03.17.15: Meet CNMI's New Young Champion

CNMI is excited to announce their new Micronesia Challenge Young Champion, Carey Demapan. Carey is a college freshman at the Northern Marianas College studying Natural Resource Management. She will be working with us till the month of September, developing a work plan of her own focused on creating communications and outreach materials for the MC in CNMI – particularly targeting tourists and tour operators, as well as helping out at outreach events. In addition she is now writing our monthly Micronesia Challenge monthly updates! – Welcome aboard, Carey!

Over the month of February the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality (BECQ) participated in two major community outreach events targeted toward elementary students. Under the lead of their Education/Outreach, and Recycling Coordinator, with the help of our new Micronesia Challenge Young Champion Carey, we engaged a young audience on the importance of proper trash management (including recycling) and the negative effects of marine debris. At these events,BECQ staff managed a booth engaging students in educational games and activities. This included recycling games, an informative watershed model, and a guessing game where participants estimate the life cycle of marine debris.  Children were taught on how to be good stewards towards our environment and natural resources. All of these threats and solutions were discussed as broader ways for community members to engage in activities in their daily lives which can help to achieve the Micronesia Challenge. The first event was the Canary Walkathon on February 7, 2015, which took place on the grounds of San Vicente Elementary School. The event happened on the morning of February 7, 2015.  About 200-300 students accompanied by their friends and parents, participated in this fundraiser for the elementaryschool. The second event was the Whispering Palms School Eco Camp, on February 13. Students from grades 1st through 5th camped out on Managaha, CNMI’s most visited MPA. BECQ staff  had a station interacting with about 40 students over the course of the event.

03.03.2015: Regional Fish 2.0 Business Competition Participants featured by National Geographic Online.

From National Geographic Online:  The Fish 2.0 business competition held a workshop for entrepreneurs from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Marshall Islands, Palau, Guam and Saipan. The workshop was held in Pohnpei with the support of the Micronesia Conservation Trust, IdEA and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation  

Congratulations to all!

02.28.2015: Volume 38 of Official MC Newsletter!

Click here to read the latest Micronesia Challenge News!

02.28.2015: Congratulations to PICRC's own, Dr. Yimnang Golbuu

PICRC's CEO, Yimnang Golbuu, Elected Vice President of International Coral Reef Society!  
story Bob Richmond, PEW

    Pew marine fellow, Yimnang Golbuu, was elected vice president of the International Society for Reef Studies, the largest professional organization for coral reef researchers and managers, on Jan. 30, 2015. Golbuu, who holds a doctorate from Southern Cross University in Australia, is also the chief executive officer of the Palau International Coral Reef Center and the first Pacific Islander to hold an executive position in the society.
    The International Society for Reef Studies has more than 600 members from 70 nations, and publishes the journal Coral Reefs, which is one of the primary sources for research on these ecosystems.
    “Yimnang’s election to this prestigious post is no surprise to me,” said Bob Richmond, another Pew marine fellow and past president of the society, who nominated him. “He is not only a highly productive and respected scientist, but also an excellent communicator who brings a very important cultural perspective to the field of coral reef research and can combine the best of traditional knowledge with modern science.”
    At a time when coral reefs are in decline worldwide, Richmond said that Golbuu’s knowledge and leadership would be of great value in supporting coral reef sustainability. For more, visit International Society for Reef Studies website.

02.27.2015: New MC Regional Coordinator

Welcome to our new MC Regional Coordinator, Rachel Nash! by Lesley Vick

Rachael Nash has been passionate about nature since she was young, and spent as much of herchildhood as possible outdoors, growing up in rural NE Ohio. She holds a B.A. degree in Art, Biology and Environmental Studies from Hiram College, where she spent four wonderful years conducting research, working, and living at the J.H. Barrow Field Station. Taking a break from field biology, she spent time as a naturalist and environmental education instructor before joining the Peace Corps as a Natural Resource Conservation and Development volunteer.
    Rachael was sent to the Pacific Islands in 2005, and first fell in love with Micronesia during two amazing years teaching on the tiny outer island of Fais in Yap State, FSM.  She then moved to beautiful Palau to assist the Bureau of Marine Resources with sea turtle, dugong and crocodile conservation. Returning to Yap, she spent the past five years working for State Government as a grant proposal writer, fundraising for renewable energy, environment, and other community development projects.
    Throughout her time in the islands she now considers home, Rachael has been able to observe firsthand the strong relationship between the people and their environment, and the need for effective resource management.  She is thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to conservation efforts in her new
role with the Micronesia Challenge.

