Tag Archives: Island

Scorching ocean: Scientists trace the East Coast’s ‘ocean heat wave’ | Instant News

Scientists are closely watching the unusually warm waters around the North Island’s East Coast – and predict an “ocean heat wave” could develop near Canterbury and Otago within a few days. Image Project / Moana

Scientists are closely watching the unusually warm waters around the North Island’s East Coast – and predict an “ocean heat wave” could develop near Canterbury and Otago within a few days.

Described as an extended period of extremely warm ocean temperatures at a particular location, ocean heat waves can last for several months and cover thousands of square kilometers.

“Scientifically, ocean heat waves are defined when the ocean temperature at a particular location is in the top 10 percent of the temperature normally recorded during that time of the year for five or more days,” explains University of Otago marine scientist Dr Robert Smith.

Events that have never happened before 2017-18 sparked New Zealand’s hottest summer and came with dramatic consequences.

Glaciers are melting as some pockets of sea off the South Island’s West Coast warmed to 6C above average, while elsewhere, seashells are suffering from flowing losses and vineyards are experiencing early harvests.

While sea surface temperatures around New Zealand have been near normal for much of last summer, Smith said a strong ocean heat wave developed during late February to the east of the country – and is still going on.

“This ocean heat wave is currently impacting the coastline of Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay and Chatham Islands,” he said, adding that it had pushed temperatures more than 2 degrees Celsius above normal.

“The event was somewhat unusual in that it also covered much of New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic zone during the month of March, which is not, as the name implies, an area normally considered to experience a heat wave.”

At these ecological points, warmer oceans can disrupt all kinds of species, from plankton and seaweed to marine mammals and seabirds.

“They may also impact regional fisheries, including for the pāua around the Chatham Islands.”

As part of The Moana Project – a five-year, $ 11.5 million collaboration aimed at making New Zealand the world leader in ocean forecasting capabilities – Smith and fellow Otago researchers are working to gain a clearer understanding of heat waves and their effects.

The project has also seen the file launch free ocean heat wave forecasting system.

“Currently, we provide short distance forecasts of up to seven days, where and when ocean heat waves are most likely to occur, for specific coastal locations around New Zealand,” he said.

“These sites include Hauraki Bay, Bay of Plenty, Cook Strait, and Banks Peninsula. While the current tool provides us with short-term estimates, we are looking for ways to extend this estimate to several months using machine learning techniques.

“This research will help us predict these extreme events with more certainty and provide a warning to our marine industry and important coastal communities.”

This can guide efforts such as early harvesting, or, at a coastal cultivation facility, even moving stocks.

Heat waves can occur relatively quickly, and are triggered by a variety of factors.

“On a local scale, these factors include ocean currents that build up areas of very warm water, warming through the ocean surface from the atmosphere and reduced wind speeds that prevent the mixing of the oceans,” he said.

“The likelihood of ocean heat waves is also influenced by weather and large-scale climate patterns, such as El Niño and La Niña.”

Research has shown that global climate change is also having a big impact, with heat waves becoming 34 percent more frequent, and 17 percent longer, since the mid-20th century.

Even more concerning, Smith said, is that the number of heatwave days has increased by more than 50 percent each year.

“The recent ocean heat wave has had a devastating effect on marine ecosystems around the world,” he said.

“For example, they have triggered widespread mortality of marine species, shifts in the abundance and distribution of commercial and recreational fish stocks and the need to limit or shut down fisheries due to disease outbreaks, or the growth of harmful algae.”

Over time, he said the increased exposure of marine ecosystems to extreme temperatures could lead to “irreversible loss of important species or habitats”, such as seaweed forests and seagrass meadows.

“Ocean heat waves are therefore of serious concern to our marine life around New Zealand, which has been thriving on cooler seas,” he said.

“The impacts associated with ocean heatwaves are also a threat to aquaculture and fisheries, New Zealand’s industry worth over $ 4 billion per year.”

Scientists solve the mystery of shells

Meanwhile, scientists working on another Moana Project study combined Mātauranga Māori – or Māori lore – with other strands of science to solve the shellfish mystery.

