|Marine Protected Areas in the Pacific Islands||
Maintained by FAO-FI
|A high percentage of people in the Pacific Islands live close to the sea and depend on the productivity of the ocean for their sustenance and livelihoods. Studies show that many families go fishing almost daily and nearly ninety percent fish at least once a week. It is estimated that for three quarters of the population of Fiji, Samoa and the Solomon Islands, the ocean’s natural resources are crucial for their survival. Therefore, protection, preservation, and wise management of marine resources are necessary to ensure a future not only for the environment, but also for the economy and population of the Pacific Islands. Several inter-governmental organizations exist in the Pacific Islands that are active in nature conservation and sustainable development:|
- Through the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) the governments of 21 Pacific Island countries understand the obvious link between the environment and the people of their islands. SPREP promotes cooperation between the countries and gives assistance for protecting and conserving their nature.
- The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in New Caledonia has a similar mission and tries to establish a Pacific Island community whose people are healthy and manage their resources in an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable way.
|Photo title: Vanuata. Coastal development requires MPA management plans.|
|Photo credit: Damien Sweeney, International Oceans Institute|
|Marine Protected Areas in the Pacific Islands|
|The increase in the Pacific Islands population puts more demand on their natural resources. Overfishing and degradation of habitats are now widespread throughout the region. Governments are struggling to manage these resources to secure the livelihoods of their citizens. The establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is one way to address this challenge. Marine Protected Areas can help to achieve the sustainable development of marine resources. (General information on MPAs). Traditional management, such as the ra’ui and tabu (taboo areas), complements ‘modern’ MPA management efforts. The merger of the two systems (traditional and modern) provides the best way to conserve marine resources of the Pacific Islands. Traditional leaders and communities are encouraged and empowered to work together.|