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Ocean Law Bulletins

A National Oceans Policy for Tuvalu: 3 experts consider the process to get there

Jul 21, 2020 / by Scott Pelesala I Maani Petaia I Onosai Takataka posted in Oceans Law, Pacific Ocean Rights, Pacific Blue Economy, Pacific Island Rights, Oceans Governance, Pacific Ocean, United Nations, Pacific Island Fisheries, Tuvalu, TuvaluExperts, TuvaluNationalOceanPolicy, OceansPolicy

At present, Tuvalu does not have a national ocean policy that unites Tuvaluans and the Government towards implementing a shared vision and aims for its ocean and resources. The need for a national ocean policy arises due to the importance of the ocean and its resources to Tuvaluans in terms of culture, food, and economy[1], the wide variety of ocean uses, and the need to protect and sustainably manage Tuvalu’s natural resources in an integrated way[2].

In this report the authors review Tuvalu’s governance context, the laws and policies that presently exist and explain why a national ocean policy is needed. The authors set out the sort of process that they think is suited to Tuvalu culture and the Tuvalu context and why they are hopeful that from this process there should emerge a way to create coordination across government and all sectors of Tuvalu society for the benefit of all Tuvaluans and Tuvalu’s ocean and the health of its resources.

The authors believe it is not enough for Tuvalu to have a well written National Ocean Policy, if it is not implemented and owned by the Tuvaluan people. This means the process to create the ocean policy must be locally driven with procedures for inclusive and respectful consultation. This is to ensure that the moralities and legitimacy of an integrated ocean policy are created along with the national ocean policy.

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The Importance of regional cooperation between Pacific Island Countries for fisheries management and to increase the benefits for Pacific Islanders

Apr 27, 2020 / by James Sloan posted in Oceans Law, Human Rights, Pacific, human rights at sea, Flags of convenience, Labour standards at sea, human rights abuses at sea, Parties to the Nauru Agreement, UNCLOS, International Law, Maritime boundaries, Sovereignty, Traditional fishing rights, Integrated Oceans Management Policy, fisheries management, Environmental governance, Environmental decision making, fisheries law, Fiji commercial lawyers, Law of the Sea Convention, Sovereign Rights, Integrated Oceans Management Pacific, traditional rights, Pacific Blue Economy, Blue Economy, Pacific Island Rights, Tuna fisheries, WCPFC, Tuna Management Pacific, Covid-19, Pacific Island Fisheries

In accordance with the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS) Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have the use and management rights to the resources within and under huge areas of Pacific ocean. These rights include the exclusive sovereign rights to use and manage all of the resources in these ocean spaces and on and under the seabed. However, there remains disagreement between some PICs over where the maritime boundaries should be drawn as well as a lack of a unified position in relation to how the resources should be exploited.

As the world goes through unprecedented change due to the Covid-19 pandemic, renewed cooperation among PICs is more important than ever to secure better governance, more effective fisheries management and more benefits from the resources flowing back to Pacific Islanders.

Dr Transform Aqorau has recently published an insightful article that explains some of the resilience more Pacific based tuna operations are experiencing in the face of Covid-19. This is available here.

In this legal bulletin we set out an explanation of the law and governance context that we hope explains why and how more regional cooperation to implement a shared plan with more transparency at regional and national levels will benefit Pacific Islanders.

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Covid-19 and tuna fisheries in the Pacific - Dr Transform Aqorau has published an update with implications and insights for Pacific Development

Apr 27, 2020 / by Dr Transform Aqorau via Siwatibau and Sloan posted in Pacific Island Rights, Tuna fisheries, Tuna Management Pacific, Covid-19, Pacific Island Fisheries

Early effects of Covid-19 on the Pacific fisheries

It is still too early to tell how the world will deal with the longer term effects of Covid-19, will it shrug it off and return to normal? Does Covid-19 provide new opportunities to do things differently? Is there an opportunity for things to be better? In the Pacific and for Pacific Islanders both the value of tuna resources (renewable if managed properly) and the fact that more benefits should be flowing directly to Pacific Islanders have been acknowledged for sometime.

However, how to realise more benefits for Pacific Islanders from a resource that they have the exclusive rights to manage and benefit from, while dealing with threats from multiple sources, is a complex challenge with no simple answer.

Thankfully, Dr Transform Aqorau, has published an excellent and thought provoking piece titled: COVID-19 and its likely impact on the tuna industry in the Pacific Islands 

Amongst other things, Dr Transform points to increased cooperation among Pacific Island governments and more involvement of Pacific Islanders. His piece supports an interesting idea that Covid-19 gives rise to- do we want to go back to the old normal or is there an opportunity for something better? 

Dr Transform's full article can be viewed either below or where it was first published, the Devpolicy blog: here

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