Green-lipped mussels are an important cultivated species in New Zealand, and resources are valued at more than $ 300 million a year.

Although the aquaculture industry relies heavily on wild-caught baby mussels, or saliva, it is unclear which wild mussel beds supply them.

“Knowing the source of the splash enables the protection of spawning stocks and thus helps the future-resilient New Zealand shellfish aquaculture industry,” said Moana project and science director João de Souza.

In their new study, University of Victoria marine biologist Professor Jonathan Gardner and his team will put together what he calls a “unique combination” of science to reveal where shellfish larvae come from, how they travel, and where they end up.

Green-lipped mussels are a marine resource worth $ 300 million annually to the New Zealand economy.  Photo / Paul Estcourt
Green-lipped mussels are a marine resource worth $ 300 million annually to the New Zealand economy. Photo / Paul Estcourt

“By doing that we will be able to predict the movement of larvae now and under different climate change scenarios.”

With population genetics, samples from the collected shells are genotyped – a process that effectively provides DNA fingerprinting linking different populations.

Microochemical analysis, which involves using a laser to take small samples of the shells of shells, can also provide a chemical record of the age of the shells, and where they traveled.

Mātauranga Māori offers local ecological knowledge that can help establish the location of the splash-producing clam reefs.

Finally, a physical model of the flow will be combined with biological data to predict and see the movement of green-lipped shellfish larvae in the Bay of Plenty, where the first samples were taken.

A further trip is planned to collect mussel larvae using a “splash line” – a vertical line of saliva-catching ropes for the walking spit to settle down.

After collection, any saliva that settles will undergo micro-chemical analysis.

“While the Bay of Plenty is the focus right now, we will also be sampling from several other areas, including Ninety Mile Beach which is where most of the shellfish spit is caught free,” said Gardner.

It is also hoped that the study, which is expected to take up to two years, will help combat invasive species, inform marine spatial planning efforts, and assist coastal restoration efforts.


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Cook Islands Bubble: Air New Zealand prepares for flight | Instant News


The one-way bubble with the Cook Islands has been around since January. Photo / Provided

Air New Zealand is gearing up for quarantine-free flights to and from the Cook Islands and said the news of the travel bubble was “very encouraging”.

The airline said its team was busy preparing to embark on a two-way journey between here and the Cook Islands and across Tasman.

This includes rehiring and retraining more than 300 cabin crew, bringing back some airport staff, regaining ground officers to ensure a smooth process for our aircraft and customers on arrival and reopening our international lounges.

Chief executive officer Greg Foran said today: “The news about the travel bubble with the Cook Islands is nuti mataora (good news) and very encouraging.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern disclosed details of a potential two-way travel bubble with the Cook Islands after speaking with the country’s Prime Minister Mark Brown today.

In today’s press conference, Brown said the Cook Islands had asked for a date for the bubble, which will start in “May”, he said. But it is unclear when the bubble will start in May.

Brown said there were still some areas where the two countries needed to find a deal, but he believed it could be found in May.

Foran said a large amount of work was being done to prepare for a two-way bubble after one-way arrangements to the country began two months ago.

Air New Zealand in January began operating two services a week between Auckland and Rarotonga.

“A large amount of work is being done across airlines to get ready when quarantine-free travel to and from the Cook Islands opens,” said Foran.

There will be thousands of people who want to go home and see friends and family or to rest in the sun.

“We are working closely with the government and the airport on requirements. Safety will remain our top priority,” said Foran

New Zealand statistics show that in the year to February last year, more than 108,000 Kiwis visited the Cook Islands. This is up 1.4 percent from the previous year.

Victoria Courtney, Flight Center’s product general manager, said there was a high demand for trips to Cooks.

“When the exact travel dates are announced, we can’t wait to start sending customers to the Cook Islands quarantine-free for both ways in May.”

The Cook Islands can accommodate about 8000 visitors at one point and the company hopes it will fill up quickly.

He also warned that travel insurance, which is tricky at the best of times, may not cover Covid-related disruptions.

