Tuiloma Neroni Slade Appointed First Ocean Commissioner

28 August 2012: The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has announced the appointment of Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), as the inaugural Ocean Commissioner. Slade's appointment seeks to provide the Pacific community with a high-level spokesperson to spearhead the Pacific Oceanscape initiative.

According to SPC, under the Pacific Oceanscape initiative, the 14 Pacific Island countries are working towards a "new era of cooperation and coordination," including in the establishment of formal maritime boundaries through bilateral and trilateral treaties. Currently, 20 shared boundaries are not yet formally fixed.

SPC says progress is being made on the declaration of large marine protected areas (MPAs), including Kiribati's Phoenix Islands MPA, and the soon to be established 1,000,000 square kilometer (km2) MPA in the Cook Islands. SPC also cites progress in establishing locally managed marine areas, through the Locally Managed Marine Area Network.

The 14 Pacific Island countries are: the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. [SPC Press Release] [PIFS Webpage on Pacific Oceanscape]