Sunrise: 24 February 1956 - Sunset: 29 November 2012
Lui joined SPREP in October 2005 as the Marine Species Officer. At the time of his death, he was working as the Marine Species Adviser with the Biodiversity & Ecosystem Management Division.
Lui was an outstanding person in every respect. He was one of those rare people who could relate to everyone, whether a village community or the heads of international conventions, and achieve positive outcomes through his interaction with them. Lui was a deeply committed conservationist and he leaves a legacy of many achievements. His professionalism, joviality and team spirit will be greatly missed.
Before joining SPREP Lui had a long career with the Government of Samoa, working on fisheries, aquaculture and marine conservation; with the Forum Fisheries Agency; FAO; and for AusAID as an aquaculture adviser.
During his seven years with SPREP, first as Marine Species Officer and then Adviser, Lui had many outstanding achievements that have made lasting contributions to conservation of marine species in the region. Many of these achievements were made with limited resources and Lui was a master at making ends meet and still achieving major outcomes for his programme. In recognition of his contributions to SPREP and the region Lui was appointed Marine Species Adviser in 2011. Notable examples of achievements include:
- Development and implementation of regional Marine Species Action Plans that provide guidance for Pacific island countries to conserve and manage dugongs, whales, dolphins and marine turtles. The latest version of these plans, for 2013-2017, are currently being released and will remain one of Lui's most important legacies.
- Conservation of whales and dolphins was a passion for Lui. He was the driving force behind the development of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region, under the Convention on Migratory Species. This important MoU now has 15 country signatories and seven collaborating organisations. Lui also designed and implemented whale watching guidelines to support Tonga's ecotourism economy.
- His work on turtle conservation was outstanding and he was responsible for developing and implementing ground-breaking approaches for the monitoring turtle migration in the Pacific using satellite and static metal tags. The information obtained as a result of his work has significantly improved our understanding of migration paths of these iconic species in the region. Lui had just commenced working with New Zealand Department of Conservation on a regional turtle and ecotourism project.
- Lui excelled at establishing productive partnerships with a range of organisations to achieve regional marine conservation objectives, including the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), NOAA, IFAW, Conservation International and many others. Thanks to his skill at engaging partners SPREP to support our regional conservation efforts now hosts a CMS Pacific Officer position.
There is much more that can be said about Lui's contributions to marine conservation in the region, these are a few examples. Lui was a true champion and his parting leaves a void that will be difficult to fill.
He is survived by his wife Anunisia Silila Bell and five children who are all based in Samoa.
He is sadly missed by all his SPREP colleagues, friends and family and throughout the region.
Click here to read the eulogy from SPREP, delivered by Mr. David Sheppard, Director General of SPREP, on December 8, 2012.
Click here to read the Samoa Observer article published on December 1, 2012, as a tribute to Lui and his humanitarian work.
Rest in Peace Lui. Manuia lau Malaga!