After the Government declared the Cook Islands a safe travel destination, Flight Center insurance provider CoverMore plans to provide cover in case you or a close contact contract Covid and it interferes with your travel plans, if the person you plan to stay in must be quarantined, if your accommodation requires rest for deep cleaning, and even if you are an essential worker and have to go back to work because of the outbreak.

What insurers won’t cover are government-imposed lockdowns, he said.

“It’s a good idea to chat with a Travel Specialist not only to make sure you have the right policy for you, but also to have plans for extended stays in case of hiccups,” says Courtney.

Air New Zealand could face competition from Pacific Air real estate identity Mike Pero later in the year.

The new airline’s flights will operate from Christchurch and Wellington.

The airline is seeking regulatory approval for its operations.

“We remain committed to providing a new experience for Cantabrians and Wellingtonians who wish to fly direct on daytime flights. No airline has done this before,” Pero told Herald earlier this year.

Pero in January was sure that Pasifika Air would air in June and during the winter school holidays.


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IMF Staff Completes Article IV 2021 Mission with Marshall Islands Republic | Instant News

22 March 2021

The Final Mission press release includes a statement by the IMF staff team delivering preliminary findings after a country visit. The views expressed in this statement are those of IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF Executive Board. Based on the mission’s preliminary findings, staff will prepare a report which, with management’s approval, will be presented to the IMF Executive Board for discussion and decisions.

  • The Marshall Islands are taking swift and strong action to contain the Covid-19 pandemic without a record of local transmission and are currently leading the launch of the Pacific Covid-19 vaccine.
  • However, the containment measures have weighed on the economy. GDP is expected to contract by 3.3 percent in FY2020 and further decrease by 1.5 percent in FY2021.
  • Post-pandemic, fiscal consolidation is needed to build buffers to reduce the risk of fiscal gaps and protect long-term revenues.

Washington DC:
Yong Sarah Zhou chaired Article IV virtual consultations with the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) from March 1 to 18. At the end of the visit, Zhou issued the following statement:

“The Marshall Islands economy was experiencing strong growth before the pandemic. Real GDP is expected to increase by around 6.5 percent in FY2019 (1 October-30 September), driven by strong fishing and construction activities. Inflation remains low, given weak commodity prices.

“As a result of its strong and swift containment measures, RMI has so far remained one of the few countries that has no record of local transmission of COVID-19. The government has implemented a vaccination plan, supported by the US RMI leading the launch of the Covid-19 vaccine in the Pacific Islands, with the first round of vaccination of more than 30 percent of the total population completed.

“However, the economic impact of COVID-19 is severe, as elsewhere. Real GDP is expected to contract by 3.3 percent in FY2020 and is expected to fall by around 1.5 percent in FY2021, due to pandemic-related disruptions to production, sales and employment, particularly in the fisheries, transportation and tourism sectors. The economy is expected to recover in FY2022, based on the assumption that the health restrictions on economic activity will gradually ease. Inflation is expected to pick up slightly, reflecting higher fuel prices.

“The uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook is very high, given the pandemic, and risks are likely to fall. Extended border closings due to a more protracted Covid-19 pandemic around the world could prolong weak economic activity. The issuance of the SOV for digital currency as the second legal tender will increase the risk of macroeconomic and financial stability and financial integrity. The issuance of SOV could jeopardize the banking relationship related to RMI’s final USD (CBR). This combined with the risk of anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing (AML / CFT) (including those linked to SOVs) could disrupt external aid and other important financial flows, resulting in significant economic constraints. Climate change and related natural disasters are another downside risk.

“RMI also faces important fiscal risks. Without sufficient fiscal consolidation, countries will face increasing fiscal risks from the fiscal gap if the Compact of Free Association (COFA) between the RMI and the United States ends in FY 2023. Alternatively, the potential for renewal of the COFA on favorable terms presents an upside risk.

“Against this backdrop, the team’s policy recommendations focus on three main objective areas: (i) ensuring a long-lasting economic recovery after a downturn and long-term fiscal independence; (ii) maintaining financial stability; and (iii) achieving green, sustainable and inclusive growth after the pandemic.