02.05.2015. POHNPEI. FSM Passes Landmark Shark Legislation

During the final hours in the afternoon of February 4, 2015, the 18th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia passed a law which amends Title 24 of the FSM Code to include the prohibition of possessing, handling and selling of shark and shark fin in all of FSM’s Exclusive Economic Zone.  With this new shark law, FSM now joins the Republic of Palau (ROP), the republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), US territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Mariana Island (CMI) in the effort to protect the declining population of sharks in Micronesian waters.

Photo: Trina Leberer
FSM’s 200-mile EEZ covers a sea area of more than 3 million square kilometers (1.3 million square miles) representing the largest single EEZ among the three eastern Micronesia countries. Combined with the EEZs of the ROP, RMI, Guam and CNMI, whose territorial boundaries intersect, with this new law, protection of sharks in Micronesia represents the largest area of shark protection in the world. This represents an area nearly the size of the continental USA.

As part of a technical working group assembled to draft this new legislation, representatives from MCT, PEW, TNC, and a local private law firm are tasked to work with a selected group of staff from the FSM Attorney General’s Office, Department of Resource and Development, the National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA) as well as representatives from the fishing industry in FSM. This group now aims to work with the Office of the President of the FSM to ensure that this landmark legislation is signed and enacted into law in the coming weeks.

02.01.2015. PALAU. Pew Unveils Pioneering Technology to Help End Illegal Fishing

Project Eyes on the Seas will launch initially with a "Virtual Watch Room" monitoring the waters surrounding Easter Island, a Chilean territory, and the Pacific island nation of Palau. Click here to read.

02.01.2015: KOSRAE. Yela Ka Forest Conservation Easement in Nature Conservancy Magazine.

Read story here: http://magazine.nature.org/features/enchanted-forest.xml

18 DEC 2014: New Study Maximizes Benefits of No-Take Marine Reserves for Coral Reef Fisheries

Arlington, Virginia — A new paper gives conservation practitioners unprecedented access to species-specific information to use in the design and monitoring of tropical no-take marine reserves. Scientists with The Nature Conservancy and several partner organizations (the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, the Laboratoire d’Excellence ‘CORAIL’, The University of Hawaii at Hilo, Silliman University and the University of Queensland) reviewed and analyzed movement patterns of 34 families (210 species) of coral reef fishes.

“Synthesizing this information allows us, for the first time, to provide recommendations regarding the configuration (size, spacing and location) of no-take marine reserves (also known as fisheries closures or replenishment areas) to maximize their benefits for coral reef fisheries management and biodiversity protection,” said Alison Green, senior marine scientist in the Asia Pacific program at The Nature Conservancy.

Well-Designed Marine Reserves

How local populations of fish species are connected to one another is a key ecological factor to consider in marine reserve network design. For marine reserves to protect biodiversity and enhance fisheries outside their boundaries, they must be able to sustain focal species within their boundaries, and be spaced such that they are mutually replenishing and provide spillover of adults and larval to fished areas. As a result, the configuration (size, spacing and location) of individual reserves within a network should be informed by larval dispersal and movement patterns of the species for which protection is required. In the past, empirical data on larval dispersal and movement patterns of adults and juveniles of many tropical marine species have been unavailable or inaccessible to practitioners responsible for marine reserve design.

Photo: Trina Leberer

Results and Implications

This review of movement patterns of 34 families (210 species) of coral reef fishes demonstrates that movement patterns (home ranges, ontogenetic shifts and spawning migrations) vary among and within species, and are influenced by a range of factors (e.g., size, sex, behavior, density, habitat characteristics, season, tide and time of day).  Some species move <0.1–0.5 km (e.g. damselfishes, butterflyfishes and angelfishes), <0.5–3 km (e.g. most parrotfishes, goatfishes and surgeonfishes) or 3–10 km (e.g. large parrotfishes and wrasses), while others move tens to hundreds (e.g. some groupers, emperors, snappers and jacks) or thousands of kilometers (e.g. some sharks and tuna). Larval dispersal distances tend to be <5–15 km, and self-recruitment is common. The recommendations from this paper are:
·         Marine reserves should be more than twice the size of the home range of focal species (in all directions), thus marine reserves of various sizes will be required depending on which species require protection, how far they move and if other effective protection is in place outside reserves;
·         Reserve spacing should be < 15 km, with smaller reserves spaced more closely; and
·         Marine reserves should include habitats that are critical to the life history of focal species (e.g., home ranges, nursery grounds, migration corridors and spawning aggregations), and be located to accommodate movement patterns among these.

“We also provide practical advice for practitioners about how to use this information to design, evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of marine reserve networks within broader ecological, socioeconomic and management contexts,” added Rebecca Weeks, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Australian Research Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

This paper is the latest in a series of scientific reviews to provide ecological guidelines for improving the benefits of tropical marine protected areas for fisheries management and biodiversity in the face of climate change all of which are available at:  www.coraltriangleinitiative.org.

The paper is available online at:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/brv.12155/abstract