Letters: Why we oppose fishing transfer

Monday August 12, 2019 Published in Letters to the Editor
Spokesperson for the Protection of Tongareva Wilkie Rasmussen. Spokesperson for the Protection of Tongareva Wilkie Rasmussen.

Dear editor,

Your paper's story on trans-shipment plans at Tongareva/Penrhyn Island (“Chinese company is told, go fish,” August 10) failed to mention why such a plan was opposed.


Instead it ran an irresponsible headline that "island loses chance of fishing company payout". Payout for what? Lose our island. Sorry, Tongareva is not for sale.

First, there was no reasonable notice to the people of Tongareva of such trans-shipment plans scheduled for early August 2019.

Secondly, there was no EIA report done to show what the risks are for the reefs and ocean to the western side of Tongareva Island where the trans-shipment was planned.

Thirdly, there were no agreement or any form of undertaking as to who would be liable for disasters, oil pollution and damage to the environment, reefs, coral, fish-stock, other marine life and turtle nesting areas.

Your paper failed to inform the public of the haste by which the Ministry of Marine Resources and the MP for Tongareva drove for island government and community approval.

That conduct alone raised concerns of the ministry's intention. That is, it was trying to secure the deal for the Chinese fishing company within the deadline required. Your paper said the window has now closed. That is not true at all. There is still time to activate it.

But I believe the political fallout is too high for the ministry to continue with this proposal. Your paper implies that because ministry head Pamela Maru told me "multiple times" (in fact twice) that her ministry was not proceeding with the proposal that the concerns we had were somehow meaningless. I welcome her decision but that does not mean we give up our fight to protect our island.

Wilkie Rasmussen
Spokesperson for the Protection of Tongareva

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