“The team lauds the government’s swift action to ensure health preparedness and reduce the economic impact of the pandemic, with support from donors. The team recommends sticking with the response package until the recovery progresses steadily while re-prioritizing and reallocating spending as needed, given the uncertainty about the development of COVID-19 in the global economy.

“Post pandemic, gradual fiscal consolidation is needed to prepare for a possible expiration of US grants and reduce the risk of fiscal gaps. Even if the COFA is renewed, some adjustments may still be needed to maintain healthy public finances and reduce reliance on external grants. An essential element of sound public finances is the preservation of the value of the Compact Trust Fund which is adjusted for inflation. The team recommends a combination of expense and income measurements to achieve consolidation. It is important for the government to enact the tax reform bill that has been prepared and to reform offshore shipping taxation and company registration. The preparation of a Fiscal Liability and Debt Management Act has recently been welcomed, but their timely enforcement and effective implementation will be critical to success.

“The staff welcomes the authorities’ continued cautious approach to the Sovereign digital currency (SOV). SOV will pose significant risks to macroeconomic and financial stability and financial integrity. RMI’s legal, regulatory and institutional framework is not ready to accommodate the issuance of SOVs and manage the associated risks. Therefore, the team’s assessment suggests that the potential costs of issuing an SOV are likely to outweigh the expected benefits.

“Another concern is the risk of financial integrity in the non-resident and shipping (offshore) sector. Progress has been made to strengthen the RMI’s AML / CFT regime in line with recommendations made by the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering but weaknesses in the legal framework and capacity constraints among regulatory authorities may not allow the AML / CFT regime to effectively mitigate financial integrity risks. In particular, timely access to accurate beneficial ownership information about entities registered with RMI is not guaranteed. Further, there is a lack of meaningful oversight of the offshore sector – including that of the Trust Company of Marshall Islands (TCMI), which has been delegated duties to operate non-resident registers and shipments – and inadequate AML / CFT regulation of offshore activities. . The foregoing can put pressure on correspondent banking relations (CBR). Staff recommended that the Marshall Islands Government strengthen the AML / CFT legal / regulatory framework and the capacity of its agencies to ensure proper offshore sector AML / CFT regulation, oversight of delegated public functions and effective mitigation of financial integrity risks.

“Green and sustainable recovery requires accelerated preparation of the national adaptation plan (NAP) for climate change. The team welcomes the government’s commitment to finalizing the NAP by 2021 and offers support for PFM reforms to increase RMI’s ability to access global climate funds.

“IMF staff recommends increasing the implementation of BUMN reform. In the medium and long term, the government should develop direct and targeted fiscal transfers, which are more efficient at distributing income to the poor than paying subsidies to SOEs for social services while reducing economic distortions.

“Staff are aware of the longstanding and difficult structural challenges surrounding economic diversification and growth for a small and remote economy like RMI. Improving the business environment can play an important role in enabling the private sector to grow and become more dynamic. Land registration reform will be an important step to promote business investment in RMI. Increasing education and opportunities for training and skills development and expanding social services can help reduce migration to the US and enable higher local growth.

“The IMF team would like to thank the RMI government as well as private sector representatives for constructive and honest discussions.”

IMF Communications Department


Telephone: +1 202 623-7100Email: [email protected]



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Key Pacific Islands Forum functioning for regional security | Featured Columnist | Instant News

Years ago, I came up with the idea that all Pacific island leaders came together to design and shape better political controls and guidelines for their respective island territories and appropriate exclusive economic zones.

This will include key leadership from all regions north and south of the equator and leadership will rotate between each region on a programmed basis.

The idea of ​​rotation in leadership has long been a sensitive topic. In my opinion, it is because of the sensitivity driven mainly by the very strong parish thinking among the whole members.

If these leaders can collectively and rationally organize to control all of these areas and, someone is able to walk on water in the EEZ, you can literally walk around the largest surface area on earth, the Pacific Ocean and everything it touches, without putting your feet up. wet.

This is the place I will later call The Great Blue Nation.

