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US Vows More High-Level Engagement With Pacific Islands Amid China Push
White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell says he expects more high-level US officials to visit Pacific island countries as Washington steps up its engagement to counter China in the strategically important region.

Campbell said the United States needed more diplomatic facilities across the region, and more contact with Pacific island countries that at times “receive lesser attention”.
“You will see more cabinet-level, more senior officials, going to the Pacific… recognising that nothing replaces, really, diplomatic boots on the ground,” he told Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Biden administration has vowed to commit more resources to the Indo-Pacific as China seeks to boost economic, military and police links with Pacific island nations hungry for foreign investment. Continue reading here (Source: Radio New Zealand).

Lemanu Warns Fishing Bans Jeopardize US Food and National Security

As Pacific nations are seeking or signing bilateral agreements with China, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga informed the White House that this is the time for the U.S. to draw on American Samoa to increase America’s presence in the Pacific region.
The governor’s comment on China was included in his June 15 letter to U.S President Joe Biden, where he opposed the federal government’s proposed expansion of Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM), which Lemanu says will have a negative impact on the territory’s tuna industry. (See yesterday’s Samoa News edition for details.)
In his letter to Biden, the governor pointed out, what he describes as “Strategic Interests”, when it comes to American Samoa, that fishing prohibitions not only weaken U.S. fisheries but also increase seafood imports and jeopardize U.S. food and national security. Continue reading here(Source: Samoa News).


MSC’s New Fisheries Standard Unanimously Approved By Trustees
After four years of input from over 1,000 stakeholders, the Marine Stewardship Council’s fisheries standard review process has finally concluded.
The MSC announced on 24 June its board of trustees unanimously approved the new version of the fisheries standard, which it has hailed as a “major achievement.” The new standard includes a new approach to how the MSC will manage its endangered, threatened, or protected (ETP) species, standards on shark-finning, new standards on how fisheries manage unwanted catch, and more.
According to the MSC, the new standard was the product of the “most-extensive consultation ever undertaken by the organization,” and included a wide range of stakeholders – including fisheries, scientists, assessors, NGOs, and more. Continue reading here (Source: SeafoodSource).


Ecuador Could Halt Oil Production in 48 Hours Due to Indigenous Protests
Ecuador could suspend oil production in 48 hours if the nationwide indigenous protests and road blockades continue, the Ministry of Energy and Mines said.
The hydrocarbon sector was adversely affected by road blockades and the seizure of oil wells in the country’s Amazon region, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying.
“If this situation continues, the country’s oil production would be suspended in 48 hours due to acts of vandalism, oil well taking-over and road closures. It has not been possible to transport the supplies and diesel necessary to maintain the operation,” said Energy Minister Xavier Vera. Continue reading here (Source: Business Standard).


StarKist Samoa Could Suffer if PRIMNM Extended
A plan by the Biden Administration to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument even further, would jeopardize the viability of the tuna cannery in American Samoa, the largest employer in the territory.
The chairman of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council Archie Soliai, attending a council meeting in Honolulu this week said, “More than half of the people in American Samoa live below the poverty level.”
“If the president signs off on this, it will be in conflict with his executive order on advancing equity and environmental justice in underserved communities.” Continue reading here (Source: Talanei).


Vietnamese Tuna Exports Soar 72%
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, the figure is 1.6 times that the same period of 2019, before the pandemic struck.
Shipments to the markets of members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP in short) rose by 49 percent in March. The three-month figure surged 40 percent to top 30 million USD.
Canada was an emerging buyer, importing some 14 million USD worth of tuna from Vietnam from January – March, up 70 percent from a year earlier and doubling that of 2019. Continue reading here (Source: Vietnam+).