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Pacific News In Brief

Thursday 26 May 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional

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Pacific News In Brief
Black Pearls from the Cook Islands. Photo: Kora Pearls

Massive payout for pearl farmers, New Caledonian drug arrest, and new coach for Tonga.

Pearl farmers compensated for dumped catches

A group of pearl farmers in French Polynesia has been compensated more than 1 million dollars for a loss in revenue in 2017.

A huge amount of pearls were destroyed after the authorities determined them to be of poor quality.

More than 15 pearl farmers took their case to the administrative court in Papeete.

The farmers believed they should be compensated for $US6 million, however, the court awarded them $1 million for the 371 pearls destoyed.

Pearl farmer Francky Tehaamatai told La Premiere he is delighted the government has agreed to compensate them.

"What makes us happy is that we were right, the government had no legality in destroying those pearls but we really did not expect to win the court case and recuperate funds from this."

New Caledonian woman arrested for drug possession

New Caledonian police have arrested a 30 year-old woman for possession of LSD, ecstacy and cannabis.

Less than a gram of MDMA, three grams of Cannabis and a sheet of LSD was discovered during a car suveillance check last Friday night.

In jail, she has admitted to taking those substances herself but said that she was not selling.

She was released Wednesday after spending four days in jail.

The prosecutor in charge of the case said that the New Caledonian territory is minimally impacted by MDMA or LSD but a vigilance should be maintained.

Action to protect tuna and sharks

The Hawaii deep-set longline fishery that targets bigeye tuna will be prohibited from using wire leaders, which reduces a shark's ability to free itself from an accidental hooking.

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is also requiring all longline fisheries to remove trailing gear from oceanic whitetip sharks before releasing them.

The Council expects these measures to reduce oceanic whitetip shark catch and mortality by about 30 percent.

Oceanic whitetip sharks were listed as threatened under Hawaii's Endangered Species Act in 2018, and are subject to overfishing.

New coach for Tongan women's rugby league team

Former New South Wales Women's Origin assistant Milton Dymock has been appointed head coach of the Mate Ma'a Tonga rugby league women's side.

He is partnered by former NRL and Mate Ma'a Tonga players, his brother Jim Dymock and Andrew Emelio.

Milton Dymock served as an assistant for the New South Wales Women's Origin side in 2019 and 2020 helping them to a victory in his first year.

Dymock has coached the NSW Tongan juniors since 2006 whilst also being appointed by many clubs to assist in defensive training.

Tonga play New Zealand's Kiwi Ferns in Auckland on Saturday, June 25.

"I've been fortunate enough to be involved in the women's game for a few years, and I am truly honoured to be a part of this women's Mate Ma'a Tonga side. We have a talented side and staff, and we hope to pass on our experience to make this campaign memorable," Dymock said.

Marianas faced 10 year ban from Pacific Games

The chief organiser for the forthcoming Paciific Mini games says Northern Marianas athletes would've been banned from the event for 10 years if the Commonwealth had decided against hosting the event.

The quadrennial event was due to happen last year but was moved to next month due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Marco Peter says Marianas' Governor Ralph Torres decided not to host the Games after the lingering effects of Super Typhoon Yutu which hit in 2018 and left the island group's sports facilities in poor shape as well as the affect on the local economy.

Mr Peter says if that happened all local athletes would have been banned from the Games for a decade.

Torres reconsidered and a compromise of a Mini Games was found at much reduced cost and fewer sports.