In the same column, I also mentioned that the same area could potentially be the next Fulda Gap. This is due to China’s recent excessive aggressive behavior across the Pacific region.

This, coupled with the movement of the world economy over the last 20 years from the European theater to the Pacific theater, creates enormous opportunities for enormous trade and defense control.

The Pacific Islands Forum which originally started in 1999 is an offshoot of the South Pacific Forum that started in 1977. It is one of the most influential organizations in the region. However, it is now in trouble after a third of its member countries have left the group.

Recently the Federated States of Micronesia, along with the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Kiribati have withdrawn from the Pacific Islands Forum following disputes over the recent election of a secretary general.

This exodus represents more than 3 million square miles of Pacific territory.

The sudden exodus of these countries is also one of the biggest defections in the 50-year history of the forum lobbying on the international stage against climate change and other threats to small islands.

Speaking of threats to the small Pacific island chain, the biggest one is the long-term security threat. In terms of security, this is essentially a battle between the United States and China for control of the land and in turn, the mineral-rich undersea EEZ region of this island chain.

These islands and the ones China has chosen to build from scratch in the South China Sea region of the western Pacific are all potential launch pads for military installations across the Pacific region.

This is all part of what I see as China’s efforts to expand its range of economic and military control around the world by gaining control over the entire Pacific region.

If the Pacific Islands Forum is to successfully curb such endeavors, it must build a system of balanced and equitable rotational leadership – regardless of the size and population of member islands – without which it is just a game of share and conquer. for the larger country.


Lee P. Webber is a former president and publisher of media organizations in Guam and Hawaii, former director of operations for USA Today International / Asia, and a longtime business and civic leader in Guam.


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The current and former Cook Islands PM face charges of fraud | Instant News


Henry Puna, Cook Islands Member of Parliament in 2017.Photo / Duncan Brown


Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown and former prime minister and lawmaker Henry Puna face charges of fraud and two counts of improper public money payments.

Norman George, prosecution adviser, said Brown and Puna conspired to arrange two charter flights funded by public funds to travel to the northern islands of Penryhn and Pukapuka.

The flight picked up the two winning candidates from the islands and returned them to Rarotonga to form a government after the June 2018 general elections.

The two current winning candidates are Deputy Prime Minister Robert Tapaitau and Deputy Minister of Justice Tingika Elikana.

These flights are paid for from the Civil Registry budget administered by Parliament.

An email from interim Finance Minister Mark Brown to the former Deputy Clerk of Parliament to regulate flights, was issued in court by private prosecutors.

George, who was conveyed, was never mentioned that he would bring another successful candidate to Rarotonga.

This case was tried by the judge and chaired by Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams QC.

The charges were filed as a result of a personal lawsuit by Rarotonga resident Paul Allsworth alleging about $ 35,000 had been paid for the flight.

Puna and Brown pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The prosecutor has submitted a list of 19 witnesses to be summoned during the trial.

The list includes a number of current Members of Parliament including Deputy Prime Minister and Member of Parliament Penrhyn Robert Tapaitau, Member of Parliament Pukapuka Tingika Elikana, and former Member of Parliament Penrhyn Willie John.

Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown.
Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown.

Former lawmakers Teariki Heather and Kiriau Turepu are also expected to attend, along with Finance Secretary Garth Henderson and Acting Police Commissioner Akatauira Matapo.

Puna will be represented by attorney Ben Marshall, and attorney Tim Arnold will be represented by Brown.

The Cook Islands News reports that the case was first brought to the High Court in 2019, when private criminal proceedings were filed by attorney Norman George on behalf of the former plaintiff of the case, Teokotai George.

As with the current case, both Puna and Brown have pleaded not guilty, but a few days before the case went to trial, the complainants instructed lawyer Wilkie Rasmussen, who had taken over the case, to withdraw the complaint.

As part of the indictment, both are suspected of having violated article 280 of the 1969 Crime Law and article 64 (2) (d) (1) of the Law on the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management 1995-96.

The case is the latest in a number of trials presided over by Chief Justice Williams this month which began last week and intend to fill deposits after a year-long lull caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.


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