The Science and technology for sustainable development conference held at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S) has opened with calls from the Secretariat of the Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) for better protection for the regions oceans.

Director General for SPREP, Leota Kosi Latu opened the day’s presentations with a paper on Ocean Governance, and called out non climate stresses causing the many issues within the regions oceans.

“Humans are hurting the oceans, and it’s the action of man that’s causing the many problems in our waters and then they are multiplied by climate change,” he said.

Part of the concerns was the need to educate the region to treating our oceans as on large eco system rather than just bodies of water around one particular island.

“Our people need to understand that the actions we do in one part of the ocean, can and will affect the other side,” he said.

He was talking about the migration of fishes and the many threatened species in the Pacific’s oceans.

Leota was firm in his address that there is a definite need to better protect the regions waters through policies, not just in the region but in every particular country. 

“We are dragging our feet, we say something but do something else, its contradictory,” he said.

“Right now Vanuatu is the only island in the region with a National Oceans Policy. There is a regional one, but in order to get down to specifics, we need everyone to be in the conversation,” he added.

Leota says there needs to be long term multi-sector programmes within each government that aim at the preservation, protection and growth of oceans. 

Along with including a call for each government in the region and member countries of SPREP to fully collaborate with equal power sharing on the topic of ocean governance.

He added that the science and surveillance capacity needs a boost for the pacific and cultural knowledge with science for integrated costal and ocean management.

“At the end of the day we do these for the dwellers of the waters we live around, after all it is their ocean and it belongs to them and we need to start adopting that mind set in order to move forward,” he concluded.