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia. A report by Fox 23 news presents police confusion regarding a suspect in an earlier homicide, whom they initially believed was Willy but later determined, after he was shot and killed by an of- ficer, that Willy was not involved in the earlier homicide. According to the news site, police say, “Willy had a gun on him and took off during a homicide investigation. They later said they didn’t believe Willy was involved in the homicide.” Another person was subsequently arrested as a suspect in the shooting death of Rabson Robert in early June.

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